I was a born & raised non-denominational Christian, up until the 8th grade - about 12 years old - when I became an atheist. I spent a lot of time reading about many different religions before settling on an atheist-discordian sort of religion. That was when I was 18. Last Thanksgiving (21 yrs. old), during a theological / philosophical discussion with my Jack Mormon fiance, I realized, through a logical if-then sort of discussion, that I do, in fact, believe in a God. I've been spending my free time since then reading up on the Judeo-Christian descriptions / stories of their God (starting with the Bible, and a vague understanding of some far eastern religions) to try and figure what else I believe in, now that God's back in the mix.
Why are you here?
I'm studying religion for my personal spiritual growth, and I realize that in my born-again sort of attitude, I'm very vulnerable to being too easily influenced by something that I WANT to believe in, despite any possible bias or lack of sufficient logic. So I'm assaulting my senses with as many sides of the argument as possible to try and understand the real Truth.
Also, this site looks like it's full of atheist assholes who think that, in order to defend their own religious beliefs, they have to attack others. It's not enough to say, "I don't believe your God exists." This site seems to take it the next step further, "I KNOW your God doesn't exist." I'm hoping that my presence here might alleviate some of that dick attitude that will only perpetuate the feelings of persecution these people are probably feeling (atheist attacks Christian, Christian attacks atheist, both sides say "I'm being persecuted," both sides have serious mental issues to work out.)
Why you left your religion.
I left Christianity the first time because I realized that Christianity was more of a burden than a release. There was no comfort there, only more rules and guilt weighed on my shoulders. Plus, I realized that I'd been taught some pretty fucked up, prejudicial things in several churches that I attended over the years (nondenominational family + constant travel = many different churches, all who say different things, all who say THEIR ideas are the real truth.) I wasn't being taught anything - I was being brainwashed.
I left atheism because it didn't feel right to me. When I first became an atheist, I felt free. Life became so much easier when I started depending on ME only to make things happen in my life. I gained a lot of confidence because I got myself through a lot of tough times that I guess I never really realized I was capable of doing on my own. But I always felt like there was something missing. Some sort of part my human development that I wasn't getting. I realized - when I was 18 - that what was missing was my feeling of purpose - I NEEDED something to believe in; something to drive my efforts in life.
That's why I became an Atheist-Discordian - I didn't need to believe in a higher being to be a discordian, and it's chaotic, all-inclusive perspective of the world and universal goal of mind-fucking people out of their monotonous, sheep-like existence (showing people that they can be so much MORE than what society was whittled them down to) provided me with a purpose for my actions on this world.
Unfortunately, unless I was completely active and engaged in the Discordian aspect of my lift (similar to a Christian going to church every Sunday - I wasn't whole unless I was pasting stickers all over school that said "The Robot Revolution is Coming", or rearranging my roommate's desk while she was gone, or replacing privilege memos in the hallway that once read, "Cadets must be back in their rooms a half hour after the football game" and now read, "It comes back to its room after the football game or else it gets the hose again") then the empty hole inside of me came back. This was an aspect of my life that I constantly have to be productive and progressive in, or else I feel like I'm wasting my time. (Perhaps the dis-belief in a life after this helped the feeling of wastefulness, since this time of earth is the only time I was going to get)
Then, last Thanksgiving, I announced to my fiance that he had convinced me of the existence of God. It wasn't on purpose - it stemmed from a conversation that had somehow worked its way to him trying to explain to me the Mormon definition of "the Holy Ghost." I've always believed in some universal force connecting us - it explains things like psychic powers, deja vu, empathy, strange, paranormal events that people don't want to admit are real, yet cannot stop exploring... You see this "force" a lot in far eastern religions. THAT'S what Mark defined as "the Holy Ghost." Furthermore, he logically proposed - and I found this convincing - that the Holy Ghost does not exist without some higher being that, in english, we call "God."
So, in a rather long, and convoluted description, THAT is why I left my religion.
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