This is actually a post on my own blog, but I figured this group was a good place to talk about it also. When did you first get "saved" and what was it like? How do you feel now looking back on it?

I was three years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Kneeling beside my grandmother's bed, my cousin Jarrod's hand in mine, we bowed our heads and asked for salvation. Of course, I worried that it didn't stick. I "rededicated" myself to God at age 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19. I was 6 the first time I led someone to Christ, a little 4 year old girl who was attending the same "Fall Festival" party at a church that I was. I tried to convert gay friends in high school, by telling them that God loved them, even if his people were bigoted jerks. When I attended Vineyard Christian Fellowship, the pastor, his daughter, my mother and I used to go to a nude dance club to tell the women who worked there that they were beautiful daughters of God, and that they were always welcome to come by on Sundays. I really wanted God's love to be true. But the Christian definition of love includes condemnation and damnation. In defense of this harsh father figure, Christians will justify torture (hell), calling it correction; subjugation of women, calling it a parable for our relationship to God; and child abuse, calling it discipline.

That's not love. And that's why all those times I gave my heart to God, the loving feeling faded, and guilt and fear crept steadily in. Christian theology states that God is knocking on the door of our hearts, that Jesus is merely waiting for us to accept his gift of salvation and his love. But looking back on a lifetime of belief, I was the one who made all the overtures. I was the one who knocked, who asked, who gave. Like a bad date, time after time, God stood me up.

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Now I know how to edit my posts...thanks folks. I even tried throwing a brick straight up in the air and yelling "Jesus Save Me!" where are those bandaids?...laughter
Carrie, you know this sounds like they raped you? and in their own way, they did.
So sorry.
Hey Carrie. I went to a Baptist church with an ex-girlfriend (she wasn't an ex at the time) and was constantly badgered to be "saved". I never approached the altar, but watched people sob and cry on a weekly basis, getting "saved". It sucks to be pressured like that...but, that's what they do. They win souls for Jesus.
In my father's church that was the one variable he couldn't absolutely control, knowing for sure if your claim to salvation was legit. Each of my siblings was "saved" in chronological order. One Sunday, after a particularly passionate sermon by a visiting preacher, my sister Shirley came to the front of the church where my father sat and tearfully announced that she had been saved. That meant I should have been next. I really wanted to be next. I searched in my heart desperate for some sign. The emotions mounted to a feared pitch as my brother Jon (a year younger then me) began crying and declaring that he had been saved. There was no way I was going to confirm to my father that I was the devil he imagined by letting Jon be saved ahead of me.

Soo...I "found" Jesus that Sunday night. Like you Angie, I have answered dozens of calls throughout my life. I was determined that if I stuck with it, one day he would speak to me and this would all finally make sense.

Christians would say that I simply lacked adequate faith. I think part of the problem is growing up with the belief that it had nothing to do with my faith, it was all up to god. If he hasn't spoken to me, his choice is clear.

Or, I can just call it all what it is...nonsense.
It's amazing that within the Christian faith, some churches put the most emphasis on baptism, or confirmation, and others on this ephemeral, unverifiable "salvation" feeling. It seems to me being confirmed at least has a sense of completion, of certainty to it, that those of us in more charismatic churches lacked. Maybe that's why so many Catholics seem to stay lifelong?
In my recent (admittedly biased) poll on "How Weird Was Your Church?" 56.8% of former Christians indicated that other denominations were headed for hell. Seems like a remarkable failure rate of the salvation plan, doesn't it?
curious, Nathan. How old were you that night? Did your dad preach about the "age of accountability?"
As I recall Kitty, I was 12 or 13. While my father spoke out strongly against the Catholic practice of baptizing infants, several of my older siblings "received salvation" at a very early age...7 or 8. Remember, when you are approaching this subject from the assumption that god is the impetus, it's very easy to justify and accept the salvation of a young child by adding that divine element into the equation. God can act on a person's heart at any age. He just conveniently waits until they can communicate it to the world around them.
I had a religious experience when I was 18. I happened to be on some pretty powerful recreational drugs at the time, but the feeling was definitely similar to many of the stories of other “testimonials” I had heard about growing up in church. Since I had been raised by very religious parents, and my everyone in my family were also strong believers and active in their churches, I immediately associated my experience to that of the god they all claimed to know personally.

I became a very annoying Christian over the course of a couple years. I converted one of my close high school friends, and alienated some of my other friends who couldn't relate to my new way of life. One of the first things I did was commit to reading the bible from cover to cover, which I did over the course of a few weeks. Even as a believer, there were many parts that really bothered me from a purely logical way of thinking.

I'm a software engineer by profession, so working all day where logic is god and then entertaining very illogical religious beliefs... well eventually the bullshit detector can't keep being ignored.

The only explanation I can think of for why I had that experience, and why many others claim to as well, is that the brain must release some euphoric chemical when under a great deal of stress. I know at the time I was very depressed and some of the people who I met in the church afterwords who claimed to have the same experience had it at extremely stressful times in their lives. Like my ex father in law, who got saved in a prison cell. He told me, “God likes a broken man” – or something like that.
Wow your story sounds somewhat similar to mine. For me it seemed like no matter how many times I kept asking Christ into my heart as my personal savior, it never felt like he was and then there was the fear of Hell and guilt that always seemed to creep back into the picture. I am so glad to be free of this crap and not fearing an invisible, angry, jealous, ego maniac, dictator in the sky.

You are so right with that last part, of me bing the one who knocked, asked, and gave. Really I did it all out of fear. The fear of Hell is a very powerful thing that is force fed to you from a very early age. It was definitley a hard belief to get over , because of the fear of Hell being such a powerful fear.

I have no doubts what so ever that it is this very fear that keeps so many people from thinking outside the bible or daring to question it. Christians love usuing the , ( What if you're wrong and there is a God ? ). Well, if I'm wrong and there actually is a God, then he is an evil God, because I can find NO sin so great that it would make throwing someone to burn in a lake of fire for etrenity a just punishment.

I had decided that if ( I ) as mere mortal human being could not condem anyone to burn in a lake of fire for eternity then I was more merciful then any God. So I tell Christians now, that even if they could " PROVE " that their God existed. I still wouldn't want anything to do with him. The Christian God as well as other Gods is like that of an evil dictator.

A very petty egomaniac, who needed constant bloodshed to appease him, ( even though He is perfect and loving ). A warlike primative deity who throws temper tantrums and killed so many people over such trivial stuff. Uh I could go on and on, but you get the idea of why Christianity just did not and never will work for me. I am glad I can think outside the bible.
The oddest thing is that nowhere in the Bible can one find the "getting saved" experience. If you throw in complex theology, church "campuses", screaming evangelists, ideas like heaven/hell/Satan, Sunday School and choir practice, modern Christianity seems almost alien to what the early disciples practiced. Christianity quickly changed from a religion about what Jesus taught to a religion deifying Jesus. If he were alive today, he'd be appalled at the idolization of himself, an ordinary Jewish peasant.
Original Sin = "we suck". The whole of xtianity is based on this doctrine, hence the need for salvation. What's tokophobia?



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