I was drawn to this website while searching for answers. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church, perhaps one of the most boring and staid of the Protestant forms of Western World Christianity. I even contemplated going into the Ministry when I was in my mid-teens. But I had enough sense at the time to question what I really believed in. Did I really believe that God had created the Earth in six days? Did I really believe that Jesus Christ had been born of a virgin birth? Did I really believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God? Did I really believe that Jesus Christ died and was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven? Fortunately, even at that young age, I could not honestly say that I believed. I found that I resisted Faith. When presented with a choice – faith or logic – I chose logic.
Like most teenagers, I rebelled. I stop going to Church when I was in my late teens and when I left home to go to university, I vowed that I would never go back. But I did. Perhaps I was bowing to pressure from my family. I went back for special occasions — Christmas services while I was home on break — weddings of friends and family members. Eventually, my own wedding; and the baptizing of my son.
While I didn't physically resist these attempts to bring me back into the Church, mentally I fought with myself. Mentally, I resisted. I wasn't totally sure of why. I guess I never believed.
Later in life, while in my mid-40s, I was suddenly stricken with a physical ailment that brought me close to death. I was in the hospital for 61 days, and had numerous operations and medical procedures. However, I survived. But, as the result of my illness (pancreatitis), I am now a diabetic. I control this disease with insulin, diet and exercise. Yet, I try to live my life as normally as I can.
While in the hospital I was visited many times by the Presbyterian minister. He was a friend of my Mothers, and although he never proselytized during his visits (we often talked about politics and current affairs), when I returned home and started to get back to living a normal life, I decided to give the Church another chance.
My mother-in-law, who lived in another province, had tried to convince me that part of the reason I had survived my ordeal was the many prayers that were said on my behalf over the Baptist Prayer Line.
I even started to bring my son — who was now eight — to church with me. I wanted to expose him to the teachings of the church — to make up his own mind about religion – but I never forced him to come with me. It was a social outing for both of us. My wife never accompanied me to church. She had decided many years ago that she was no longer going to be a religious person. Of course, like me, she would go to church with her mother when we visited her during the summer.
When I returned to church, I was astonished at how foreign the Christian teachings had become for me. I soon realized why I had left the church many years ago. This was pure nonsense. How could any reasonable, logical person believe this stuff? I was in a real dilemma. What I thought was an expression of goodness, charity, love and more was really a monumental scam.
Confused and disillusioned, I left the church — returning reluctantly for family weddings and funerals. Even then, the messages that were delivered during these services that should have reflected the immense joy of a wedding or the deep sadness of a funeral were blunted and made meaningless for me because of the nonsense of the ceremonies.
I had decided to live out the rest of my life without religion. Although I found myself in times of solitude wondering just what it is all about.
Then one day I heard an interview on the radio with Sam Harris. A light went on in my brain. I went out an bought both of his books and devoured them. I searched for more, finding Richard Dawkins.
Life is cleared for me now. But I do have one agonizing fear that has come out of all of this.
That is where I am right now in my life. I have great concern for the future of this Earth. I am concerned for my son's sake. Not my own. I fear that the United States of America is destroying itself and this world we live in through internal bigotry, racism, hatred and environmental degradation. I fear for the jingoistic paranoia that seems to have gripped America.
I live in Canada but I have traveled to the United States many times and I have colleagues throughout the country. I trust and admire many of them. But I don't understand why they seem to be helpless in letting this happen to their country and our planet. I am perplexed when I watch American television news. We seem to be confronting a western world in denial. I cannot understand how these neoconservative, supposedly-Christian-based attitudes, including blatant lying and holier than thou behaviour, have managed to pervert the quest for truth, authenticity and fundamental values we used to uphold as immutable. Unfortunately, the American conservative, Christian media seems to be leading the parade.
Maybe we'll all be blown to smithereens. Perhaps, some would argue, that was God's plan all along.