Jesus led me to become an atheist.
Being raised in the Catholic Church, I attended years of CCD (what
they called Catechism before that and call something else now) but
never made it to confirmation. Like all teenagers, by High School I
believed I knew better than adults and told my mom I didn’t believe in
God or that Jesus was his son. This pissed off my mother, but then I
was only just getting started with finding things with which to piss
her off. I believed religion was a crutch and religious people were
nutcases. My teenage self would be horrified at some of my later
A year or so after High School, and much family drama, I found myself
without friends or family and in the Army. My solitude, my need, and a
book I found in the library called Drawing Down the Moon led me into
Wicca. It, and the Mists of Avalon, had me convinced that all the time
I’d been praying to the Virgin Mary the one who I really should be
worshiping was the Goddess.
You know how hard that is to admit? It’s like getting caught singing
into the hairbrush in front of the mirror.
Wicca was cool and I could see all kinds of parallels between the
rituals from the Catholic Church and the rituals practiced in spells.
I learned that Magik is really all about focusing your positive energy
to influence the world around you (not much different than the woo
peddled in “The Secret” or “What the Bleep”.) It made me feel
incredibly cool and gothic and special. And I totally missed the point
that I was estranged from my mother and was now replacing her with a
Then I fell in love with a Baptist who feared that I and my heathen
ways were going to Hell because I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my personal
Savior. First I went along with it because I wanted him and wanted him
to marry me, and then I got sucked into it completely. I helped in my
own brainwashing. I went to Bible study. I listened to Christian
radio. I was led to be “Born Again” and was baptized with a full
dunking in a Baptist Church because my Catholic baptism as a child
“didn’t count.” My Baptist in-laws were so happy. Wow, I finally had
parents who were proud of me.
When my marriage was failing, I bought the Praying Wife and stuck with
it. Eventually the day finally came, six years later, that I couldn’t
stick with it anymore.
Without him I didn’t go to Baptist Church anymore but, instead, I
started going to Catholic Church again because I missed the ritual and
non-Catholic Churches don’t feel like “real” churches. But the
Catholic Church was lacking in the “motivational speaking” I’d come to
depend on from the Baptist side. So I retained my brain washing and
listened to Christian Radio and read the Left Behind Series. Because
of that, I almost dumped my
boyfriend because, according to my Left Behind saturated mind, he was
damned and going to Hell.
This time when love won out over everything else it luckily turned out
to be the right decision.
My now husband, who has a phobia about shaking hands with strangers,
wouldn’t go to church with me because of this (or so he claims) and I
wanted to have a more “spiritual marriage.” Because I felt he wasn’t
enough of a believer, went looking for things that would convince him
to become one. This led to some very stimulating discussions that
didn’t have the effect either of us were looking for. I started to
think that if only I could get back to what the Catholic Church was
before it was corrupted by mankind I’d be on the right track. I
thought if I could just learn more I’d be able to reach certainty and
not feel like I was deluding myself.
And then one day, I was watching one of the many documentaries they
have on the History or Discovery Channel about the history of the
Bible or the Christians, and it mentioned very casually, as an aside,
that there was doubt as to whether Jesus ever existed.
What… wait a minute…WHAT? I thought that the existence of Jesus wasn’t
in doubt. That couldn’t be true. There had to at least have been a guy
that at one time was a leader and maybe later on his message was
distorted. There had to have been someone who was the Martin Luther
King of his day, right?
And much like described in the movie “The God Who Wasn’t There”, the
more I looked for a historical Jesus, the more, or rather less, I
found of him. This was the beginning of the domino chain that led to
Now I listen to podcasts and read blogs about Humanism, Science,
Atheism and Skepticism. I now ask myself questions like “What do I
believe and why do I believe it?” My husband and I enjoy trips
together to science lectures (where he doesn’t have to shake anyone’s
hand) and a visit to the planetarium will give me that goose bump
feeling of wonder that a good sermon used to.