Pagan Blog Project week 5: Christianity (And why I’m no longer a part of it)

Probably one of the earliest memories I have is in a church. My entire life I was dragged, kicking and screaming, from bed each Sunday morning to be dressed up, have my hair pulled and tugged, and carted off to the Sunday morning sermon. I hated every second of it.

Nonetheless, at age 6, I more or less officially became ‘born again’. I grew up in a rather well-established Southern Baptist church, mostly populated by upper middle class white people and their kids. My mother had grown up pentecostal, and my father’s family was on their boat more often than in a pew on Sundays. Still, it was only natural that I become saved.

I was an intelligent kid, and I understood the adult’s service’s messages pretty clearly–get saved, or go to hell. I understood the concept of eternal damnation well even then, so I wasted no time.

Fast forward about nine years. The pastor that had been at our church for longer than I’d been alive was retiring and moving away. We had an interim pastor until the pastor search committee, whom my mom was a part of, sifted through applications of hopefuls.

They decided on a man, and the church voted overwhelmingly for him. There was a group of discontented members who wanted a long-time assistant pastor to take the old pastor’s place, but ultimately they turned him down in favor of this young man from Texas.

Long story short, the man wasn’t as clandestine as he appeared, and the interim pastor was back. The search committee was blamed and antagonized for the oversight. The treatment was so hard on my mother we ended up leaving the church and attending a new one. Shortly thereafter, my mother divorced my father because of the years of verbal and emotional abuse she’d suffered.

It was about then that I began searching for God in earnest. I felt at home in the new church’s youth group, and wanted desperately to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus. I prayed every single night.

Jesus never returned my calls.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some truly spiritual experiences while attending camps and the like. But I found that I had changing attitudes on things like gender and sexuality, and I had begun to doubt the absoluteness of the bible. There were things that simply weren’t able to be integrated into faith that were scientifically proven to be true.

I stopped believing about a year ago. Of course, I still went to church, I still called myself a Christian, but I would find myself playing the devil’s advocate in religious debates more often than not, always thinking how dense people were for not having an open mind.

And then, finally, I just…stopped.

I realized that I wasn’t really a Christian anymore, and that I was leaning heavily to becoming a pagan. I was kept awake one night, reading, because there was a desperate fear, although I didn’t truly believe it, that I was going to be damned forever. My logical mind told me the bible was too contradicting, that hell was a matter of scaring people into faith. But such long-held beliefs, drilled into my head since I was a baby, made my anxiety shoot through the roof.

In the end, I suppose I’m all right. The path I follow is more real to me. It doesn’t make me hate myself. I saw the politics, the hypocrisy, the fear-mongering, the corruption, the intolerance of the church, and I walked away. And I believe I’m a happier person for it.


7 thoughts on “Pagan Blog Project week 5: Christianity (And why I’m no longer a part of it)

  1. I think, in many ways, Christianity has become its own enemy. In popular western Christianity, at least, we have become obsessed with places of privilege and have used them to become oppressive “in the name of God.” In pursuing righteousness, we have instead become a people who elevate ourselves to call out the unrighteousness of others and blind our eyes to our own. We cling to interpretations of Scripture that it was never intended to have, apply inerrancy and other interpretations which pit us against common sense, and ultimately unravel the faith.

    I don’t think it has to be that way. I don’t think faithful Christianity IS that way. But, unfortunately, I think popular Christianity very much IS that way.

      • Maybe. I certainly think that God is capable of encountering people within the context of any worldview, but I think that Christianity has the best understanding of God and, in its purest form, brings forth a freedom that is not found in any other religious context.

        I can’t speak to paganism in that, as I haven’t really studied it, but of the ten major world religions, I would argue that freedom is best found in the context of Christianity. But then… I’m a bit biased on that. 😉

      • I think that organized religion (the ten major religions of the world) is definitely good for certain people. There are sets of rules and such for those who practice it. The core difference is monotheism versus polytheism, which are two different worldviews entirely, so it’s hard to compare the two (although there is also the difference between hard polytheism and soft polytheism. The trinity could almost be considered the latter.)

        I would encourage you to study the different types of paganism. It’s good to research different religions, if only to expand one’s worldview, and to discover the similarities between us. Most people only think of Wicca, but there is also eclectic paganism and witchcraft, as well as Norse reconstructionism, Celtic reconstructionism, and Kemetic orthodox and orthopraxic reconstructionism.

        Thank you for being so open in your comments. I’ll admit I have a gut reaction when christians come into the pagan sphere, but I’m happy to see not all christians are intolerant as some.

      • I enjoy different perspectives. I’d be happy to learn more about what you believe and paganism plays a role in your life. I do think that Christianity is more about freedom than rules, Jesus seems to really emphasize that (as does Paul), but you’re right – people seem to need hard and fast rules as a safety net and have, in many ways, made Christianity a very legalistic form of moralism.

      • I still have ten months when I’m doing the pagan blog project every week, so reading my entries might help you out! in addition, there are quite a few other blogs that are doing this that give different perspectives. google ‘pagan blog project 2013’ and you should get the homepage for it–they have a list of bloggers that are participating.

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