5:4 Stories of De-Conversion

Pursuing the universe

Javier - Portland, Oregon

I never thought about religion too much before the age of 16. It was when I attempted suicide by taking over 40 pills of hydrocodone due to a faulty childhood that I began to engage in the idea of a personal god. After blacking out I threw it all up sparing my insides from an overdose. I then was confronted later that week by a christian friend and so he urged me to attend youth group. I did. I actually liked it very much and it presented much promise of hope.

I was becoming involved in the church mainly by the youth group. It was a weird place to be sometimes because I was surrounded by a bunch of kids who were raised in the church and have always “just” been christians. I came to it in such a dark way that I couldn’t possibly find someone would relate. Someone who would sort of share my story. No such luck.

At age 18 I even attended a bible school in Los Angeles called the “bible institute of los angeles” (BIOLA) for about a year. I was hoping for some transformation instead I got a pile of debt that I’m still paying off to this day. The school consisted mostly of pastor kids, missionary kids (who always seemed to wear the weirdest clothes and stench not ever smelt before), and the ones who were forced by their strict christians parents to attend. I just couldn’t find my place in christianity.

I believe my disease was that I was too honest. During prayer group meetings I became “too” eager to be true to myself. I would mutter things during prayers like, “I don’t love you at all God, if I did, I would obey your commands”. Stuff like that. I raised some eye brows here and there. My honesty would soon be the end of me. It wasn’t until I started to investigate the church of latter day saints (mormonism) that got me to skeptically scrutinize christianity there after. Boy, it amazes me how ignorant one can keep themselves as long as you surround yourself with like minded people!

Jesus became a distant figure to me and seldom gave me anything emotionally tangible. I cannot tell you if I ever truly believed in him, but I can tell you that I took his love teachings to heart. I loved the attitude of loving whoever came into your path no matter what. I tried to put myself in Jesus’ shoes (or sandals for that matter), but the thing that christianity taught me was to have this disgusting propensity to believe I was scum and that I was evil. Should I even think otherwise was to have some forbidden pride. I was supposed to be a slave to God, but He loved me. Christianity just left me constantly feeling confused.

A manifested hunger for truth resulted in a personal abandonment of my beliefs. I have tritely drenched my past ideology in this format, but I feel it necessary to recall upon every once and a while. It is partly who I am today. I cannot deny my religious beliefs somewhat shaped my love for people. Although constantly scrutinizing my belief system served to conclude my current stance. Retrospectively, to openly express my true thoughts meant a disintegration of my carefully engineered christened self. And yet consolation followed not too far behind. I’d hate to admit my reluctance to face my morals as a safe guard from confusion, but now I am feeling more at peace. I am taking a flight from the arbitrary laws of Christian culture to escape my corrosive religious thought process. I am anti-believing in things without the proper evidence to support its existence.

An indulgent attitude toward Christianity only taught me to settle for nothing more than primitive understandings. This is no longer the case. I am studying everything I can get my hands on. From other religions (educational purposes) to specific fields in science (also educational purposes). I must constantly shape my understanding of the world as new information presents itself. That said, I believe more important truths can be found elsewhere. Given our recently acquired tiny knowledge of the universe it is crucial to withhold belief in a traditional monotheistic view of a supreme being(s). It is not absolute truth–at least not yet...

As long as there have been humans we have searched for our place in the universe. We can only advance our knowledge of the universe as it really is by courageously questioning any incredible claims and to detect purveyors of nonsense. I hope the near future holds a more exquisite explanation of life and this is only possible if we stop hanging around the failed attempt by our ancestral scribes. Whether they were purposely fabricating history or honestly seeking their place in the cosmos. All we can say is that their answer is wrong. Who could blame them? They did the best they could. I think understanding science intellectually isn't the only way, but can parallel emotional gain from nature as we know it. Not for a moment am I suggesting that science is the sole vehicle to enrich our lives, but the main tool in understanding our universe.

The methodology of science states clearly that we are not permitted these absolute truths that most religions think they have. In fact, none of us know the answers to these questions no matter how convincing a spiritual experience may be. Many civilizations have advanced since the embracement of science. This is undeniably the case. We cannot hope for absolute truths unless we crave poignancy. We cannot hope that the universe was solely intended for us. There are literally hundreds of billions of galaxies with as many stars inside. The religious formula suggests a need for centrality. This idea of centrality is, I think, the most laughable form of arrogance. That in mind, Christianity does not deserve a harsh judgment, but the highest standard of evidence for outlandish claims. The problem lies where claims cannot be falsifiable.

I want to be content in the unknown and refrain from filling voids with empty religious nonsense no matter how comforting they may seem. Reality is better. I don’t want to believe I just want to know. And yet science teaches us to be content in the unknown. Our knowledge of the universe is very superficial and very new. We are all extremely ignorant of what is yet to be discovered. To ask if the universe was created are still valid and open to discussion, but an answer is no where in sight. We can do science with a phenomenally successful error-correcting method that is winnowing out ancient beliefs. We must always test our perception of reality never letting our defenses down. It is better to understand reality as it really is than to distort it with superstition. Again, in the absence of evidence we have to withhold judgment. It is crucial to ourselves to never assume anything that may or may not be true.

We are alive and conscious in the cosmic era. We have the ability to understand and care for each other. We have this method of understanding through careful scientific observations that strives at creating a better world for humanity to reside. There is an obligation to endure this world to continue our journey on Earth. So consider not wasting your paychecks on a ticket to the afterlife because such a place probably doesn’t exist. This is only possible if we are to rid ourselves of harmful superstitions, which if held to will only hinder the continuity of pursuing the universe as it really is.