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A Conversion Story

Posted by JGJ on Thursday, March 02, 2006 | Permalink

I wasn't always an atheist. I like to say when people, who call themselves 'Christian', ask me how I became an atheist, "I read the Bible." Of course they think that is nuts but it is true. I went to a Baptist Church every Sunday, rode my bicycle 10 miles through the hills of Kentucky to get there so I was pretty dedicated and wasn't forced to go by my parents, nor did I have any bad experiences with the religion that would result in me holding them responsible. I have been asked questions like these by Christians since they feel there has to be cause for my abandonment and cannot accept that the Bible is what made me an atheist.

I grew restless in the sermons and wanted to ask questions, but, of course, that is something that people don't do. I don't know why, it should be a free-for-all. I had heard of other churches nearby that turned people away because they were wearing jeans or were not in their 'Sunday Best' as it's called. I don't think Jesus went around inspecting people's clothing when he gave a sermon. He even served food and drinks to everyone there, in church, the best food I ever had was a cracker and a shot of grape juice. I started actually seeing the other churches around with different names, like Catholic, Methodist, Seventh Day, Church of Christ, Church of God, Christ Church, Tabernacles, Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, Unitarian, Evangelical, Pentecostal and on and on and was wondering how our Baptist beliefs differed from theirs. So, I started asking questions, which usually got me the answer, "I'm not sure" or "I don't know" and the like. I thought to myself, then why are we Baptists? Of course, most knew why they were Baptists, but, believe it or not, not all did. These were grown-ups to me; they were supposed to know these things. So, I did the research myself.

I found that the beliefs of the Baptist church were quite different on several things from several churches. I was shocked it wasn't just different in name but on major beliefs as well. This forced me to start looking up passages that the other churches referred to as a basis for their beliefs. I noticed that my knowledge of the Bible was a chop-suey mess and just decided to clean my plate off and start over. So I started reading the Bible from the beginning. I even did the calculations taking the ages of the Old Testament people to figure out when Adam was born. At the time, I didn't know that had been done already. I took Bible History in high school, then in college, then read several books on the subject and started delving into other religions from Shamanisms growth into classical mythology to modern day cults. And there I was, seeing the idiocy of it all. I was fascinated by the contrasts between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament and the growth and rise of Christianity from a very tiny cult to the religious powerhouse that it is today as well as the dominance of the Catholic Church over European history during the middle Ages. No other religion has had as much influence on global politics as the one that started with Abraham. Good portions of the problems today are caused by it. The Jews moving back to Palestine at the end of World War II so Christians can attempt to self-fulfill biblical prophecy is one small example.

Oops, I'm writing a book again, sorry about that. But anyway, just to see how much change and why there was change in the beliefs of Christians of antiquity and Christians of today was enough to make me an atheist, but it was the Bible at the root of it all. The difference in the fire and brimstone, angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament into the "love your neighbor, I'm so vain" God of the New Testament is enough as well. If something so all knowing and all-powerful was subject to such a drastic change in a few thousand years then how and why could we call it God?


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