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I have been an atheist for 4 years now. I wasn't raised religious, but did attend church sporadically as a kid, & participated in a few things like church camp. Life was rough growing up though, & by age 17, I was mad at God.
In January 2011, which was about a year & a half after my hate for God started, a preacher who had recently (at the time) moved in next door paid us a visit after he saw an ambulance at our house. I eventually agreed to do Bible studies with him. The congregation was a Church of Christ, which I guess is most distinguished by not using instruments in singing & not believing that miracles occur today. Growing up, just about everything Bible related went in one ear & out the other, so this was the first time I really started to get an understanding of this stuff. There were a lot of things I was astonished by though. For one thing, it was the first time I had heard "reason" & "evidence" be associated with faith.
After a few months, I was browsing Yahoo Answers & looking over conversations about Hell. It weighed on my mind the entire evening & scared me quite a bit. I got baptized after 2 a. m. the following morning (Mark 16:16 could be considered a reference verse). From then, I wanted to teach those who didn't believe in God because of the stigma that religion is brainwashing & blind faith. I didn't think anyone was familiar with arguments from morality, archaeology, etc. Yeah, I was young & dumb. For the following 2 years, I'd spend hours online looking at responses to the arguments for God's existence, which, to be honest my brothers & sisters in Christ weren't crazy about me doing. In July 2013, I spent a few days in Oklahoma City because a preacher training program was being held at 84th Street Church of Christ. I can't deny it, spending 14 hours a day to learn Bible geography, context meanings of Biblical words, sermon outlining, etc was pretty grueling, but hey, I was still convinced that our eternity was at stake. It was hard to not feel out of place because my Biblical knowledge was still not exactly up there with my peers. I ended up preaching a 10 minute sermon instead of the usual 20 minutes. It was hard not to feel on top of the world, earning my preaching diploma & all that good stuff. After I came home, I was entrusted by the local congregation to do a bit of preaching. I was still doing 10 to 15 minute sermons, so there would be some tag teaming going on.
Meanwhile, my doubts were growing steadily. I started wondering if I'd eventually be asked about preaching a lesson on proof of God, accusing atheists of suppression, etc. I finally admitted to myself that I don't believe in God anymore. That following December was rough. I attended Wednesday night assembly for the final time on the 19th of that month. The next night, I left a message on the congregation's answering machine revealing my unbelief, the fact that I wouldn't worship God if he were real, & that I believe Jesus' crucifixion is an overrated concept. The congregation finally heard the message 9 days later. I won't go into the details of how things went down with the members unless you want to talk via private message. I will say the transition to the new year just might have been the biggest life changer for me. While things were unpleasant, I still understand where my former "brothers & sisters" are coming from. I was in those shoes not too long ago, and so I won't out anyone.
Now for other aspects of my personal life. I live a very private life of seclusion, taking care of my granny for the most part, & do as much as possible to keep drama at bay. If I'm hanging out with anyone, it's usually my aunt & her kids, or dining out & watching slasher flicks with one of my best friends. I also enjoy my YouTube channel, country music, & video games, especially the Mario series, Donkey Kong Country, & MVP Baseball.
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