First off let me start off by stating exactly why I started this blog and what this blog is really about. I started this blog with the intention of it being a place where I could share my views and experiences about Christianity. I consider myself upon hindsight reflection that I was indeed one of the most extreme fundamentalist out there. I was a charismatic evangelist in a charismatic church; namely, Pentecostalism. I was a member of a Hispanic church which I believe was even more extreme than its American counterpart.
I held a literalistic interpretation of the bible and believed that it was in fact the inerrant word of God. During that time in my life if I encountered someone who refuted this, then I would let them know that there was nothing wrong with the bible, it was in fact their interpretation of what they read that was wrong. Basing myself on John 14:26 I believed that no one could even begin to understand the bible unless they were spiritually enlightened by the Holy Spirit. I believed that if I did find something that I thought "seemed" contradictory then it was because God at that moment decided not to reveal its true meaning to me. So I did what any other true fanatic would do...I prayed.
Prayer was a very important part of my life and it was crucial to my spiritual growth. I remember several occasions where I would be a part of an overnight retreat in church and I would literally pray all night long for up to eight hours straight! Prayer to me meant talking with the Lord and so I did this during most of my waking hours of the day. I walked down the street "talking" to God in my head and thanking him for how nice the day was or how well last nights service went etc. If I had enough time before an invitation to preach at another church I would go on three day fasts where I did nothing but drink water, immerse myself in the scriptures, and pray.
I literally felt back then what I believed to be God's presence all around me all the time. I would get goose bumps and feel all sorts of electrical sensations coursing through my body. I swear to this day that I heard God reply in my own voice in my head or as a low whisper in my ear. I had dreams that sometimes would last several nights at a time. I was the possessor of all of the gifts of the Spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve.
In those days I believed I saw the confirmation of these gifts in my ministry when I would lay hands on someone in prayer and watch them pass out at the slightest touch, sometimes I just pointed at them from a distance and they fell! People would later tell me how they were healed of this or that malady to which I had been unaware of or how their private prayer requests had been answered.
Why am I telling you all these things? Because my recovery from this type of religious extremism was very hard for me. It took me six years to break free from the shackles of religion during a time when the resources of knowledge for people like me were scarce. To all those backsliders out there or believers who are in between doubting and believing just know that I am here. I have been in the deep end of the pool and almost drowned; but if I can make it out I know that you can too.
This blog was not started to debate theists about the existence or non-existence of their beliefs, not to yammer on about philosophy and impossible probabilities. I don't need convincing about those matters I "believe" to my own satisfaction that there is no God. That those beliefs are all man made and so I am not here to debate that with anyone. I am not here to fight about morality, sin, heaven, hell, etc.I am here to do my part by educating others through my experiences and the sharing of those experiences. I am here to help you get out if you so desire, not to try and convince you that God is not real. That is a decision that you must come to on your own.
One thing you can count on for certain is that every atheist or agnostic has his/her own story to tell. They like myself have all taken different paths and have come to similar conclusions in the end. Atheism was not a position that I came upon lightly and as I have stated it did not happen overnight for me either. I had to suffer through a lot of internal conflicts with my beliefs themselves and how I viewed the real world around me. My path to freedom was long and arduous but if I had to do it again I would. There is no greater feeling than to be able to think freely to express yourself without fear.
The book of John says: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 8:32 (NJB) I agree with this verse entirely but not in the context in which it is presented in the scriptures. The truth I am referring to is that you don't have to live in fear bound to ancient beliefs and superstitions. You don't have to fear offending an imaginary deity in thought, deed or actions. You can see life from the other side of the prison cell bars and enjoy it for what it is. Life is short for some of us and a little longer for others, my point is that you should live it to the fullest doing what you enjoy.
You don't need God to be a moral person; come to think of it God in the Old Testament demonstrated just how moral and just he is at least in the imaginary realm of the believers of the bible. This blog is for everyone who is tired of the mental oppression of religion and wants a way out. If you need to chat with me about something you think is too personal that I could help you with just let me know I would make arrangements to discuss those matters with you privately. Thanks for all those that support this blog and what I am doing and I hope that you keep coming back so I can keep writing. Who knows maybe there is something in all of this blogs posts that may be able to help you with some of your own personal struggles.