I'm starting this new blog to record my newfound truths and share ones I already know. One of my most recently-discovered truths was that the bible is in fact not the word of God, and furthermore there is likely no god, at least not one that cares, though perhaps a pantheistic sense of "god." Before now I blogged about my growing life knowledge on a blog entitled Growing in Grace and Knowledge. Though I'm still very much a spiritually- (i.e., psychologically-) minded person, I'm not religious. I think I was always more spiritual than religious, though. I always held independent ideas and opinions and refused to agree with all of a particular set of religious dogma constructed by another person. It was only a matter of time before I came to the knowledge I now possess concerning the bible.
Although I plan to talk about a wide range of topics, my journey from Christian to atheist is how I want to start, and it will continually be a popular topic. I started on my journey from childhood, for having been brought up in Protestant churches, I deeply questioned several things. The biggest questions as a child were:
1. How did God get here? Where did he come from?
2. I keep praying to be saved, but how come I don't feel anything special afterward?
3. People who don't believe in Jesus and become Christians are going to burn forever? Forever? I don't even like to be burned for a second. Why would God want to do this to anyone? No one has even asked to be born. Besides, how is a person supposed to burn forever when bodies burn up? This seems so horrible, I just don't understand.
4. Hmmm...the earth is billions of years old, and dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago before people came along? Does this contradict the bible?
5. How does the trinity make sense? If Jesus prayed to his father who is
God in heaven, and he's on the earth, they're two people. And how is
the Spirit a third person when we are supposed to all get the Spirit and
also have our own spirits which are not separate persons?
Then when I was fifteen and listening to an Easter sermon about people rising from their graves at Christ's return, another big question popped into my head and stayed:
6. How is it that we can go to heaven when we die, but then we're going to resurrect to life from the graves at Christ's return? What, we go to heaven and then die again to join our old bodies, and then what, get new spiritual bodies over again? How does this make sense?
There were other questions during those parts of my life, I'm sure, but the ones above were the biggest ones. I laid on my bed in daytime trying to wrap my mind around how God existed, where he came from but then also not being able to imagine pitch-black-nothing with no existence of anyone living, so I always ended those sessions with the thought that I guess it makes more sense that there was always something rather than nothing. I laid awake for hours at night as a young child from around the ages of six to the age of eight, wondering how come my prayers for being saved didn't seem to make me feel any different, and in my late teens, after I'd married, I laid awake in bed puzzling over the trinity and how it made no sense at all.
I married at seventeen, right after high school graduation, and at eighteen I started researching topics such as the pagan origins of Halloween and Christmas. We gave out candy with scripture verses for Halloween that year, but the next year my husband and I did not keep Halloween at all, and we cut out Christmas trees and didn't want to use Santa or Easter eggs in the holidays when we had our future children. Around my 21st birthday I started seriously reading the bible. In the book of Matthew I noticed that Jesus said he had not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, which is the opposite of what was taught in the churches. I also noticed that the rapture doctrine was not in line with what the bible books taught. It rather taught that tribulation would come, and then afterward the Christ/Messiah would come back. There was no way in any of the books that you could honestly formulate a secret rapture doctrine. I felt rather embarrassed and foolish inside, thinking back to an incident in conversation with someone when she was talking about how bad things in the world were getting, and I said those of us raptured wouldn't have to worry about the worst of it.
I was becoming very suspicious, and so I used the Internet to see whether others had come to the same conclusions. I spent a lot of time for a few months reading and highlighting my bible and reading on the Internet. Our firstborn was an infant at that time, and when he was sleeping or when he and I would go outside where he could play in the grass, I'd study.
I read the book Too Long in the Sun by Richard Rives and learned how the Church of Rome had adopted pagan customs and holidays and gave them new Christian names. I read a lot of different things during those months and entered into a state of serious shock, feeling very betrayed by all those whom I'd trusted. How could everyone be so deceived? Nearly every popular Christian doctrine was not biblical. They'd all come from the pagans. There was no trinity, no ever-burning hell, no going to heaven upon death, no rapture. Saturday was the Sabbath, not Sunday. Jesus wasn't born on Christmas, but rather that day was the birth date of the sun god in pagan religions. Easter was the resurrection day of the sun god.
This information that I'd come upon delayed my escape from Christian religion by a decade.
Since it seemed the new testament prophecies foretold of a great deception, a departure from the truth, and a fornicating of truth with pagan religions, I was deeply convinced that there were "true Christians" who were the bride or Revelation 12 who kept the commandments and that there were "fornicating Christians" who were the whore of Revelation 17 and 18. I thought I was one of the few in this age who were "called and chosen" to be among the firstfruits to be resurrected when Christ returned and would help him reign in the Kingdom of God on this earth, at which time the truth would spread by Israel setting an example and being blessed, and eventually during the 1,000-year period the earth would become a paradise where even the animals didn't kill one another, but all would eat plants. Then afterwards everyone else would be resurrected and shown the truth (except those who knew it and had rejected it, who would be thrown into the lake of fire to be burned up to die the second death) and live out a life of judgement and either also be transformed to possess a spiritual body and be one of God's sons or die in the lake of fire. Then the earth would be burned up, and the new earth would come down from heaven with the Father God.
Besides around a three year period from about the ages of nineteen to twenty-two, I have believed in an old earth, and after reading a convincing study on the flood and Noah's ark, until now I had believed for six years or longer in a regional, rather than worldwide, flood.
Whenever I heard atheists speak or debate with Christians, I found myself to agree more with them than with the Christians they were debating. I didn't care for mainstream (Catholic and Protestant) Christianity at all. I hated their extreme right-wing beliefs and actions just as much, if not more, than extreme left-wing beliefs. But I thought the atheists were simply missing some vital pieces of information, and if they just knew about those things, they'd not be atheists. I liked them much better, in general. They tended to be more intelligent and more righteous-acting, in all honesty. I noticed most of the Christians would become hateful and lose their tempers.
We only watched Fox News regularly for about a year. We didn't like Bill O'Reilly's rude yelling and cutting off people, and we thought Sean Hannity was obnoxious. I was appalled when I heard the latter state his opinions that torture should be used in interrogations. I didn't think there was anything righteous about that. I watched Bill Maher's Religilous nearly six years ago and enjoyed it for the most part. I simply felt that Bill was missing those important pieces of evidence. Every time people would bring up the fact that pagan religions had virgin-born god sons that were born on December 25 and had trinities, etc., I found myself thinking, "If only they knew the bible didn't teach those things, but the Catholic Church has deceived everyone by adopting those customs and applying them to Jesus..."
I was always willing to admit that there was a possibility I was not right, if only I was shown evidence, but I would live according to what evidence I had. My husband turned his back on Christian religion years ago and claimed to be agnostic, after for awhile having walked along with me in the "Truth." After I had pressed him hard to search the evidence, over two years ago he absorbed himself in Christian-atheist debates and evolution-creation debates and scoured articles. Two different times, a year apart, he claimed to have turned back to Christ. The first time was very short-lived and didn't seem serious. The second time he actually started daily reading the bible with me, but we soon ran into problems. He honestly didn't believe any of it was true, and he struggled with the dishonesty and pretending that he was following that religion. We had had numerous stimulating discussions over the years about our differing beliefs.
We always got along very well despite the differences, and I enjoyed the intellectual conversations. But then after my husband's "last return" and subsequent backing back away, he aggressively bombed me with debates. I was fine with it so long as it was a little bit here and there, but there were some days where he didn't have jobs to go do and so was home, that he'd debate me literally nearly all day, for days at a time, and I would feel overwhelmed. I became angry, because I needed to get on with my day and spend a great deal of it doing what I needed or wanted. He'd always back off, but then in time he'd come back on me again strongly.
Now, it's important to say at this point in writing that I still had big questions throughout all these adult years (I'm newly 32 now), and most such questions distressed me in spirit quite greatly.
Thanks to my husband, I was quickly adding more questions to the question bank that sat somewhere in my mind. He has always been good to say things to make me think, but he does not have strong debating skills, though I do. I had been doing quite well debating him, but over time there were increasingly more occasions where I'd have to honestly say, "I don't know."
I'll be soon starting to write my next book, which will detail completely about how I journeyed through Christianity and left. Here I'll just say that things eventually added up to such a degree that I was deeply bothered and started digging more on my own. After two months of researching, reading, and meditating on things, I came out publicly on my blog to announce that I no longer believed the bible was the word of God, but I was the same person (and am). To find out what happened, stay tuned for my next post, "My Coming Out."
Until then, feel free to read my coming-out post on Growing in Grace and Knowledge.