Why did I stop believing in God? The shortest answer would be that I ran out of excuses for him. Pentecostal Christianity stresses that God is actively involved in the believers’ lives, answering their prayers, communicating with them, and changing events around them. As a teenager, I loved this idea. I was raised in traditional Catholicism, where God, while powerful, was very distant. I always thought that if there is a God, I wanted to have close contact
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.
My religious life began in a Southern Baptist Church in Erwin, TN, a small town of five-thousand or so. My family left this church and began attending a Presbyterian Church when I was twelve years old when my brother and I came home after church to inform my parents that all Catholics were bound for hell.
I became very involved in spiritual activity during the time of the “Jesus Movement.” From there I went to Asbury College in Wilmore, KY and acquired a degree in Religion and then went on to Asbury Theological Seminary. I decided not to follow the typical course into pastoral ministry and opted for a specialized curriculum in historical theology. My focus was on Eastern Orthodox history and theology.
I was a “craddle” Catholic. My mother was divorced and not allowed to go to Mass, but she sent all seven of her children to Mass on Sunday and to Catholic schools. I never understood that but I think going to Mass was the trade off for being allowed to attend Catholic schools which my mother thought were superior to the public schools. Sometime around 3rd grade I was apparently telling relatives that I was going to be a nun.This is what I did the summer I graduated from my Catholic, all-girls high school.
From all the way across the globe in Paraná, Brazil, I was born into a Presbyterian home. My father is a pastor and my mother also studied in a seminary. Since an early age, I’ve asked some tough questions about faith and the doctrines that I heard in the church, but since people gave me no answer that satisfied me, I ended up searching for answers on my own. I remember myself asking my mother about the origin of god when I was only six years old.
I grew up in a proud United Pentecostal Church family in the Bible Belt. Words and concepts like “holiness,” “shouting,” “anointing,” and “apostolic” were and are important in UPC circles. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, these terms stand for rigid codes of physical dress and behavior, highly physical expressions of worship, a belief that followers could be “in tune” with the Holy Ghost (speaking in tongues is required as “proof” of being
Raised in the Presbyterian Church near Seattle, WA, singing in choirs and being a youth group leader, it seemed natural for me to end up a pastor (especially since I was born on Christmas!). High school gave me wonderful mixed flavors of Jesus Juice (Baptist, Presby, Campus Crusade, Pentecostal) with endless Bible studies, prayer and praise. At (conservative Methodist) Seattle Pacific University I pursued Biblical studies but was most drawn to
I was known at the time as Brahmachari Scott. For 14 years, I was ordained a monk of Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order, a religious organization founded in the U.S. in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, the acclaimed Yogi who wrote Autobiography of a Yogi and was the first Indian-Swami to permanently make his home in the West. Mom raised me Roman Catholic. I attended weekly Catechism classes and masses. By age 16, I rejected church
I was born to a couple who hated each other’s religious beliefs. My father was obsessed with abuse, alcohol, and weird religions. He used to be obsessed with the devil and told me, as a little girl, that the devil comes into your bedroom at night. I still have a sleep phobia and cannot sleep with the lights off. I envy people who can curl up in bed and sleep. I am still looking around and trying to feel safe.
Drew serves as President of The Clergy Project.
In many ways, my story is as stereotypical American evangelical as it gets. Complete with altar calls, Bible camps, and purity rallies. Or at least it starts off that way.
I was raised in a small Baptist church in small-town Central Minnesota. Prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” when I was just three years old. Somehow spontaneously finding ourselves in the bathroom, I prayed that prayer with my mother, kneeling over the bathtub’s edge and repeating her words as my own, confessing my preschool-age sins while asking Jesus to come into my life and grant me the forgiveness I was told I had so desperately needed. From there it was a childhood of Sunday schools and AWANA programs, of youth groups and Bible studies.
My name is EJ Hill. I converted to Christianity on the 6th of November 1993, at the age of 16. Since my conversion I have worked as a short-term missionary with Operation Mobilization (OM), church-planter with Wayman Mitchell’s Christian Fellowship Churches, pastor, apologist, and continuity presenter for Radio 7 FM [now closed], managed to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology (BA.Th) at Miracle Bible C ollege (MBC),
My name is Brandon and I am an atheist. I am also a writer by hobby and love studying and reading Classical literature, English literature, and published a work of historical fiction in 2007 entitled “Catiline” based on the title characters uprising in republican Rome in 62 B.C.E. I’m 34 and married to a beautiful wife with two great kids, a boy and girl. I was raised in Michigan in a church affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church from the age of
I was born in 1942, the third of four children. As I grew up, I was loved by my parents, family, people in the Conservative Baptist church, and, I thought, by God. I had severe migraine headaches from childhood unable to play like other children, or do sports, because of physical collapse. The migraines continued weekly, or more, into late adulthood. My father, older sister and younger brother were sports stars in school. I read a lot, played as I could and was generally happy, but isolated.
Sometimes freethinkers are made by their acceptance of modern science; sometimes it’s some onerous doctrine that has always offended but finally couldn’t be suppressed anymore; sometimes the desire to learn leads to it, as when one reads widely across many different positions; sometimes one is hurt badly by the “orthodox”, and is “snapped out of” orthodoxy, so to speak.My Journey is more of the latter, with the former proceeding from it.
When I was 18, I was drawn to a strict Christian sect known as Independent Fundamental Baptists. They convinced me that they were the only true church and I became a born-again, washed-in-blood Christian. I left Gallaudet University, the nation’s premier school for deaf students, to enroll at Capital Baptist Deaf College, where I graduated with an unaccredited bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies.
As a former United Methodist minister and lifelong spiritual seeker. I am 73 years young, happily married for 30 years and am still “in recovery” from my long-ago days of theism and church dogma. That period of my life included divorce, family break-up and a long series of broken relationships and dead-end jobs. It has been an inspiring thrill to join this merry band (TCP) and other refugees from religion. I was ordained (Elder) in 1967 and served three
As a psychologist, I continued to try to help people find meaning in their lives. I taught at the university and medical school, had a private clinical practice, and then became a professional speaker on “Psychology You Can USE!” I seriously doubt that life has any ultimate meaning, but I’m convinced that we can make our own meaning, and I have spent the last 45 years since I left the ministry trying to help people do just that. Success is not the goal
I am a senior (age 74 at this writing) and only recently admitted to myself that I am an atheist. I was brought up in a conservative (aka fundamentalist) Presbyterian church but went to a “liberal” Presbyterian college (The College of Wooster) where I was introduced to a more scholarly approach to scriptures. From there I earned a Masters in Religious Education at Union Theological Seminary.
The son of recent German immigrants, I was born in Western Canada in 1956. My mother grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home where guilt and shame were generously dispensed by her mother and later also by her grandfather. My father was a skeptic and nominal Lutheran who found it hard to stomach Christian hypocrisy and thus
I’m a former Mennonite minister who served in two congregations in Kansas for a total of 30 years before resigning and entering the business world as a human resource manager. I distinctly remember reading through the Bible in 6 months when I was eight years old. I was surprised by God’s anger and destructiveness. Still I believed.
It was November 1965 when, while still in my twenties, I walked out of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a disfellowshipped person.Because I had come to disagree – quite strongly, in fact – with many of the teachings of the Watch Tower Society, I was summoned before a judicial committee to give an explanation for myself. They probed and questioned, and questioned me again. Surely this was all just to cover up some other wrong-doing,
My life was the church. I grew up in the church. I went on numerous mission trips. I got a college degree designed to prepare me for church ministry. I worked as a youth pastor for several years. I got my masters degree in seminary. Finally, I found a great job as the senior pastor in a fantastic, growing evangelical church. It was a wonderful place to work and I loved my job for over half a decade.
In Southern Baptist circles, they say “once saved, always saved” as if there’s no going back. They say something similar about alcoholics so I can’t help but picture myself seated in a circle in the middle of a gymnasium, waiting for my turn to stand up and say, “Hi. My name is Ches and I’m a Jesuholic.” Anyway, I’m from Houston, married with three children, and I work as a computer tech at a middle school. I have a background in art and I’m also an
John serves on TCP’s Screening Committee. Where to start??? I grew up in the home of a Southern Baptist minister in North Carolina. I started Wake Forest College (WF) in 1960 and graduated in 1967. I would say that is because I am a slow learner but the truth is I dropped out of college in the fall of my sophomore year and spent the next 3 years in the US Army (doesn’t mean that I’m NOT a slow learner!). I Was
My single-parent mother was not excessively religious, but she sometimes told me Bible stories with the assumption that they were true. She also sent me to a fundamentalist Sunday School because it was the nearest church. She attended church for a while but then stopped going. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was turned off because the congregation leaders canned the pastor in a very dirty way—gave him a pair of airline tickets to visit
I went from agnostic to believer to atheist. After my first 2 years of college and marriage I became a “born again” Christian in the Church of Christ. Eventually I became an elder in the church, & after 5 years in retail management after college, I earned an M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary, and served 5 churches as a pastor. One of those churches included a street ministry in Venice CA in the 70’s.
I am one of the lucky ones and am able to be honest about my beliefs in the congregation I serve, a congregation of The United Church of Canada. I have served West Hill, www.westhill.net, for fifteen years. About three years into my ministry there, I was awakened to the reality that many of my congregants had not assimilated the progressive “metaphorical” understandings of Christianity that I had been exposed to throughout my