From fundy to freethinker

(Via Kathleen)

I grew up in the northeastern U.S. and my parents converted to a fundamentalist sect of Christianity when I was about five. Heavily indoctrinated from an early age, I thought I too was saved and heaven bound. I was so intense as a young child that I proudly became the youngest child to be Baptized in my church, at the age of 7. It wasn't easy to convince the pastor that I understood the Christian teachings and wanted to demonstrate my public admission of faith by Baptism.

As I grew into a teen, I remained faithful but not as involved with my beliefs. Still, at the insistence of my parents, I spent my Sundays in church from early morning to late evening. It became quite a burden to a teen that had discovered more interesting things in the secular world. Despite this, I maintained my strong beliefs throughout my teen years.

When it was time to think about college, I was given the choice of attending one of several conservative Christian colleges. I don't remember why I chose Gordon College in Wenham, Ma. but it was during those early days in school that I suddenly realized my childhood religion was not only disturbing but quite a fantastic stretch of reality. Oddly enough being indoctrinated constantly helped me see how incredible the Christian claims were when compared to the lack of evidence. I left college after a brief illness during the second semester an ultra liberal Christian with agnostic leanings. The truth is after losing my faith, I could barely stand being in an atmosphere that stifled freethought.

During the next decade, I returned to school, survived a nine year unhappy marriage, gave birth to my only son and eventually became a professional registered nurse. I continued to seek and investigate religion with the attitude that my search would lead me to the truth. I was an agnostic with theistic leanings during this time. One day when I was about 28, I had what can only be described as a moment of enlightenment. I suddenly realized that my search for God had been in vain as there is nothing supernatural about the universe. I felt both relief and peace. That was thirty years ago and I continue to live a happy god free life.

I've always been very open and usually pleasant about my atheism at work and among theistic friends. I have no desire to convert or debate as I believe it's best to allow and encourage people to investigate truth for themselves, while answering questions honestly. I am currently enjoying 28 years of a happy marriage to a fellow atheist and am involved in several organized atheist groups. These groups have helped me feel far less isolated living in the heart of southern U.S. In fact, I often forget that I live in a place heavily populated by the same type of people that I knew at my childhood church.

I don't regret my childhood experiences. They have only made me stronger and more perhaps more tolerant towards those that still believe. I've tried the aggressive atheist persona but it's not who I am. I'm much happier and effective as the tolerant atheist who tries to be an example of how morally positive and satisfying life can be without religion.


Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you. It actually takes more faith to believe that God does not exist.....especially after the birth of your son. Think of it this way: If I'm wrong in my faith in Christ, when I die I become nothing according to your thought process; If you're wrong you will suffer the consequences of a concious, deliberate rejection of God for all eternity. As long as you still have breath and a beating still have the opportunity to accept Christ. Regardless, one day you will leave this world and you will stand before God almighty. PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT.

Anonymous said...

This is a nice fallacy, first anonymous, called "false dichotomy." I am sure my Lord Thor will beat you to a bloody pulp with his hammer Mjolnir in the battle at Ragnarök for believing in this false Jewish god of yours. PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT.