After coming to this site every night for two weeks, I have decided to join and share my story. I have felt so alone in my disbelief lately, and I'm so thankful to have found this site! Thank you all.
I grew up in Alabama in a family of extremely devout, slightly evangelical, and very Baptist Christians. To say my family is religious would be an understatement. I became a Christian at age 12 (which was very late in comparison to the majority of the children at our church). I was at a church summer camp when I made the decision. When my parents picked me up at the end of the week, I told them I was a Christian. My mom then told me that my grandfather had passed away earlier in the week. She tearfully told me that my grandfather (on his deathbed) requested that they leave me at camp in hopes of me accepting Christ. I missed his funeral, became a Christian, and completely believed this was a sign from God.
As I got older, I began to resent Church for a number of reasons. Most of my resentment towards Church stemmed from my resentment towards my Dad. For whatever reason, we have never really clicked. He has a very unexpected temper and we constantly argue. I have always been resistant to anyone forcing me to do anything. Going to Church was not an option. My parents forced me to go to Church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening.
I never fit in socially at the Church. Looking back I realize this is because I thought they were all crazy and I distanced myself out of fear of being different. At my first job I met a girl who invited me to go to Church with her. My parents allowed me to go. I went and loved it. It was a lot "cooler" than my Church. I met people who I fit in with better. I asked my parents if I could start going to this church instead of ours and they became very emotional and angry and wouldn't allow me to go. My resentment grew.
Later on I went to college and became extremely depressed and anxious. This was the first time that I somewhat comfortably called myself an agnostic, but not to my family. I felt very alone and devastated in the realization that I did not believe in God. I still felt an incredible amount of guilt from sinning even though I rejected God. Losing my virginity caused me a lot of anxiety. I was very fearful of my Christian roommate finding out. She did eventually find out, and she asked that I not have sex again out of respect for God and that if I did, she wanted me to move out. I agreed not to, but that conversation did irreparable harm to our friendship.
Eventually I met a group of girls that were either atheist or agnostic, and we became friends. This was the first time that I really felt like I fit in with a group of people. After a year or so of knowing these girls, they began to do hardcore drugs (which I was not okay with) and we parted ways. I studied abroad after that and met two Christian girls who shared the same morals as me. We became friends. I started going to Church again. I wouldn't say that I was ever truly a believer again. I wanted to believe very badly, though. For a long time I thought something was wrong with me. I prayed and begged God to open my heart, to give me a sign, to show me he was real. I never heard anything but my own voice and the occasional "warm fuzzy feeling."
After graduating, my college roommate called me and told me about a job at the Church we grew up in. I took the job, where we now work together. At first I thought taking the job would be a great idea. My parents would be (and were) thrilled and I thought it would be a great chance to be more open minded. It turns out that working there has been the icing on the cake as far as my lack of belief goes. I spend most days being angry over anti-gay comments or general ignorance. Other than my boyfriend, I feel completely alone in my atheism.
Anyway, hello everyone! Sorry I am not the best story-teller. I did think you all would be interested to know that there are people faking it in the Church though. I can only assume that I'm not the only one.