A couple days ago I wrote a draft post about my ‘born again’ experience and it’s one of those posts that you want ‘out there’ but after you give it a day or two to think on it you realize you’d rather not post it. Does that ever happen to you?
Why not share it? It could likely help others, but as many of my online friends remind me ‘write about whatever the fuck you want to.’
It’s a deeply personal experience that contains situations and events that are painful to me, that’s why. With particular issues of past relationships; suicidal depression; mixed manic-depressed episodes; sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse; and having been emotionally manipulated.
I confess that according to ‘the world’ I was considered weak. It would have been easy to define me as a ‘broken’ or ‘lost’ person at the time, which made it all too easy to manipulate me. My Christian faith in many ways served me in a positive way in that it gave me a community and a sense of direction. But the harm done to me far exceeded the benefit.
Sure, there were “bad” Christians out there who caused me a great deal of harm, but this is not the reason I stopped believing.
It was the lack of help from the personal god I gave my life for; it was the inconsistencies in a coherent message about the supposedly obviously truth; it was the god and person of Jesus who, when you look at the whole of scripture (which I did, several times), was neither a nice father nor best friend; it was the spiritualization of my mental illness, that has both a biological and developmental cause; it was the language of smoke and mirrors and double-speak, and it was the discouragement and disdain for my search for anywhere truth may exist outside of what people told me to believe.
Every step toward my health led to doubt, which led to unbelief. I can’t help that it happened, in fact, I didn’t want it to happen. I begged my god to keep it from happening; I prayed for years; I immersed myself in scripture; I sought help from spiritual advisers; I surrounded myself with Christian believers and music, and yet…my faith just left me, after 20 years of radical completely immerse faith. Just like that.
Since that time four years ago I’ve not had the constant conflict in my mind and the pain and confusion from trying to make things make sense. I’m allowed to be skeptical and use my rational brain, and my unbelief serves me better than my belief every did.
My search for truth led me away from the doctrines of Christianity and the skepticism of the supernatural. Many can’t say that, and in kindness, I say I can respect you and your journey, but I don’t have to respect your beliefs themselves. I understand these things are intertwined, but I wish you wouldn’t see it that way.
I’d love to hear many viewpoints on this, but you should know that attempts to get me back will be unsuccessful. I will not accept walls of scriptures or attempts to bring me back into the fold.
UPDATE: I posted my story as “Protected” so you’ll need a password if you want to read it. You can request the password by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s at my discretion who I feel comfortable sharing it with. Thanks for your understanding, friends.