Zack Anderson, Converts, #(2013)

Jan 14, 2015

My conversion story is not a simple before-and-after.
I was born to and raised in a family highly active and involved with the baptist church. My dad was a youth minister, my mother and grandmother played music for their churches, I have uncles that are pastors and youth pastors, and everybody sang in the choir.
Obviously with this kind of context it was no surprise that wen I showed an interest in music it wasn’t long before I was singing and playing bass guitar at church too.
My senior year in high school I started questioning. I had a crush on a Buddhist girl, and talking to her about her faith, something I had never done with a non-Christian before, opened up my mind a little to think about new things.
I immediately proclaimed I was Buddhist to my parents, not because I really was, but because I was pretty much in love with that girl and I would have believed anything spoken by such beautiful lips.
My family freaked out and went into crisis mode, assigning me books to read like Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”. Because I hadn’t really thought it through and was simply following another leader I quickly went back to Christianity, pouring myself into my local community and being very gung-ho about everything.
I got a job at a Christian radio station. I started looking into Christian colleges and actually wrote sermons thinking I wanted to become a minister myself. If I was going to this I wasn’t going to be halfway about it. I adopted a passage from Revelation as my motto, saying essentially to do things all the way and not be mediocre.
I had based almost all of my renewed Christian life on working at that radio station, feelin that god had called me to do it and it was my form of ministry and my way to serve god.
It was during this period that I really stopped being able to deny the attraction I felt to other men. It was shameful and wrong according to my religion, but I couldn’t stop the feelings. I would watch gay porn in secret, and feel so ashamed.
When I got fired from the radio station due to petty office politics my world crumbled.
I became extremely depressed and even suicidal. I still believed in god, but I hated him and felt abandoned. I came to a conclusion that even if god is real he wasn’t there for me when I needed him, so he was effectively non-existent.
After giving up on god and declaring myself agnostic I dove into books. I was a young adult not in college and my mind was so eager for knowledge after being starved for years of it by my insecure don’t-question-it religion. I read all of Richard Dawkins’ books at least once, and I read and listened to the God Delusion at least half a dozen times.
I had friends who had also come out of religion, and we would have our Algonquin round tables over the matter. After finally acting on my same-sex attractions and admitting to myself and everyone else that I am bisexual, I really started to live my life the way I needed to.
I was angry for a long time, and over the past year or two I have let that go and actually enjoyed going to church now and then with my family just to be with them and make them happy, even though I don’t believe what the pastor is saying and my family knows it.
Last year I spent a month in jail for something stupid, and I weakly backslid into religion. It’s amazing what utter desperation and not thinking clearly can do. I spent the next six to nine months after my release really trying to believe again, or at least try to follow the principles and the Ten Commandments just to stay out of trouble. I have stayed out of trouble and cleaned my life up, but god has nothing to do with it.
So now I’m a church-going bisexual atheist with a happy family who actually does understand. They wish I would believe because they fear for my soul, but for the time being things are good.

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