This as a recent and interesting facebook post from the lead singer of a christian metalcore band, The Order of Elijah. Makes for interesting reading (Friendly Atheist has some interesting commentary):
WARNING: This is a novel.
Well I’m not sure where to start. I was baptized at 20 and quickly decided I was called to be a pastor. I spent a decade+ on up’s and downs with life, visited some churches, did a lot of drugs/sex and played guitar in some metal bands. Later I joined a church I liked called Ignite here in Joplin and fell in love with it. It was small then and it grew quickly. The pastor and I became friends, encouraged my marriage, married us, etc etc.
A few year later I played guitar for the worship team on Sundays and was a leader in the teenage youth group. For the first time ever I felt I was doing what god had called me to do. I’m not going to continue with how all that came to an end because the story gets longer. The story short is it all fell apart. I’m just pledging this flag to let you know how passionate I was about Christ and having a ministry. This was the time when TOOE was taking root and forming. Many people have completely discredited that passion, not only recently but through the years.
The divorce began about 1 year after our daughter was born. I can easily say it was the roughest season of life I’ve ever had. After 5 years of being sober I found myself drowning in alcohol every night again. I decided to return to church in search of inner solace again. I was welcomed with open arms. Some things had changed but I was feeling at home at Ignite again.
One Sunday morning there was a sermon that spoke about Elisha and the bears. After a large group of children make fun of Elisha for being bald he curses them in the name of god (which I thought was a commandment not to do). God sends out two female bears to rip the kids apart limb from limb. Now this story disturbed me. I thought “I’ve read the whole bible, how did I overlook this?” So I began asking some questions and found each person had a different apologetic answer for this story. Some said “You don’t understand, calling someone bald back then was horrible.” or “You need to realize these children were heretics and needed to die so their seed didn’t spread.”
This enticed me to see how many other things I had overlooked. I found stories of an old war general sacrificing his virgin daughter in payment for a war victory, guidelines on how to beat your slaves, and an ocean of relentlessly cruel stories. This didn’t break me though. I still claimed Jesus, I said to myself “Jesus must have realized everyone was insane and there to set it straight.” Which many people were quick to inform me that was blasphemous because Jesus condones and quotes the old testament quite frequently. I still stuck to my guns but received a lot of flak by my spiritual peers for not understanding why the OT god was so racist, ethnic cleansing, jealous as an insecure girlfriend, cruel and power hungry.
So this led to research about the history of the bible. I never knew that the earliest gospel wasn’t written until half a century after Christ supposedly died, or that Paul never read any gospels, or that there isn’t even any evidence from that time that Jesus existed. Now that doesn’t mean he never did, I mean we don’t have writings from Socrates but still know he existed. Although the eye witness accounts were long gone by the time the gospels were written, not to mention many of the miracles are similar to other gods from before his time. I look at how people of Christian faith today intermingle their beliefs with “Karma”, which is a Hindu belief, and can’t help to wonder how many beliefs were intermingled in the iron age. I picked up a book called The God Delusion which talks about how all of this chaotic puzzle adds up, it answered so many questions that my Christian friends would literally get furious for me to even address.
Sometimes I would lose Christian friends by simple pondering certain questions. I would see these same Christians publicly calling my other friends “abominations” for being gay. The pastors making millions with feel-good sermons and theatrics, the abortion clinics being bombed, children dying because their parents insist on using faith healing, the barbarism of middle eastern Islam, the list goes on…. all of this cruelty justified by each particular sect in the name of their god’s love. Who’s god? Religion’s bad attributes began outweighing it’s good.
It seemed to me that if god was trying to speak through us he was going about a very peculiar and inconsistent way. Each section of the world was born into a religion that directly contradicts other religions, often in a “hell fire” sort of way. This is not the way TRUTH behaves. In India 2+2 is 4. In Afghanistan 2+2 is 4. And in America 2+2 is 4. If god’s message to us was so vitally important why would he give it to us in vague, ancient scriptures filled with contradictions? Why allow his message to be spread by fallible humans and sit by while idly while falsehoods are spread in his name? Why sentence 2/3’s of the world to hell for being born in the wrong culture? I’d think a perfect god would never need to correct his word if our literal souls depended on it.
After one of the most difficult decisions in my adult years, I had no choice but to accept that I had shed my faith like a cocoon. It was scary yet liberating, it confusing yet simple, I felt at peace yet completely shaken, I pretty much had to reprogram my way of thinking about the world. Not only that, I felt I had lived a lie for half my life. I read books, tried meditating, hell sometimes I’d even try to talk to god.
After a few months I read about the science of addiction and life trauma. I stopped trying to pray my alcoholism away and began combating it with real methods. I began confronting my problems head on rather than “giving them to god”. I became very interested in researching science and the culture of other religions daily. I eventually completely gave up alcohol, got my health back, and enrolled in college. I’m proud to say I have a 3.75 GPA.
So here we are today. Look, I love you guys and I’m sorry I’m not a Christian anymore. This is honestly me completely coming out of the faith closet, I tried to avoid throwing all my mental baggage into the road but you guys very important to me and the rest of the TOOE crew. I’m not looking to debate anyone in the comments or anything. I understand that apostasy is highly shunned upon, you guys just deserve to know the whole truth. Special thanks to Will Strotz for reaching out to me instead of getting angry.
Don’t hesitate to message me if you have questions or even come speak in person on our tour.