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I’m Taking A Break From God

I’m Taking A Break From God

I’ve been writing this article in my head for a long time now, and I feel that it’s time to put it onto paper and put it out into the world. Ever since Bridey’s piece on atheism, I’ve been thinking about how exactly I would phrase where I’m at on the God spectrum. But when I dug down really deep, I realized that I was most afraid of what my conservative friends and family, who read my posts, would do when they read this particularly incriminating piece. Would I be shunned? Would I be referred to as one of the proverbial lost sheep that is doomed to be eaten by the (hopefully also proverbial) wolves? Would I be sent evangelical tracts and other reading materials in the mail? But then I realized that I don’t care, because I am actively trying not to live in fear of what others will think about meso that took care of that dilemma.

I haven’t been to church in more than two years now, which compared to the previous two decades of church-going, is quite the achievement. My family usually attended some sort of service or program at least twice a week at a Baptist church, and sometimes more depending on holidays. I went to church camp, I performed in church musicals, I attended and volunteered at VBS (where the kids drove me crazy), I went on church retreats, I did the prayer around the flagpole thing, I witnessed, I committed my life to Jesus several times (just to make sure), was baptized in a pool, and so much more. I performed in Judgment House, which in retrospect is one of the most freaky-ass-shit productions EVERtalk about scare tactics. But you seeall of these aspects were completely normal for my family and my life, and so I never questioned it. Until the past year, or so.

In the past year, I’ve been figuring out how to live in a way that feels best for me physically, mentally, and spirituallywhich has not included religion, and has included liberalizing my beliefs and values. For better or for worse, this is where I am, and I’m at peace with that. This point might not be where I end up but it’s where I am right now. I was told my entire life that as long as I relied on God, I would eventually get through my depression, anxiety, and eating issues, and then go on to live a happy and Jesus-loving life. Much to my surprise, it has only been with my departure from religion that my mental and physical health have improved. Checkmate, religion.

I also have experienced, and witnessed, grotesque levels of hypocrisy from the institution of Christian religion. At the pinnacle of the Christian faith is the catch phrase: “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD).” But having my dad tell me that my eating disorder is punishment for sin in my life, and that holding grudges would cause cancer, hasn’t done much for strengthening my stock in religion. My mom has told my sister that if she had premarital sex, then God would destroy her relationships and make her miserable. Abortion clinic protesters are often from religious organizations, and they harass and make obscene poster boards trying to convince women walking in to not get an abortion because it’s supposedly murder. Anti-abortion films were shown during sermons at churches that I went to when I was younger, and they were traumatizing to watch. The LGBTQ population is shunned from the main Christian core, because it’s supposedly an abomination for anyone other than one man and one woman to have romantic relations. I was told explicitly and implicitly, when I was growing up, that I needed to be careful if I had friends that weren’t Christians because they could be a corruptive influence. Are all of these things that the Jesus, who befriended tax collectors, prostitutes, and thieves, would do? I don’t believe so, and thus the hypocrisy and rank corruption turned me away after seeing the same acts committed under the name of a benevolent God.

I don’t know what purpose horrific natural disasters, that kill hundreds and thousands of people, have for the Man Upstairs. Perhaps even worse, the rank cruelty that humanity wreaks upon itself, and other creatures, does not increase my faith one bit. If humanity is God’s prized creation then why does he allow such life to be so hellish? If Christians are taught to love everybody, then why are they being so damn cruel to the people that don’t agree with them? It doesn’t add up. Checkmate, God.

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I’m currently dating a lovely atheist man, and I’m sure my Christian friends and family would be frankly appalled if they knew that I was blissfully walking down that path. They would blame my skepticism of the Christian faith on my relationship with him, because heaven forbid I come to this conclusion on my own. The cries of “ye shall not be unequally yoked” would come through the email and phone lines. But what’s important for them to know, is that I was already at this place before I started dating him. This sort of belief shift didn’t happen overnight, and it’s been a long time coming.

I’m sick and tired of the double-edged miserly sword of Christianity. I’m pro-choice, an LGBTQ ally, and I believe that sex workers should be treated fairly. I don’t believe that I’m going to hell and will be punished if I have premarital sex, and I don’t believe that my mental illness is a result of unresolved sin in my life. I’m in a serious relationship with an atheist man, and I can’t be happier, and I don’t believe I’m going to hell for making that decision. I am my own, unique, person and I’m creating my own beliefs apart from the, figurative, brainwashing I grew up with. Overall I’m more content now than I’ve ever been before, and I might be on my way to atheism. So, for the time being, I’ve decided I’m taking an indefinite break from God.

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Kelsey

Kelsey is 6' tall, 25 years old, and a Registered Dietitian in Baltimore, MD. She drives too fast, listens to music far too loudly, wears very bright lipstick, and snags any opportunity to wear her cowboy boots. Kelsey is a perpetually almost-broke #beautynerd, bookworm, and owner of far too much nail polish. She loves deeply, lives enthusiastically, occasionally drinks too much, and is one of the most loyal people you'll ever meet.
Oh, and how could she forget? She has three cats which she loves to bits and pieces.
Kelsey
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View Comments (11)
  • I think it’s sad that you’re giving up on God based on the propaganda your parents shoved down your throat. Just because your father stated that an eating disorder is punishment for sin certainly doesn’t mean God agrees with him. Humans are imperfect and often totally misinterpret or misrepresent God (hence the hypocrisy evident in the church). Although I can see why you’d want to take a break from a blind faith in your childhood religion, I think writing off Christianity entirely is an extreme response.

    • My apologies for the belated response to this – I didn’t get a notification that people had commented :(
      Anywho, to be clear, I don’t base my current belief status solely on what humans do. I’ve read the bible, memorized my verses, and so I am fully aware of what it says. I often disagree with what it says. Granted, it doesn’t help that hypocrisy is ALL over the place in day-to-day life.
      Also, I never said that I was writing off Christianity entirely. I just said I’m taking a break from the whole God thing. Break versus turning my back on it entirely are two different things.
      Finally, this is a perspective piece. You may not agree with my perspective, but I ask that you respect it as I respect your’s.
      Thanks for the conversation :)

  • I get frustrated too with the ways of humanity and believing God is in control and lets these things happen. At the end of the day I remind myself that we all have freedom of choice and it’s not God making these terrible choices, but humans are making them. And I for one just want to be an example of a good person. I think humans are humans and no matter what weclaim to be, Christians, Police Officers, Popes, etc., we all fall short and there are corrupt people in all walks of life.

  • “…… the rank cruelty that humanity wreaks upon itself, and other creatures, does not increase my faith one bit.”
    But your pro killing babies?

  • I’m guest writing on a Christian blog and the topic being explored is what I call “the God break.” In my online research I came across you. My heart ached at your comments. There is nothing ‘Godly’ about what has been espoused or put upon you. Jesus is all about LOVE, a grossly overwhelming until you can’t handle it love. That said, I want to thank you for your honest perspective and for helping me stretch outside of myself to see varying perspectives like yours. And I’m unashamed to say I want to win you back. With nothing more than what I said at the beginning. Jesus was the first to put this radical concept into the world, to love first above all things. Let that be your guidepost no matter where your journey takes you.

  • I dont know how to answer the right way. I came here because i am struggling with my faith, but i know for sure i dont want to pack it in all together. I felt really sad at your article because all the hurt you’ve experienced to make you come away has been PEOPLE. And i felt a connection to you because i have an eating disorder too, and its taken me time to realise that God is NOT the one saying its my fault. People say hurtful things, try to understand that religion and relationship with God are two different things. Jesus himself never claimed following him would be easy (theres scriptures to back that up) he promised it would be costly, but that the reward of eternal life with him is Worth it all. Thats what we must keep our eyes on-eternity. So christians that say your life is going to be all smooth and happy when you know christ are in fairyland, because that isnt the promise. That cant happen in this imperfect world. So when things go wrong (e.g. Mentally ill) its an effect of being in this world not a sign your a bad christian’ or whatever they say. The promise IS though that Jesus is ALWAYS with us, sometimes that takes an odd shape or form where it can seem he isnt with us, but truly he is. We forget that God can see the future, where we only know what’s happening now, and hd brings things together for good.
    I just urge you to not let human behaviours put you off eternity with the Lord, because we get carried away and i beliEve he is up there watching it all like ‘guys what you doing i never said that!’ And trust me when i ssy that he LOVES you. More than anyond ever could xx

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