Still Silent, My Journey through Christianity
Hello, my name is Kevin and I am not a Christian. I was born a Catholic, baptised a Catholic, and got my First Communion as a Catholic. Am I the only person thinking of the Monty Python song, "Every Sperm is Sacred?" ;-) For the most part being Catholic is nothing like being a fundamentalist. Yes, I went to church. I sortof remember CCD (think sunday school) and stuff but church was never a big deal. My mom always believed strongly but was balanced by my dad who didn't care one way or the other. Then the worst thing happened.
My parents started having marital problems. These suck anyway but they were compounded by the fact that my mother firmly believed it was God causing the problems because my dad was a heathen. They went through almost annual seperations and I moved back and forth for several years. During this time my mother became disillusioned with the Catholic faith. We started church hopping. We tried all kinds of churches but mostly fundamentalist ones. I will skip a bunch here but right after 6th grade my parents finally divorced and my mother settled into the Assemblies of God church. This story might be a little confused chronologically but I am pretty sure I got first communion before this started.
My mother went pretty hard core for a while. We were there Fridays for Royal Rangers (their Boy Scouts), Saturday for prayer, Sunday -- two services, Tuesday youth group, and Wednesday mid-week service. All my friends were from the church and all my free time was spent there. I will be honest; I never was able to take religion seriously. Oh, I tried. But it was a constant battle trying to convince myself that I really believed it. Finally, I was convicted in service one night to really devote everything to God.
I tried for 7 weeks. I would pray everyday. I would read my bible and repeat affirmations in my head. I tried to feel God, even calling out to him to make himself known to me. I was determined to know God and live like he wanted me to. I even fasted a couple of those days trying to reach him. Finally, I was sitting in my English class and started to repeat to myself what I "supposedly" believed. After I finished my mental spiel the voice asked, "Do you believe this?" At first I almost laughed -- why would I even ask that? But then, deep down, I heard myself respond, softly "No." This was deeply convincing for me. I had suppressed this voice for so long that there was little denying it anymore.
I went through a period of doubt, depression, etc. Trying to figure out what I believed since I didn't believe in God. I wasn't a Satanist or an Atheist which were the only options I knew about. Eventually, I decided not to worry about it. I would have the rest of my life to decide what happens when I die or what I believe. Soon after that I found Erisianism (Sortof Zen Buddhism for Westerners) and have been one since. What really secured my conversion was the fact that while I was trying like hell to find God everyone thought my walk was horrible. But once I stopped believing in God several people commented to my mother and me that they could tell how strong my walk was growing. LOL
There was no way I could come out about my beliefs! I just played the game like a pro! I went on annual summer mission trips, did all the church things, and actually became a leader in the Youth Group. Of course, I wasn't their perfect person because I would rarely "go for the throat" and get people saved. I think I only led three people to the lord during the years that followed and all of them had made the choice without my assistence. I felt bad at times because of the double life I was leading. But I told myself that when I left home I would tell my mom.
I left home and went to college. I still couldn't tell my mom. I told myself that I would tell her when I turned 21. Now, to be clear, my beliefs don't require me to tell anyone and they don't discourage practicing any other beliefs so I wasn't actually hurting myself but I wanted to be honest with her. I tried to tell her when I turned 21. I got as far as, "Mom, I don't believe in God exactly as you do." That is when she lost it. I tried to wait it out. I had to deal with her, my sisters, my cousins, my aunt, and my uncle all trying to convert me back. All never asking what I really believed just assuming I was an atheist. The only other faith-based discussion was when I explain to my mom that heaven horrified me as much as hell. Any place without change would bore me to death. She assured me that God would "fix" my brain (aka lobotomy) so it wouldn't bother me.
After two weeks of this I ended up at a Christian camp ground. Surrounded 24/7 with people trying to win me back to God. I held out for the whole week. I did break down crying once because of guilt I felt over an injury my sister has to deal with but I held my ground. Finally we left. I sat down one morning and had a long, long mediatation -- just thinking really. I decided that not telling was just better all around. It wasn't hurting me and it made dealing with family easier.
I told them I was just kidding. I am serious that is all I said. It was magic. Everything went back to normal. It was as if nothing had happened at all. No need to pray the sinner's prayer... no interrogation... it seemed that if I was willing to pretend to be a Christian they could pretend I had never told them otherwise. It has been two and a half years since then. I am still silent about my religion. I expect I will be silent for much longer. I have reduced my participation in church as much as possible. I haven't been in five weeks at this point but I still get dragged along. Scheduling my job on Sunday mornings helps.
Well this is where I am at. Long pointless story really. I had a very short time of recovery because I never really bought the religion subconsciously. It never made sense to my inate world view. But I figured I would post it...