What considered good for us might be bad for another. It happens the other ways around as well, what sounds bad might be a good thing in another culture. So quitting a good thing is not much different from quitting from a bad thing. After all, good is bad, and bad is also good.
Speaking about quitting, I realized that I’ve quit from a hell lot of things. Quit from friendships, from exercising, from cooking, from writing. I noticed that they just stop one day, whether they gradually slow down in activity or not, they just disappear. *poof*, and I’ve stopped doing something. I guess that’s pretty close to what a Cold Turkey means.
Please don’t leave as soon as you read the next paragraph, it is not what you think it is.
What I really want to talk to you today is about “Jesus”. I’m not trying to ask you to quit your earthly way and join me in the Heavenly Family. But I want to tell you how I quit from being a Christian.
I remember I’ve written the more detailed version of it somewhere, but I am not sure anymore because I couldn’t find it. I guess I’ll just repeat it all over again.
Quitting Christianity, stop believing what I’ve been believing for 15 years, didn’t happen with a snap of a finger. However, the event peaked in one rainy night and the next thing I wake up to is that I’m officially an ex-christian.
I was first introduced to Jesus when I was a little kid in a Kindergarten of a small town somewhere on Earth. I went to a Christian school and we are “indirectly” forced to go to Sunday School. We got better scores if we go to church. My house was just next to the school (with the church attached) and it wasn’t too hard for my parents either so I went. I went every week, not because I was forced to, but I loved going to church. They had fun people around, the Sunday School teachers are super nice, and I was the favorite kid. I wasn’t doing really well in the real school, so being a teacher’s favorite in the Sunday School was really something for me.
I remembered they gave presents every Christmas based on our attendance throughout the year. The kids who has the best attendance get the best gift. I almost always got the best present every year and I was so proud of it. My family is Chinese and we are Taoist. We worship dead people and stuffs like that. So, my elder sisters wasn’t very happy for me to be so active in Church. They are afraid that I won’t burn them offering when they died. But I believed in Jesus Christ and I think that my family are doing stupid things like burning offering to my dead grandparents and some beautiful goddess made of clay. But I promised my parents that I’ll never be baptized. I never did.
Graduating from Elementary school, I got one step closer to Christian’s God. I got even more active than when I was still in Sunday School. I served in many different things, from ushering, worship leading, singing, dancing, and even teaching in Sunday School telling stories about baby Jesus. I read the bible every single night. I stayed late in Church so that I can talk more about the bible with the evangelists and pastors. If I wasn’t a true Christian, I don’t know who else is.
After graduated from high school, the church council offered me a full scholarship for me to go to a Theology school so that I can become a preacher. My parents rejected it very politely and I ended up in a Art school studying Computer Science.
I had to stop all the activities from my hometown church after graduating because I’m moving out from the city. But for a short time while waiting for my classes to start, I stayed in my hometown and visited the church as usual, not as one of the servant, but as a normal church comer. This is when I started to see the church and Christianity from the outside of it. It felt so different. I couldn’t find the warmness anymore. I felt rejected, nobody really cares anymore. People don’t listen to each other, everybody thinks that they are the rightest. I started to questions how people do things and how awful things had been done. That’s when I started to climb the mountain of realization. I realized that I was one of them and I was an awful servant and I was selfish and self righteous and thought that I was so right about everything.
Things are different depending on how we look at it. It’s called perspective. When I look from inside of Christianity and look out to the world, I see a broken world that needed healing. I felt that I’m in a safe boat to the eternity and everybody else outside the boat is going to perish. But when I got out from that boat and look at the boat from the outside, I see a boat full of holes that is sinking.
When I left town for college, I was still looking for the answers to these holes of the boat I was floating around in, but I didn’t feel safe anymore. I wanted to know why are these holes here and I wanted to fix them. I visited many different churches looking for somewhere I can call home again. That’s when I started to see more different types of Christian out there. I’d always thought that all Christian are one and the same. They worship the same God but every church interprets God a little bit different than another. I got so confused and angry with these people.
There are many worst Christians that I don’t even understand where their teachings are based from. But they are smart, they can justify their actions by showing you the verses in Bible that approve their actions. But I realized that they ignored all the other verses that are against them. Here is when contradictions started to float my curiosity. Some claimed that Speaking in Tongue is something you do consciously and it is a total gibberish sounds that you make so that Holy Spirit can pray on your behalf. It’s like shutting up your own mind by making random sounds and let Holy Spirit be the one who do the real talking because He knows what’s best. But they ignored the part where Holy Spirit supposed to take control of your tongue and speak in the language that is understandable for other human beings that hear it. Some claimed that earthly wealth is the sign of God’s blessing like how He’s blessed David and Solomon, but ignored the fact that they both have tons of wives. Why aren’t we blessed with tons of wives?
The more I go to church, the more I read the bible, the more I asked questions, the more I realized that what I’ve been believing is not reliable at all. But I was so needing a God that I hoped so much that all these are not just a myth. I continued going to church, reading the bible and pray, assuring myself that I will find the answer one day.
One night, I found a deal breaker. I was re-reading the bible in the New King James Version and I was stuck in the Leviticus where a bunch of offerings are demanded by God, the Christian God. There are offering for every single occasion, even when women are having their period. I liked Christianity because I thought it was different. Christian’s God was a friend and a father for me. He doesn’t ask for nonsense things like food or burn this or bring that so that I can bless you. But after all that, I realized that He was just one of the gods that is no different but an illusion, an ancient myth.
Then you will argue that Leviticus is in the Old Testament which doesn’t really apply in the modern Christianity anymore. But what makes Him changes His mind? He’s all knowing and timeless. If He was like that 3000 years ago, He will be like that 3000 years later. He doesn’t change. Saying that some of Old Testaments are not applicable anymore just proves that it is unreliable from the beginning.
So when I finally got so angry after that realization, it all peaked. That was the night I stopped praying, stopped reading the bible, and decided to stop going to church. I didn’t stop asking question, though. I was still half believing that there are some answers to these holes, but I don’t believe in the Bible as the Truth anymore.
It wasn’t easy to quit one thing. Even after I’ve stopped doing anything related to it, I didn’t stop searching for new ways to reassure my decision. I spent the next few months reading about how other people had left Christianity and read so many different stories. I left that full of holes boat and walked on the land of reality. And I’m sure that one day you will find me in the other side and have a look at the boat that you are in.
Be happy, no matter where you are right now, we are all in some kind of boat. Maybe the boat I’m in right now is worst, maybe my story trouble you and make you angry, but I hope that it doesn’t matter you much. It’s just a story from a tiny dot in this big big world. My words are of that tiny tiny dot of me, and it will vanish as soon as you forget about me.