I was born to a "Christian" family who attended a non-denominational pentecostal church. Everyone spoke in tongues and prophesy from the elders was not uncommon. We had Wednesday and all day Sunday church services. Friday was Youth Group. Saturdays was mens prayer group and Tuesday's was women's prayer group. I think I began to question religion after my father had an affair with a woman, who eventually had a child. That was the seed which eventually led me to question everything. Until that point I accepted all the teachings my parents had taught without question. I can remember telling a family friend that I wanted to be like my father, who at the time was a radio host for the "Christian radio station" and an elder at the church. Eventually my father would go to jail for other crimes. I forgave my father for his infidelities like my mother. After all we are all human. There is no need to fight our nature.
After the affair was made public and the church striped him of all his positions...I could not accept their teachings as infallible, my parent's and the church's...but it would be years before I would finally accept that there can't possibly be a god. I remember trying to fit in, but it was probably in my early teens that I really began to distance myself from the church. I joined a little league baseball team and practice was held during some of the church services. Then I also got really involved in school and UIL activities. I often had other things going on instead of church. However at this point I did not buy into the church beliefs but I still believed that there had to be some sort of benevolent supreme being.
In the meantime, there was a teacher who I respect very much because he was atheist. I remember telling him once that although I had problems with my belief system and even though I felt like I was agnostic at the time...eventually I would come back and believe like my parent's did and had taught me. That teacher was atheist and we always had deep philosophical conversations. I attribute him with encouraging to continue searching and not being eventually afraid to say that there is no god.
When I was 17, I began working to help support my family because ever since my dad had been striped of his positions at the church work had been scarce and hard for him to find. He worked, it just wasn't enough to support the family. I definitely began to question with more fervor the teachings of the church and looked at other religions for possible answers to the questions that I had.
I then went to college. Far away from home and able to do as I pleased I searched even more but could not find reasonable answers to the questions I had. Either the answers were blatantly idiotic or they required that you give up logic and reason in order to accept them. Blind faith. I could not and cannot do this. Still I believed that there was someone out there who looked over us.
In the meantime I had begun dating my would be wife. She was a devout catholic and being that my upbringing was protestant we frequently discussed god and other issues which conflicted in the different denominations. She stopped going to Catholic church because to marry me, she would not be able to continue to attend church and be a good Catholic. For one, I wasn't Catholic and for two she was a divorcee. The church would never bless our marriage. We both loved each other and did not care what either our churches believed.
Approximately 2 years ago, I finally let go of the final remnants of my past beliefs. It was amazing. Up until that point I had held on to so much guilt because I felt like I was evil for not believing or having enough faith. When I finally let go. Everything seemed to fall in order. Things that made no sense and were chaotic aligned themselves. I felt like a weight had been lifted from me. Things that are so natural such as sex, women's roles in society, abortion, feelings, homosexuality did not bother me anymore they were not sins...only expressions of people towards each other.
I realized that "big brother" watching you wasn't good enough for me anymore. I could make my own future. I could be a moral and ethical person with out religion or fear of punishment. I was good of my own volition.
I went to war. I returned knowing that there was no way that god could exist and allow so much violence pain and suffering.
I have come along way. This is who I am now. I can never go back. I will never go back. I am looking for other like minded individuals who are not afraid to say that they do not believe in the supernatural...I have found a few...but I am always looking...