Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away
February 28, 2012 17 Comments
In the beginning, it was just too painful. I’d been hurt so badly. I was also dealing with a great deal of stress from the three-year long divorce of my parents, along with stress from big changes in my life: a move across town from where I’d grown up, shifting from homeschooling to public school, and it was time for me to figure out what I was going to do after high school.
I was depressed. I was lonely. I was isolated. And I was worn out from trying to be strong for everybody for so long.
I simply could not deal with church. I couldn’t handle trying to find another church–another huge change. And so, on Sunday mornings, I slept. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I took refuge in my bedroom, cuddling with books, or reaching out online.
I needed friends, family, and mentors who would be strong for me. I needed a support system that was nonjudgmental. I needed comfort. I needed love. I needed to feel safe. I needed someone to listen to me, someone to confide in, that wouldn’t run to the family court judge, my parents, or rat me out when college and military recruiters called.
In other words, I needed to be as far away from Christianity as I could get.
I found safe spaces. I found comfort and love. I found safety. And I promptly broke. Everything I’d held in came gushing out in a hot, ugly, blubbering, bleeding mess. Once it started, I couldn’t stop it–I had to suffer until the wounds had finished gushing.
I became very self-destructive. I did a lot of stupid shit while I was breaking down. My support system was a boy I met through Civil Air Patrol. First him, then his family. I spent a lot of time at their house. First hours. One day, I stayed so late my friend’s mother called my father and asked if I could stay the night. Soon I was spending my weekends at their home. Eventually, I stopped going home. This family homeschooled as well, and I took lessons with my friend. They took me in as their own.
I spoke of my problems primarily with my friend. The rest of his family just loved me. I felt so safe when I was there–so free. His parents didn’t prod–they waited until I was ready to talk to them.
They took me in without ever asking why.
They simply saw I dreaded going home, and let me stay.
I will forever be grateful to them.
I will forever love them as part of my family.
My friend had become fascinated with different religions. All things spiritual, he researched. I became fascinated, too. We spent hours at his computer reading. We huddled over countless books from the library. So began my spiritual journey.
All too soon, this happy period of my life came to an end. The family was moving across the country. I dreaded it. When my father found out, he called me home, afraid they would take me with them. They weren’t going to, despite it being my heart’s desire at the time. But still. They didn’t want my father to press charges, so they took me home.
Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?
Not so much the overtly hateful ones–they were easy to spot, and I avoided their toxicity like the plague. I avoided a lot of Christians.
No, it was the Christians who claimed to be different. The ones who claimed to love as Jesus did. The ones who were so quick to condemn their overtly hateful, judgmental brethren.
At first, they’d befriend me. They’d love me. They’d support me. They’d listen. They made me feel safe.
But there was always the inevitable betrayal.
Sometimes it would be by trying to draw me back into the church.
Sometimes it would be by pulling the “unequally yoked” card.
It was all conditional. If you can’t love me as I am, how can you love who you want me to be?
I have to say, the “unequally yoked” card broke my heart.
You broke my heart.
You stabbed a knife right into my heart, and ripped out a piece of my very soul.
The Christians who claimed to be different were so much worse. They waited until I loved them to tell me they hated me. Worse, they pretended still that they loved me. For a while, anyway.
Before that night, I’d found a new spiritual path that fulfilled me and made me happy. Afterwards? Nothing, no spiritual path, no religion could ever do that again. That part of me is dead.
My incense rots. My beautiful crystals sit in a bag in a drawer, untouched. My books lay unopened. I haven’t meditated in six years. My pretty tarot decks lay next to the crystals in the drawer. I can’t touch them. It hurts too much to do so.
Every spiritual path that existed for me, and could possibly exist, has grown over, been blocked by trees, and eventually fallen into the ocean, never to be seen again.
That is why I can’t go back.