“Do you accept Jesus into your heart?” These were the seven words that begin my journey. 24 years later (I’m now 30 years old) I still don’t know exactly what that phrase really means. But I digress. Let’s take a look back in time. As an adolescent, I had big dreams as does every child. I wanted to major in broadcast journalism at a reputable university and move on to bigger and better things. However, my family had other plans for my life. So after high school and its awkward awkwardness, I began attending one of the most conservative, fundamentalist Bible Colleges in the country per my families wishes.
During my time at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (I call it Gayville USA because there are more closeted homosexuals there than a bathhouse on Fire Island), I thought I was being trained on the science of pastoral ministry. I now understand that while in seminary, I was actually being trained in the art of indoctrination without ever knowing it. And after graduation, I worked in and for the Southern Baptist Convention. Yes, the same Southern Baptist Convention which supported the right to own and beat slaves during the Civil War era, evidenced by the fact that the Southern Baptist split from the Northern Baptist over the issue of slavery! Really! Even today, they believe that being gay is a choice, and that it is a sin so they are actively fighting for the right to discriminate against those in the LGBT community. Moreover, even in 2015 they oppose science, support war, and aggressively try to deny a woman’s right to basic healthcare and they believe the bible, and therefore god, is on their side.
But again, I digress.
As if this isn’t bad enough, they also believe that the bible is to be taken literally. Every word. So at the commencement of almost any sermon of almost any Southern Baptist church, the preacher will read a passage of scripture. I shall do that now. Please rise to your feet as we read god’s anointed word…literally.
“Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.” - (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)
No mercy for helpless babies! Gang Rape! No compassion for the children! Let the church say “amen”!
You know, passages like this should bother you. Fact: there is not a single circumstance where killing an innocent person is okay. There isn’t a single circumstance where nonconsensual sex is okay. Murdering innocent babies is never okay! So what kind of people would actually worship a being who ordered the slaying of innocent babies and gang raping somebody’s wife? Christians. That’s who.
Banned by Christians
This passage, and the hundreds more like it found in that damn book, has always infuriated me, but my job while working in the church was to teach the bible and all its gory glory and for almost 6 years, faithfully, that’s what I did. Now fast forward, in the cinema of your mind, to 2012. I found myself divorced from my wife, and because of this I was ostracized by these caring, loving, Christian people. They fired me and kicked me out of the church. You see, Southern Baptists believe that divorce is a sin and, as punishment, I was banned from the church and I will burn in hellfire with the devils fiery pitch fork up my asshole for eternity. Supposedly. But I digress.
When the church kicked me to the curb, I suddenly found myself with a glorious freedom. Freedom not found in Christ as I was promised, but freedom in knowing that I could now question my faith, examine the evidence and allow logic and reason to guide me along the way without the faithful peering over my shoulder. What did I learn? This life changing journey led me to understand that everything I believed was nonsense, downright stupid and extremely dangerous. The Bible is filled with ruthless lies, unspeakable violence and blatant contradictions. A magical sky fairy god? A talking snake? A global flood? A mass exodus? Killing innocent babies? A virgin birth? Heaven if you’re good and hell if you’re bad? What the fuck was I thinking when I was teaching this shit to impressionable children? I’m ashamed of myself even to this day. I feel like I owe them a sincere apology. The bible also teaches that a man named Jonah was literally swallowed by a big fish but lived to tell about it, literally. It’s the shit that fairy tales are made out of and it is being taught on a weekly basis to millions of people every Sunday. Literally! But, well…you know.
Because of these realizations, I decided to join the ranks of the enlightened and free thinking atheist. So am I saying that all Christians are unenlightened and not capable free thinking? Not necessarily, but if the shoe fits, lace that bitch up and wear that motherfucker. Google is now my god. Google knows everything.
Oh, and another little tidbit. Did I mention I’m gay, and I have been my whole life? Thaaat’s right. I am an atheist homo. Double whammy, huh? My parents must be so proud. Keep in mind that I was gay in high school, extremely gay in college, gay while in ministry and gay that time I actually had sex with my wife (yuck) and let me tell you, having to hide that little factoid my entire life, especially as I trekked through religious muck, was torture. It was like having to watch an Adam Sandler movie type torture. One would think that the skinny jeans would have been a sure sign that I liked boys, but one would be wrong. Because of debilitating fear, fear of god’s wrath, my family’s abandonment, and losing everything, I hid the fact that I was super gay. (But fabulous I might add!)
Coming out was every bit the shit show I thought it would be, but was all worth it. My family still loves me, my friends accept me and the church hates me, and that’s the way I like it! But I digress.
For years I was taught that happiness comes from God. No. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. (You know, if hell actually existed). Happiness comes from being yourself and making every day the best it can be. This is all we have so why not? Do you know what happens after death? Nothing. Nada. So make this life count. I went from being a clean-cut seemingly straight married preacher boy to a gay divorced atheist who detests the church with no stops in between. I went from putting money in the offering plate to putting my money in the underwear of hot go-go boys (except I don’t get a tax credit for that). Life is good and I want everybody to be happy.
I am thrilled to be a part of Atheist Republic. This organization does so much for atheist all over the world. When I was a child, I was mild-mannered but that was then and this is now. Yesteryear, my words were used to “win people for Christ”. However now my words will be used to point people to Atheism and let them know that true freedom comes through being a free thinking individual and I promise to have a no-holds-barred approach to this mission. So buckle up, hang on and enjoy this ride. Who knows, I may irritate a bible thumper or two along the way.
One can hope, right?
But I digress.
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