Gen X Humanist
I grew up in the Assemblies of God denomination and, in my twenties, became a licensed minister with the Church of the Nazarene for nearly a decade. I received undergraduate and graduate Religion degrees from Nazarene colleges. After graduate school, I worked on the mission field in Africa assisting with church planting among remote tribes and with work focused on conversion of Muslims to Christianity. But the hypocrisy, dishonesty, naiveté, and general lack of compassion of many missionaries caused me to begin doubting the point of missionary work. After three years of work overseas, I decided to return stateside and I knew I wouldn’t be continuing in the ministry.
Upon returning to America, I kept my faith, but grew increasingly liberal in my theological beliefs. I then followed a typical path from belief to non-belief. Slowly my theology was chipped away. With less place to hide my unsustainable belief system, I continued to ask and seek answers. When the dust settled, I didn’t have any faith left. Instead, I had gained sound reasoning, respect for science, and had lost all belief in the supernatural.
Today, it strikes me as ironic that Christians profess the freedom found in Christ. I now know the only true freedom I have felt in my life was when I let go of belief in a god. My ‘de-conversion’ experience occurred in the summer of 2011. As I was driving home from work, I felt an old tug in my heart to spend my commuting time in prayer. At that moment, I said to myself, “Wait…there is no one to pray to! one is up in the sky listening! I don’t have to pray anymore just to make me feel like I’m a good person. I’m free!”
Discovering that you are the master of your own future and not slave to an unseen deity is the ultimate freedom! I hope all of you have had similar experiences of liberation. Together we can stand up against dangerous superstitions and regressive traditions. Let us be beacons on a hill as witnesses for the truth of reason and scientific reality.