Why I’m Not a Christian

I’ve been thinking about writing this for months now. At first I thought it might go on Over the Invisible Wall, but I don’t think it fits. Mostly because of the mission statement we created. I’m finally writing this and telling everyone the truth. I’ve implied a lot about my beliefs through omission of my thoughts, so I’m here to clear up some of the basics and tell my story.

This is just my experience. Your experience can be different. That’s fine. You can believe as you will and so can I.

 

I used to be a Christian, or at least I tried to be.

 

When I was five, I went to vacation Bible school (VBS) at my family’s church. The leaders presented the gospel and I asked Jesus to “come into my heart” so after I died, I could go to heaven. I was terrified of hell. If it’s real, it is and should be terrifying. Eternal, never-ending torture with no relief? Who wouldn’t beg to be forgiven for whatever wrongdoing had sent them there?

 

The next few years I attended VBS, I again went forward to ask Jesus to “come into my heart” to save me. I feared that my previous requests were not genuine and I was still destined for hell. This fear was persistent and recurrent. I could not shake this the whole time I considered myself a Christian.

 

When I was nine, I told my parents and church leaders I wanted to be baptized. At the time, I had some understanding that baptism is a public declaration to the church that you’re a Christian too. I also knew it was something I was supposed to do, but I had never seen anyone get baptized or heard of people I knew getting baptized. I’m not exactly sure how I came to my decision, but I was baptized, along with other kids from my Sunday school class and a few others.

 

Around the age of thirteen, perhaps a bit before, I began to struggle with depression. I now have a hunch that it was likely in part due to the hormonal swing that accompanies the menstrual cycle. However, at the time, and for years, it was a near-constant state for me. I still experienced positive emotions such as happiness but a lot of times I felt hopeless. I recall a myriad of times that I begged God to end my life. I was in a dark place a lot of the time. Most of my poetry from that time is about all the negative thoughts and feelings I had.

I was taught my whole life that I am a horrible, sinful human being that deserves to go to hell, that it is entirely my fault if I end up there, that I will have chosen to go to hell. This intermingled with the other aspects of my depression. I felt very strongly that I deserved to die, that I shouldn’t be alive because I didn’t deserve to live. There were times that things felt too hard to handle, I felt like I couldn’t go on, I didn’t want to live. I frequently had suicidal thoughts. I will not disclose more detail about my thoughts in that vein as it is a dangerous thing to do.

I prayed and prayed. At first, I prayed for God to kill me or make the rapture happen now. Later, I started praying that I might be free of depression. I’m not entirely free of depression, but things are looking up. It took years, though, and I was at risk for a long time before I was able to combat the thoughts I was having.

 

Between the ages of thirteen and about sixteen I kept flip flopping from trying to pursue a relationship with God to giving up and back. When I was pursuing God and godliness I spent a lot of time praying, reading my Bible, and memorizing Bible verses. I asked for closeness, I sought after it. When I prayed, it felt like I was talking to myself. If ever a voice spoke to me when I asked a question, it was quite obviously from my own mind.

I would pray for strength to resist sin, and I would do well avoiding things considered sinful for a few days or a couple weeks. Then I would buckle and cave. I felt incredibly guilty over this. Many times I gave up pursuing God because I kept failing, beating myself up over my failure, asking for help, not getting it, and repeating. More than a few times I decided to quit trying.

 

In that same window of time, I found that I was attracted to girls and guys. I was taught that homosexuality was bad and sinful and against God’s plan. I didn’t choose to be attracted to people regardless of gender. If I chose who I’d find attractive, I would be straight not bisexual. I didn’t understand why something I didn’t choose was so sinful. A position I encountered was that homosexual desires themselves were not wrong but acting on them was. However, to be consistent, you have to acknowledge that based on Jesus’ equation of lust and adultery, homosexual desires are the same as acting upon those desires. It didn’t make sense to me why it was sinful.

 

For about the last year and a half, I started having more problems with aspects of Christianity not making sense. While I thought through some of the contentions, I stumbled into the atheist community on YouTube and started watching videos. A lot of what they were saying made a lot of sense to me. What I knew and understood of theology, philosophy, and logic was not sufficient to form counterarguments I found convincing. At that time, and for a while, I was at near-perfect agnosticism, uncertainty whether there is or is not a god. I have since drifted further from agnostic theism into agnostic atheism.

I have an article I wrote detailing a logical problem I have with a specific aspect of Christianity and God. It is too long to include here so I will be editing it and sharing it in the future.

 

I was once committed to theism and Christianity. My life centered around it. Everyone I knew well was a Christian. It was easy. Over time, faith wasn’t enough, the arguments weren’t convincing enough, and it fell apart for me. That is why I no longer consider myself a Christian.

If you have questions, please ask them in the comments. I don’t want a debate, but if you want more detail about certain parts of my story I will do my best to recall them.

6 thoughts on “Why I’m Not a Christian”

  1. Hi Alyssa – just saw this post and I’m totally not here to debate, but I’d love to discuss if you’re open to it! We probably have some different views about Christianity and atheism/agnosticism, but I think we also have more in common than you might think! I can totally relate to your battle with mental health, as I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety pretty much since childhood. I used to run to my mom crying if I had a thought that I deemed “bad” or “wrong”. A couple of years ago it actually got to the point where I had trouble functioning. I’m also a perfectionist, which adds another layer to it.

    Being a Christian (and a deep thinker, as it sounds like you are too!) I’ve always wanted to please God. But for me, ironically, it’s helped to move more into my faith, rather than away from it, and to change my perspective. Rather than trying to follow God out of the pressure to be perfect, I started to focus on God’s love for me and for the world. I truly don’t believe God wants us to beat ourselves up over being sinners – but rather to come to Him in our brokenness with our battle scars and run into His arms.

    Rather than focusing so hard on “good and bad”, “right and wrong”, I’m now trying to focus on just following Jesus. We all struggle. We all have things we deal with. We’re all human which by nature practically guarantees both beauty and chaos. As far as the part about you discovering that you’re bi, a lot of Christians have handled this sort of thing Really ignorantly. I totally believe that is not something you chose. It is not something I experience myself but I have a really good friend who has the exact same situation – and we’ve talked about it plenty of times before. I’ve also researched it myself, and believe I may have read some of the same resources you have (Wesley Hill’s book Washed And Waiting, articles by Preston Sprinkle, and the Spiritual Friendship blog). I honestly don’t believe that from a Christian standpoint, your attraction is in itself lust. I’ve read a lot of teen devotionals over the course of my life – and many have touched on the subject of lust. None of them have ever said that you need to stop being attracted to people to stay clean of lusting (gay or straight), but simply to hold every thought captive. Again we’re probably coming from different perspectives, with me being a Christian and you leaning towards atheism, but I just felt that I should throw that out there.

    I’m not trying to preach but rather start a conversation – that’s where all good philosophy starts, right? I’d love to talk about this more (about any point in my very long comment – which is probably more of a book at this point) whether on your blog or in an email (my email address is courtneyloves2read@gmail.com). I always love meeting new people and discussing life! I truly wish you the best on your journey towards wellness and mental health!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Courtney, thanks for your response!
      Based on my studies of the Bible, theology, what I was taught at church, and what I was told by my parents, being gay and being Christian do not go together. I don’t have time at the moment, but I can find some of those sources for you later if you would like. My understanding and the interpretation of the majority of the Christians around me lead me to conclude that they were diametrically opposed to each other. I prayed about it to try to change it, to not feel that way, and nothing changed.
      I appreciate you taking the time to respond and engage with me respectfully on this topic.
      -Alyssa

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Alyssa – I’d totally be interested in dialoguing more on this if you’d like. Ultimately we all have our own decisions to make when it comes to matters of beliefs/views but I have some resources that you might find interesting as well! If you get the chance, we should chat over email! Thanks for commenting back and I hope I didn’t drive you crazy with my last comment – I can be a little long winded at times! 🙂
        – Best of wishes,
        Courtney

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey Courtney,
          I will definitely email you when I get a chance. I would like to continue this discussion. Thank you for being polite and respectful despite the differences in our viewpoints.
          Best,
          Alyssa

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wipe that life slate clean 🙂 Start with “I am normal” and then start adding things to your life that make sense to you.

    You don’t need to be Christian, you don’t even need to be “Atheist”, you just have to be you. When I left the church I lost some friends but throughout the process of life I’ve met many interesting people along the way. I joined Atheist groups, skeptic groups, a Buddhist meditation group, I adventured, I attended “green drinks” and just put myself out there to learn about others.. and for others to learn about me. Some people stick around, others go off to their next endeavor. The important thing is to love yourself first.

    I have a friend who is bi as well. When she suddenly found “god”, I was a bit confused. I inquisitively said, “What’s up with this change? the majority of Christian’s think that is wrong?!?!” and she more or less said that when it comes to THOSE people, she just ignores them. I’ve mentioned this a few times in my blog but I attended a Catholic mass when I taught my son about “World Religions” and was very happy hearing the Priest at the mass… When referring to the LGBT community, say “Who am I to say who can or cannot come through these doors?”. I also attended a Unitarian Universality church (more on the liberal side) that were fully accepting of everyone from all walks of life.

    Ultimately, you are going to make your own decisions on life. We have a pretty good community of Atheists here on WordPress if you want to kick things around, we are here for you!

    You mentioned checking videos online and youtube. I like the Atheist Experience. While I don’t agree with everything, Matt Dillahunty is smart and a good speaker/debater. Might want to check him out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
      I definitely agree. It took me a while to come to a point where I felt I could tell the people I know that I don’t share their religion. I’m still somewhat nervous about people’s response from my personal circles, but I also understand that if I lose friends it was not me, it was them. If they care about me they’ll stick around and still support me.
      If I hadn’t had other disagreements with Christianity, I likely would have remained a Christian and found a way to reconcile my sexuality with my religion. Unfortunately, when I came out to a few of my close friends, I was thereafter not allowed to be friends with one of them. It wasn’t her fault, she was a Christian and also bi, but her mom was not okay with it at all.
      Thanks, if I have time I’ll definitely check it out! Both the WordPress community and Matt Dillahunty. 🙂

      Like

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