Beginning this topic with a note. this is focused on a controversial topic that I have felt the need to talk about. How it effects my life, and how it might effect others from teenagers, to the oldest of adults. It will contain possibly offensive context or ideas that combat religion. This isn’t a means to convince religion is wrong or anything. But to those who are at ends with it.
Starting this off, I am on the border of deist to Atheist. I do believe something is out there. But I do believe that no man made religion could ever depict or imagine a real deity, divine creator, or creators to perfection. Much of these thoughts have began with my natural skeptic mind and how I tend to question everything to the first page. It’s actually quite a bittersweet gift. I can get information, but at the dismay of my peers.
However since my mind has been inside the church for a good portion of my life. I feel many different feelings that tend to attribute to my paranoid mind and fears. I’m not quite open on the Atheist title to any of my church friends. However my family, and other friends outside of religion know about this. In a way, I am hiding a big part of myself to some really close people in my life.
Now how does this attribute to this topic? One thing that has been brought up in my counseling is that I am terrified to lose my friends. The people in my church are really close. They are a huge support group and assisted me in my teenage life. A lot of my teenage years have had many issues at home and I felt welcomed. However in the back of my mind I asked often “Why?”.
I have different views that Christianity regards as wrong. I find no issues in Homosexuality, and as brought up. I identify myself as Bisexual, which only hurts my self esteem since I’d be denying a part of myself that holds no gender barrier. I have no issues with sex outside of marriage. I don’t even understand half of the idea of sin and how no matter what we do, we always sinned. It almost made me feel worthless and somehow the christian god was to make me feel whole. But yet I only heard about how empty I am without this idea.
Let’s go back to the beginning of my faith. When I was in Jr. High, I was at a difficult time of my life. My dad died when I was in 5th grade, my grandpa shortly followed. I had so many sad thoughts because the primary people who influenced me were gone. I met my best friend, John. His family was Christian and the only way I could hang out with them if I attended church. This person was my only friend at the time in that school. I wasn’t popular nor was I good at talking with people.
From Jr. High till high school graduation, I attended this church. I began skeptical but as time went on, I thought I believed everything the bible had to say. Most of this time, I sought something as an answer to the pain I experienced growing up. Watching my family fall apart as my older brothers got into drugs and gangs didn’t help my young mind when I feared losing my brothers as well. I was comforted that if I prayed hard enough, maybe things would be fixed.
I won’t lie that things did change. For me at least. I stayed out of trouble. I had a good friend group. We did many different things such as charities, assistance with the Pregnancy Resource Center, Church Plays, held public dinners. It was fun and made me feel like I made a difference. But things didn’t quite change for the family.
I couldn’t convince my family to go to church with me. And all I heard in response to this was that I got to keep praying. No matter how much I prayed or asked others. nothing changed. I began questioning the meaning of this if nothing happens. The bible supposed to have answers, but nothing stood out. Even if it related. If I prayed for years on end and nothing came across. My prayers meant nothing.
According to the bible, my family are bound to burn in hell. A fear instilled onto us from the bible itself. If you don’t believe in this idea, you’re bound to head straight to hell. This idea made me feel horrible since I couldn’t do anything. My family didn’t follow along. and I couldn’t bare the idea of that. But no fruit was revealed from my prayers or words to convince.
Following graduation of High School, my church attendance became low. I didn’t believe the ideas. I didn’t care for the sermons. I only felt put down when Utah’s Gay Marriage was legalized and our church went heavy on the topic. I held these bisexual views and was only being shamed for feeling like this. I didn’t feel welcomed anymore.
The people in that church are not bigots. In fact it was quite welcoming to everyone. We held open sessions with LGBT groups who did believe in God. But the idea that love is restricted to one gender? I couldn’t grasp my mind on it. I have people in my life who are gay and married. they are happy and settled. But what makes that different than a man or woman? Because they cannot bear child? Or somehow that love is fake?
I drifted away with little to no attendance. Only going now because my best friends are the ones I want to keep close, but not push away with my skeptic thoughts. This has not made my mind settle that they’d accept me regardless. Because not only I’m throwing away the baptism I’ve done and the speech in front of the church. But also disappoint my peers who thought of the godly man here is backing away from “his commitment to Christ”.
I have observed many people drift away from religion. And when they admit they feel bad. Christians often say the Holy Spirit is making them feel guilty for leaving. But don’t you ever feel guilty when you do something against other people’s ideas? You leave one job for another and you’re shamed by your friends who work at your previous job for leaving. Don’t we feel that our peers are the ones who shame us and make us feel guilty for leaving? Then have other professing Christians damn us or not believing their faith as our own?
People feel depressed when one leaves depression. People become frustrated at you. Disappointed, and in some cases, people try to wave off your mind as some phase or preach the gospel that means nothing to you at the time to bring you back. The people you are moving away from in their group look down on you. And hurts that person in the long run.
It is hard for those who leave religion because the people behind it can be the catalyst of shame and regret. Rather than understanding the mind of the person leaving, they try to persuade or make them feel terrible for the choice. It can be kind or rude. Some people will say they will pray that you come back to the truth. Others will try to preach to you.
To me, Christianity has not been the answer. It’s actually working against me with the stress on my mind. The fears that will come with leaving entirely. And the people who I love will possibly cut ties with me if I decide to leave for good. It hurts my mind to imagine these scenarios that might happen.
Now, again this isn’t attempt to dissuade you to keep believing. do what you want as long as you don’t harm others. But religion just doesn’t work for me anymore. I don’t see man made religion as an answer to purpose. I don’t feel the same hope and love anymore because of it. I can’t be myself without hiding big factors of myself from those I love. I don’t want to offend, but I won’t hide this much anymore.
These are just the thoughts of myself. I don’t blame religion for my depression. Many things contribute to it. but I would want people to see how I felt. How Religion can be good for some time, but also hurt you as well. I can’t be bisexual without being a sinful man in Christianity. I can’t be happy with myself without putting some imaginary man in front of me.