Sunday, October 21, 2007

Losing my religion...

OK. So here's whats happening. The first 6 years of my life, I really had no concept of religion. I went to a Head Start program at a Nazarene church, but the whole religious thing wasn't really pushed. At least not that I can recall. My parents were definitely NOT religious. They drank, smoked, gambled... and fought. Alot. In fact, I recall one day, I couldn't have been more than 3, I sat at my little table in the living room and listened to my parents fighting. They emerged from their bedroom with my Mom in front, and my Dad behind her with a knife to her throat.
Then my family (just the three of us.. no siblings) moved from Illinois to Tennessee. My Dad's family lives down here and they started on him about getting back into church. After almost killing himself driving home drunk over the windy mountain road, he decided he needed to get some help. So Dad went back to church... and we went with him.
I was about 8 at the time. Had some concept of the whole God/Jesus thing, but didn't think much about it. Wow. I became the pet-project of those people! "Oh my Lord, This poor girl needs to be saved!"
A year later, in a little church no bigger than most people's garages that only operated twice a year for this "revival." I walked up to the altar after a sermon and was practically thrown to the ground and surrounded by praying people. I kept waiting... I was told if I asked, if I believed, I would be saved and I'd KNOW when it happened. Did I? No. But now I had a problem. I had 20 or so people all trying desperately to get me "saved". I had people with their hands on me, people crying, the flood of voices was overwhelming. So yeah, I faked it. I stood up all teary-eyed looking and smiled. I suppose some were expecting me to start screaming and shouting. I couldn't. So I acted happy. I was confused as hell. But as long as they thought I was happy all was well.
They moved on to another pet project and my life went back to normal. Sort of. I was "saved" now... I was supposed to set an example and be the model for other saved people. No longer could I get into trouble and say "I'm sorry" and be left alone about it. Nooo... because now, all of a sudden, I was sinning! And I would go to HELL if I didn't fall to my knees and ask for forgiveness.
I spent the next 24 years of my life believing that every time I did something the church folk would consider "wrong" I was going to Hell. When one day, after talking to some friends at a new job... I started having doubts. Questions started flooding into my head. Suddenly all the things I thought I knew, that I'd simply believed because I was told it was right... none of that made sense anymore. There were discrepancies and loopholes. I left cheap... used... and pretty darn stupid. My family always told me I was smart. Was I really that smart if I was just following along with all the religion stuff because someone showed me a book and said believe it? Or was that their idea of smart... because I wasn't questioning everything they figured I'd found some way to believe it by working it all out in my head?
I wasn't smart. I was naive and stupid. I believed simply because I was TOLD to! Now before anybody goes jumping my case and telling me I'm going to burn in Hell. Hear me out. I'm not saying your believes are wrong. I'm not saying you are stupid for believing. If you took the time to research and learn about it... BEFORE making a decision. GREAT! I hope it works out for you. BUT if you were like me, and never had the chance to learn about other religions. Have no idea what other belief systems exist, and simply believe something because you were told it was right and everything else is wrong... then yeah, you're just like me. Pure common sense will not let me go back to believing the way I did before until I have the chance to learn about other religions. How can I make a good, informed decision when I'm not allowed to see what other options are there. How can I know what I'm up against if I'm kept behind a wall my entire life.
I met some really great people at work. They are nice, funny and really enjoy their lives. Something I haven't been able to do in quite some time. I'm glad I got to know them and I feel my life is a little better because of that. Here's the kicker. If I stuck to my old ways, the beliefs that were pounded into my head so many years ago... I would have never gotten to know these fun people. NEVER! I don't like the idea of ANYBODY telling me who can and can't be my friends. But because these folks are goth, pagan, non-christians, back-sliders, etc... I am supposed to stay away from them. Don't talk to them unless you are testifying to them.. blah, blah, blah. FORGET IT!
...And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As I delve more into my search for a new life... I'm finding alot of things in the Christian faith that just don't add up. I may write about those later. I may not.. we'll see. Until then, I'm going to do alot of research and talk to some people. I want my next religion (if I choose one at all) to be based on MY beliefs. MY personal feelings about what is and is not will make this decision... not someone else's. The only right decision is the informed one.

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