Thursday, March 10, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 2.

What religion did you grow up with? Did you have positive or negative experiences with religion?

I guess the easiest way to explain my religious background is to say that I attended a wide array of protestant Christian churches. My family moved a lot, and it seems like each time we moved we'd adopt a new denomination. When I really small (too young to remember) we attended a Methodist church, then we moved to an Assembly of God church (when I was at peak "playing pretend under the pews during church" age), and then to a Southern Baptist, then to a nondenominational, then back to a Southern Baptist... where we finally settled. My first two years in college I attended a massive, Southern Baptist megachurch (and dabbled in Pentecostalism, because I had a crush on a holy roller... bad idea).

Oddly enough, most of my experiences with religion were positive ones. Once I got into high school I was very active in church (mostly because my mom made me). I sang during service every Sunday, kicked ass at Bible drill, traveled on youth group trips, went to camps, etc. Once I started college I stopped going to church because it just never held my interest. I believed in god but I wasn't a very religious person, and church was boring.

Then, the unthinkable happened. My boyfriend (whom I was totes in lub with, btw) finally became such a massively insufferable prick that I dumped him and I finally realized that... hey, it's my freshman year in college, I've been completely and utterly dependent on my boyfriend and now I'm all alone in a strange place and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I was in the middle of an existential crisis, and in a state of emotional trauma that left me wide open to get bitten by the Jesus bug. All it took was for one of my friends to invite me to church and I was hooked. I latched on to my Bible, and to Bible study, and to Wednesday night worship, and to all of the friends who were cheering that I'd finally started getting involved in church. I rededicated my life to Christ. Of course I was tortured over the fact that I wasn't a virgin and that I went through a "bicurious" phase in high school and that I love sex, which led to me repressing my sexuality so much that I turned into a prude ("I'm not going to even kiss until I get married!")... but at the time I sincerely thought that I was doing the right thing, and I was happy to do it because it was what God wanted me to do.

I got baptized in the Gulf of Mexico the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and went to Hong Kong for a mission trip during Christmas break of my sophomore year... then I decided I want to be a full-time missionary to East Asia once I graduate college... and then the doubt started seeping in. And a year and a handful of months later, here I am posting on my atheism-centric blog about how awesome it is to be an atheist. :] Aaaah freedom.

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