Star Umbehant's Story

(Via Star Umbehant -

A Christian friend of mine recently asked, “What led you to your current beliefs?” Here I will try to describe the evolution from my Christian childhood to my current state of atheism. I can’t, of course, cover everything – but I will attempt to touch on the most important aspects.

To say the least, my childhood was rough. Granted, it could have been worse – a lot worse – but it was bad enough. I don’t have many memories up until the age of six. That was pretty much when the shit hit the fan. My younger brother, age four, was hit be a car while riding his bike. I won’t get into the horrific specifics of the day, or the following months in the hospital, but the events left his body broken and he was in a vegetative state for four years until his death. It was also around this time that I was sexually molested by my uncle although I wouldn’t realize the full implications this would have on my childhood until later. It was also around this time that my mother had her first mental breakdown and was labeled manic-depressive, later to be renamed bi-polar. This also was the start of a constant state of anger and resentment my parents held for one another during the rest of their broken marriage.

You could say my doubts started then. I was taught that Jesus was a loving man who loved little children. I was taught that God loved his people. I wondered why God could let my only brother get hit by a car. Why that God could then let him live for four years, my mother constantly praying and faithful to the very end. Where was my guardian angel when my uncle was taking “naps” with me? Why didn’t God help my mommy and daddy when they were screaming at each other? Why did God allow my mother to see things that weren’t there?
These questions tugged at my heart through childhood. But every Sunday morning I would be assured that “God is an awesome God.” I sung in the choir. I attended youth services on Wednesday nights. I was in Christian musicals and went to vacation Bible school every summer. I recited loved Bible verses and played the bells in musical productions. I honored my mother and my father. I prayed to God every night. I was a good Christian. When my youth ministers asked me to repent because they knew I was not being the good Christian I should be, I cried and repented. I had entertained doubts. I had laughed when one of my friends had made fun of someone. I had felt anger and hate in my heart for someone who had taunted me. These were bad things for a good Christian girl.

I grew up listening to Christian music. I remember a specific incident in middle school in which we were supposed to pick a song and do a “music video.” Most of the kids formed groups and did popular, secular songs of the time. I performed an Amy Grant song that I practiced constantly for day in and day out. I thought the choreography rocked. I was totally unprepared for the laughter and the teasing that followed for weeks after the performance. Even though these children were Christians who went to church, I was mercilessly tortured because I had sung a Christian song by Amy Grant. I didn’t know any other music. From the music I did know, I thought it was the coolest. I started to realize then that there was something I was missing from life; something that these other children were privy to.

My parents originally met at a Bible college and my father attended seminary while I was growing up. He was a hospital chaplain for a short time, and then in my ninth grade year he became a Southern Baptist preacher. The year he became a preacher is the year I started having even stronger doubts about Christianity.

I formed fast friendships with a group of outsiders at my high school. They were hoodlums and smokers, but they were real. They were passionate. We would hang out every morning before school and sometimes skip it altogether. We would go to a coffeehouse, play dots and talk about existentialist ideals all day. We would listen to Pink Floyd and occasionally watch A Clockwork Orange. Eventually I was moved to a different high school where I would meet my future husband.

Robert was the first person I would actually have debates with who didn’t believe in Christianity. Sure I had posed questions to my parents, but they believed in Christianity and always had an answer.
I was in constant defense of Christianity and God in my discussions with Robert. But in my mind, I doubted my own defense. Christianity began to look even more and more irrational to me. It was at this time that I read my first science book for fun – Cosmos by Carl Sagan – this book literally changed my life. When you begin to realize just how large the universe is, and just how small humanity is, it changes you. My whole perspective on life changed.

I was doubting Christianity at this point, but it still had its claws in me. It’s hard to un-brainwash yourself. I had been taught that dinosaurs and man roamed the earth together. I had been taught that Noah’s flood caused the great geological miracles of our times. I was taught that the Bible was the literal word of God. I was taught that God had a plan and that everything in my life was happening for a reason. So I was still a Christian, but of a different breed.

During this point in time a tragedy happened upon Robert’s family – the death of his brother George. I had formed a relationship with George and we had talked about his beliefs in God – or rather his lack of beliefs. He wasn’t a Christian and I questioned the location of his soul – was he now in hell? My mother assured me that he was most certainly in heaven because he had only been a child – fourteen years old. But this brought up even more questions – who gets to decide at what age you need to be to accept Christ and be saved at death? What about the people who are never exposed to Christianity? What about the people who actually got to SEE God? How was it fair to the people who had to accept blindly on faith?

My parents and I moved 400 miles south and I found a Christian church that catered to the kind of people I like. It was a youth ministry for goth-types and hippie-types such as myself. I met up with some older friends and we got along splendidly. Here I found a place where I could have my cake and eat it too. It is interesting how I always seemed to have sexual conflicts in my childhood, from molestation to almost-rapes and other things I don’t want to mention. During this time my youth minister pressured me into having “sexual relations,” if you will. He was adamantly sorry – but I never attended the church again.
It was after this that I encountered the new age revolution and began learning about the “healing” properties of rocks and crystals, the power of our own minds, hypnosis, dreams, etc. During this time I also read up on Buddhist and Hindu beliefs although neither struck my fancy. I did however like the tenets of Wicca. “Live and let live,” try to be kind, enjoy the spirituality of nature, oh yeah – and do fun rituals that are basically elaborate prayers. I learned that these types of prayers didn’t work either.

During this reflective time in my life I would not only realize how vast the size of the universe is, I would realize HOW LONG the universe and earth have been in existence. I would realize that humanity is but a speck of time in our long history. How could we be the realization of a creator if we didn’t come until much, much later? How could Christianity be right when there were thousands of gods and religions that came before? The great expanse of all these things shaped my beliefs.

While I studied Wicca, over the course of a few years, I came across a wonderful book, The Magickal Year by Diana Ferguson. This book described how Christian holidays were based on earlier Pagan holidays and described the mythological tenets of religion. After reading this book I was finally able to throw off the lingering shackles of Christianity. Not soon thereafter I gave up religion of any kind and realized that my life was not any less wanton for lack of spirituality.

I guess I went around for several years calling myself an agnostic – or pretty much ignoring what I was at all. Spirituality had lacked to have meaning in my life and I didn’t really pay it any mind. But society had a way of shaping the person I would become today.

I began to see in the news – accounts of groups of Christians getting together and rallying for the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in public classrooms. I felt inner outrage at the thought. They wanted to teach the same lies and bullshit that I had been fed my whole childhood – in public schools. When you have been lied to your whole life – you can’t help but feel some sort of resentment for the people who spread such lies.

This initial outrage led me to form more specific beliefs about the non-existence of a god. I became more interested in scientific pursuits and have since decided to become a science teacher in high school. Richard Dawkins is my new hero.

I haven’t even discussed my love for evolution and what affect that had on my previous beliefs. There is no way for a rational individual to deny evolution. It is a fact of life. There is evidence for it everywhere. If you deny the evidence and reality of evolution, how do you determine what reality is? If evolution is not safe from irrationality, what is? You can irrationalize-away anything. For me, I cannot equate the scientific facts of astronomy and the “big bang” (or however the start occurred,) geological time, anthropology, biology and more specifically evolution – with the existence of a god.

The fact that I don’t believe in a god means that I call myself an atheist. It doesn’t make me less moral, or more evil. I love my children; I want good things for humanity. I don’t have a desire to maim or kill, rape or plunder. I want to make a good mark in this world and be remembered for my kindness and intelligence. I was born an atheist, and I’ll die an atheist.


Anonymous said...

Dear STAR,
I'm really sorry about the things that happened to you as a child and the cynical Christians you have met. See, so often Christianity has become a label of a group of people rather than a lifestyle. You can profess to be a Christian but if you molest youre niece or pressure someone else into haveing sexual relations then how can I be convinced that they truly no Christ. The bible says 'You shall know them by their fruit'.

Now I don't know an awful lot about evolution or science. Christians don't condemn science. Far from it. Science is the exploration of God's creation. However science, evolution, Darwinism-whilst they can explain how an atom works, can it explain the meaning of life. Can it provide life to the full. Jesus Christ tells us that he came to give us life in all its fullness. Recently I have doubted my Christian faith as well. However I think God was showing me how miserable it must be to live as an athiest. Before I was living a life full of promise, security, hope, joy (not circumstantial joy but joy in Jesus Christ-In phillipians Paul tells us how he was filled with joy in prison, and the apostles were filled with joy when they were beated) and fulfillment and as soon as I let these doubts penetrate my mind and doubt the attributes of God my life became miserable.

You atheists think youre free thinkers and free from all institutions but in truth you guys are slaves. Deep inside your espirits are moaning in agony. You can have all the world but that wont satisfy. JOhn says He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son does not have life.
LIFE SUCKS without THE SON. You can have all the world but you'll always be wanting more cos the things u have dont fill you. And the things you turn to for fulfillment only make that hole in your heart bigger.

YOu see science and religion arent that different. Some ppl chose to entrust religion with their eternal salvation. Whilst others entrust science for their eternal salvation. Remember that evolutionism is only a Theory. Are u really willing to base your whole ETERNAL SALVATION-where you will spend the rest of ETERNITY on something that could be wrong. What if evolution is wrong-that God made the world in six days-then where would u stand before God. PUT UR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST-HE alone can save-and Give u life to the full.


GOd is loving. One of the fundemental truths of Christianity. However u have to understand the nature of God's love. God's loving doesn't necessarily mean that there will be no suffering in your life. Imagine a life without suffering. Would u desire God, would u want him, would u even care about God. Sometimes God loves us so much that he allows us to go through suffering so that we will come to know him. Very rarely do u find converts who are rich wealthy ppl with gud marriages etc. Most converts are ppl whove been raped, whove been disowned by their family, rejected by society, their homeless, theyre poor and they turn to Jesus Christ cos they have nowhere else to go. Christ offers u unending life to the full. God works in ppl who are wretched, humbled, who are completely broken. THATS WHY JESUS SAYS-blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Suffering is God's fishing line to reel us in.

If u have been taught that if u accept God then ur lifes gonna be great. God's not some genie who will grant all your wishes etc, And if youre childhood church taught you that thats a false doctrine-an attractive one but in truth false.Jesus himself said that as a Christian we can expect to suffer. What about Paul,peter adn the other apostles. ALl of them except one were brutally martyred. Before that they were viciously whipped and imprisoned. But the apostles tell us that when they suffer they rejoice because they have been counted worthy for suffering for the name of Jesus Christ.

-God never intended for suffering
-Result of sin entering the world
-USed by God to bring in the lost
-Used by God to discipline the saved (hebrews 13)
-Used by God to remind us that we arent home yet (if this world was free of suffeirng why wait for heaven-just live etenity on earth if its suffering free.)

GOd is a holy God. He is righteous and just. He created us to be a reflection of his awesomeness. However we defied him and wanted to do things our way. All the righteousness of humanity looks like a rag cloth next to the righteousness of God. If u take a sun spot (dark spots on the sun) and place it out in space it would be a shining brilliant mass. However compared with the brilliance of the sun it looks dark. And it would glorify God to throw us all into hell. Cos God is just. And by punishing evil God's getting the glory. Cos none of us have never sinned. And weve all fall short of our purpose to glorify God and to mimic his attributes. However God loved us so much-not because were valuable or precious but because of his infinite love for sinners like me-evil, worthless and wretched. And he sent his own son to die for us. What that means is that as Jesus Christ hung on the cross, all of God's holy wrath against the evil of humanity was placed on Jesus Christ. At that moment JEsus not only physically suffered but God hated him. in Isaiah, a prophetic old testament book, it tells us that 'it pleased Yahweh(Hebrew for God) to crush him.' And because Jesus Christ took our sins and was condemned with them. He himself had no sin and was blameless. And when we accpet Jesus Christ as savior, Lord and atonement for our sin we switch places with Jesus Christ so that we no longer have to die and perish but instead we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ANd God treats us as he would his own Son, we can spend eternity with him and we can have an awesome relationship with him.

-WE were made for God's Glory
-We disobey, we sin, we suck
-God still loves us even though we arent valuable or worth anything to him anymore
-God KILLS his own Son so that we can spend eternity with him and to restore our relationship

Who would be insane enough to kill their own son over something thats worthless. Thats God. His love for u is so insane he was ready to slaguhter his own child, Jesus Christ-God in flesh, so that u can have life to the full.

But Jesus Christ was raised from death and he ascended to heaven. ROmans 8 says that having accepted Jesus Christ God regards us in the same way he does his SOn. So when we die God will lift us up and we become co-heirs with Jesus Christ and he exalts us.

So REPENT of your sin and TURN TO JESUS CHRIST who will give u
-eternal salvation
-life in all its fullness
-true freedom

Love David, an apostle of Jesus Christ

Anonymous said...

If u have any questions I have an email.