I had a friend email me and ask me "I was just wondering if you could share your story with me how and why you decided to leave Christianity behind? Was it a gradual process over the years or did it happen 'overnight'?"
This is what I wrote to her and thought I would share it with all of you too.
My journey to leaving Christianity behind has been taken by some to be a short process but the reality of it has been more, in my opinion, of a long drawn out process and this explanation will probably be longer than you probably intended an answer. But I want to give you the best answer I can so you understand.
The reality is when I started I really had no intention of leaving Christianity behind. The idea that I would be where I am today was the farthest outcome that I had expected me to be in. In fact I tried really hard to cling to Christianity through the whole process.
For me the process began with our movement toward Messianic Judaism. Traditional Christianity in most ways seemed wrong....like something was missing. My thought was that if I believed that god existed then I believed that he desired me to be the best Christian that I could be. So my journey began with the thought of "what are god's expectations for a Christian to be one of his followers?"
That brought me into Kosher Law, Sabbath Law, Gentile requirements and the like. I gladly started to understand some of the laws and started to apply them to my life. I applied them to my life because I thought they were the will of god and had no ill or bad feelings about doing such things....in fact I found joy in them.
It was around this time, that I seemed be reading blogs on various Biblical issues and saw that each issue had numerous answers most in conflict with each other. At the time, I viewed such discrepancies as more of a political stance of the specific church of the person making the comment. So, that lead me to the question "What was the real stance for Christians to take on those issues?" I mean if we are of one body....we should be of one mind and Christianity reminded me of a body with Multiple Personality Disorder. So it was back to the question "What does god want?"
You would think that answers would be easy, I mean we had the book that had all the answers....but that could not have been further from the truth. Finding answers was hard. Each issue had multiple bible verses and each Bible verse had to be taken to its original Greek Hebrew or Aramaic. In the end, I found out that there was some issues that when all boiled down had conflicting answers. Some Hebrew and Greek words have no English definitions meaning that we really don't know what it actually meant...bible scholars just took what ever they thought it meant or what ever the cause was for the church of that century.
This brought me to the question....."If they did that, what else could have been tweaked to serve their own reasons?" the answer for me was "Start at the beginning and find our the truth.....Genesis here I come.
Some of the rules I had was ...
1. All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness. Which leads to number two
2. All stances had to be supported by other verses besides just one and all verses had to be taken in context.
I had a few others but these were the most important....
Genesis was where the axis started tipping. Obviously the first issue to come up was the old Evolution verses Creation Debate. Having gone to a Mennonite school...Evolution was not in the curriculum. So I basically was able to start at square one. I acquired all the books, blogs, Websites and debates I could on the subject of evolution and creation. This process was long and for every point made for evolution there was an answer for creation and visa versa. Then I read a book by of all people Richard Dawkin's called " The Greatest Show On Earth" I was hesitant about reading this because he was a staunch atheist who has a very I would say strong but strong is an understatement, view against god. But I found his book to be strongly informative. It made a very compelling case for evolution and the evolutionary process. It cited experiments that could be researched and you could see if the same conclusions he stated were the conclusions of the scientists as well. This book was the turning point to my acceptance of evolutions ....over time I accepted evolution as fact and creation was a myth.
Up until this point I still wrote on my blog like there was nothing wrong....bible studies....but sometimes my questions and doubts shone through.
From there the questions kept coming like .....If creation was a myth what about Adam and eve and marriage?....who can get married?...... Did god create evil?.....Why does god allow bad things?.......if god doesn't do bad things why does seem to be oblivious to some Christians in times of extreme distress?....why are we called to be fruitful and multiply and yet some godly people left barren?.....is slavery really wrong?....what is the role of women in christianity?....
For every question....there was enough material to make your head spin and you had to dig for an answer.... eventually it finally came down to there were a lot of conflicting answers (and sometimes no answers) for the first time I asked myself "What if god was not real....What if god really isn't there? .....I was conflicted had I spent all this time to find what god wanted to only find out that god might not exist.
So my efforts now turned to the conflicts that nonchristians had with the bible.....I figured that this was a do or die situation..... Either I was gonna prove to myself that god existed or it was just a myth.....again i went to books, blogs, websites and debates....and again I had enough material to go through........eventually over time the Christian self was eroded away until one day I came to the conclusion ....Christianity is a myth.....and bye golly, I'm an
atheist............So the short answer is my journey from Christianity was because of the search for truth......