"That's me in the corner. That's me in the spotlight, losing my religion."
Yes, I’m in the mood for cheesy R.E.M. songs. I figured I should take some time to map out my on-going battle with religion.
I started out “lost” as most Christians would tell me in high school. I studied Wicca, Muslim, Buddhism, Satanism, Christianity, and eventually I stumbled upon Atheism and stuck with it. Then, everything changed when my Christian friends attacked (Avatar reference there). Now, I guess they feared for my soul, which is noble of them, but now that I look back it may have not been the best thing for my psyche.
I’m bisexual (maybe even pansexual). I was back then and I still am now. I was also goth, and a very outspoken Atheist. I wasn’t very outspoken about the sexual orientation though. I learned in the girls middle school locker room that being a little queer wasn’t a good thing to be. I was taught that being queer was wrong by my peers. I saw bisexual or lesbian girls be taunted and gay men be bullied and beat down by the basketball team. I didn’t want that to be my fate, so I never dated anyone but men during high school and never spoke of my curiosity towards being with another gender.
Back to my peers and the Christianity thing. So, they wanted to save me. Being a person with a crippling anxiety disorder, I began to fear for my eternal soul and beg for forgiveness to a higher power. I attended summer retreats in the hopes of washing away my impurities. I was baptized twice and I bought seven different copies of the Bible and three studying books in order to understand my faith. I discovered quickly that everything in the Bible isn’t daisies and roses. Most of it is full of contradictions, pain, and absolute shit honestly. But the thought of having a heaven to go to and the thought of being at peace from my anxiety-triggering existence was comforting and emotionally satisfying, especially since Christians attempt to embed the fears of hell into your head.
That changed during college. The more knowledgeable I became, the more I hated the things written in the Bible. I started drifting. I figured that I had a shot at testing the waters of who I truly was and decided to go for it. The more I learned about sex and gender, the less I became concerned with what gender my partner could be. Of course, this was learned through observing my attraction to people, not sexual encounters because I was, and still am in a relationship with a cis-man. He did on many occasions ask me to take a break and explore this side of me; which upon a major fight in our relationship, I did, but I loved him too much to stay out of the relationship for long.
So that happened. Along with that I decided on my major and career path. I want a dual major in Psychology and Sociology, and my focus study is human sexuality. Now, the more enveloped I become in social change, the less I rely on a higher being as an aid for my comfort. It never really brought me real comfort. Lets face it, fear brings out the strangest sensations, and I was and still am afraid of many things. However, I didn’t like feeling ashamed of being human and having desires. Why would I want to mentally traumatize myself for something that’s supposedly emotionally satisfying if it may not exist? Why would I shame myself for living, when it may be the only life I live?
I couldn’t answer those questions with a logical answer, so I expelled faith out of my mind. Now, I’m a Humanist and I’ve never been happier.
“Were you actually ever saved?” I’ve been asked this question often. Do you mean did I go through the process? Are you asking if I felt that lurch in my chest when I realized that I needed to change in order to go to heaven? If so, then yes, I was saved. I was brainwashed into believing it all. I shamed myself and harmed my mental state in order to have this emotional satisfaction. I even went as far as speaking in front of my congregation (of 200 people) about my salvation. I read from my paper, so it was easier than my most recent experience with public speaking. And now I’m unlearning all of that because all this time, I was lying to myself. For these reasons, I honestly feel like religion is toxic. It teaches you to feel bad because you’re are doing things that are natural and human. You’re taught that God loves you, but he will send you to hell in a heartbeat. You’re taught that prayer fixes things, yet we’ve seen that the only time a problem is solved is through human intervention. We’re told that we are being punished for something that our “ancestors” started. What is emotionally satisfying about any of this?
On average, Atheist are more Bible literate than Christians. Read the Bible, and really pay attention. The world needs more Atheists.
Click here or here to test yourself about the Bible. See what you really know about religion.