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I've Rejected Christ, Because I'm a Father. - by 3doglateafternon

father and sonI used to go to church, I used to believe, I used to tithe 10%+, I used to volunteer, I used to hold small groups in my home. That was all back before 2003. That was before Bush wanted a second term and my church was mobilizing to help him do it. They handed out Republican propaganda, they preached how Bush was a godly man and we should all "honor our King" (exactly as they said it).

The final straw came when they emailed our entire congregation a raft of lies about Democrats, and didn't BCC it. I thought "What right does our pastor have to press his political opinion on all of us? We go to church to hear the word, not politics." I saw an opportunity to speak to the congregation with a gentle voice of moderation and reason, imploring them to consider the wars and killing, the torture, the loss of civil liberties under the Patriot Act, etc. etc., so I took it. I provided links to news stories that showed the contradictions in what we were being told and I asked them to seek the truth before they made a decision about the future of our country. I realized that Kerry was a poor choice, but I thought that another 4 years of Bush was enough to weaken us to the point of no return. I tried to get that across as gently as possible.

It was a firestorm of hate.

I was cursed at by people I'd known for years, people I'd prayed with. I was told I hated the troops. I was told that waterboarding wasn't torture, and even if it was, it was ok because America was worth it. My small group I hosted at my home was subjected to Nazi-like brownshirt investigation, with the small group pastor dropping by to "keep us on point" in our discussions.

I was invited to a private meeting with the pastor, who suggested that politics was the true opiate of the masses and that for every hour of political thought, I should spend 2 hours praying for guidance. I was told that government was chosen by god and that I had to honor my King (Bush). I was told that his son that was in Iraq was laying his life on the line for my freedom, and that I was being "disrespectful and out of alignment with god's word".

People in church stopped speaking to my wife, possibly the sweetest woman on Earth. We were ostracized to the point that it was palpably uncomfortable to sit in service. The small group I hosted decided to "host the group closer to most of the other members' homes", meaning 1/2 mile closer to them.

We left, my wife hoping to find another church home. I was still shocked and angry at my treatment from these godly folks, so I didn't exactly make it a priority.

The second realization came when my young son began to realize what death was, and connected what he heard of Hell and demons in church. He became terrified of his parents dying, and then his death, and then everlasting torture. I opened my mouth to explain the sacrifice of the Lamb, and why he'll never see Hell if he loved Jesus and then it hit me like a freight train.

As a father, I was about to tell my terrified son the fairy tale equivalent of this: "If he didn't want to end up locked in a dark, dank basement filled with spiders and child molesters and murderers, then he should love me with all his heart and soul, and if I believed he was sincere, then I wouldn't lock him down there forever. I would tell him I sacrificed myself to work very hard for him, and that I was giving him this gift of a chance to live upstairs with me forever. However, if he didn't want it, then it was out of my hands and he would have to go to the basement and be locked in there, away from the warm beacon of my love forever."

I couldn't tell my child this. I couldn't tell him that invisible demons were real.

It occurred to me that if I couldn't ask him to believe this, then why should I believe it, and if I didn't tell him, then I was betraying god by not passing on "holy truth" to him that he MUST KNOW TO AVOID THE BASEMENT... and it all fell into place. I had been a stooge. I had believed this idiocy my whole life, I had even held off on having kids earlier because I feared the coming Apocalypse was just around the corner. I was a fool and I was so ashamed I was numb.
I held my son and soothed him. I told him not to worry, there were no such things as demons, and we would all be alive for a very long time. I told him he had nothing to worry about, and that I and his mommy loved him very much. Slowly his sobs subsided, his tears dried, and he looked up and smiled at me, hugged me tight and said, "I love you, Daddy."

He fell asleep as I rocked him in my arms on the couch. I gritted my teeth and wept. I've never been to church since, and I never will. My children are raised to be critical thinkers and to resoundingly reject magical thinking.

I'm now comfortable with the words "I reject Christ", because it holds no more power over me. I might as well be saying, "I reject The Flintstones".