Here is another account in my series of real-life deconversion stories. They are often painful, psychological affairs, as you can see from the various accounts. Steve Dustcircle kindly allowed me to crosspost this piece. It is an excerpted chapter from Leaving Worship: From Worship Leader to Atheist Activist.
Please check out my book of deconversion accounts, edited with Tristan Vick, which can be bought from here, or by clicking on the book cover. The previous accounts can be found here:
BREAKING UP WITH JESUS
Growing up as a Christian in various worship forms and levels of dedication, leaving all that I know behind wasn’t easy. It was not unlike going through a breakup, or even perhaps more similarly to experiencing the death of a loved one.
All my life I have been taught about God, Jesus, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Holy Ghost, and the stories of the Apostles, Disciples, Prophets, and the Kings. No matter how the stories were told to me even as a child, I had a decent grasp of the Bible. Its textual understanding and personal application were a different matter, but as the mind develops and grows, there’s only so much one can comprehend on such a thick subject matter.
One cannot disagree that the stories usually had a morale—Jonah and the big fish, Jesus and the cross, David and the giant, Daniel and the lions, and the feeding of the multitudes. Each was selected for a reason, and could be applied by a Sunday school teacher to our young lives. This can also be true for other stories we all know and tell outside from the Bible.
Reference, application, and understanding—this is how we work. When we read something that we can identify with, or find something we dislike, this is consciousness.
Consciousness is the awareness of our existing. And to exist is to live. And to live a good life, we assume that we are all good … individually. We might be suspicious of others, but not one person feels that they are a horrible gift to humankind.
When Jesus rebukes the religious people, no child, teen or adult wants to identify with the ones being rebuked. We want to be the one who hears, “Good and faithful servant,” as we get a pat on the head.
Rejection is horrifying, and no one wants to be rejected, especially if his or her intentions were good. To the religious leaders that Jesus often rejected, they thought they were doing the right thing—obeying the Law of Moses. Nothing wrong with trying to obey one’s God, if it is sincere.
Besides, the religious were probably confused with Jesus. In one breath, he condemns the Law and tells the legalistic people off. And then in the next, he says that not one punctuation mark will disappear from the Law.
While I did not see this discrepancy with quotes until much later on in my religious walk, there were things like this in the Bible that stood out ever since I was a child. Though I tried to ignore these contradictions, their frequency brought me to where I just couldn’t.