I’m a former Christian. I have had a hard time calling myself an atheist, but for the normal definition of the word, I am. It’s been an interesting journey out of Christianity. One that would take far too long to describe in great detail. But here is the simplest description.
I grew up in the midwest. My hometown has an old nickname. The city of a thousand steeples. Christianity surrounded me. I grew up in a dysfunctioning home. We were poor too.
My parents separated when I was a baby, so on weekends I would visit my dad and he was the one who would take me and my brother to church. The church just so happened to be a Seventh-day Adventist Church. For a person who has spent her life wanting to be accepted and wanting to do things right, the Adventist Church was quite an interesting match. It’s full of rules and regulations. You’ve gotta look and act a certain way to be accepted. You need to do certain things for God to love you. An Adventist would never agree with that, but it’s something that is more subliminal than outright taught. I think most Christians (if not all) have this feeling of wanting to be good to please God. I just think it’s on a different level for Adventists.
So with that feeling of wanting to be accepted, of wanting to do things right, of constantly judging myself, I chose to be a minister. I wanted to serve God. Tell people about him. I was a religion major in undergrad. Even went to the Adventist seminary. I loved my time at the Adventist university. I made a lot of friends that I treasure. The problem was, I was turned off by how evangelism was done. I was turned off by professors who told me that our goal was to tell people about the 3 Angels Message and not take care of the people’s physical needs. I also didn’t like how women in ministry were treated.
Upon graduation I headed overseas to teach English as a second language. That didn’t work out like planned so I came back to America. Disappointed because of many aspects of life at that time I began to look deep inside to figure out who I was and what I believed.
In 2011 I decided it was time to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Before sending a letter to the church asking for my name to be removed from the church books I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it out of bitterness. I didn’t want to be like a little kid who was angry and took their ball and went home. In the end my choice to leave was based on being in integrity with myself. I was no longer living as a Seventh-day Adventist. I didn’t believe a large portion of the beliefs anymore. To stay only left me out of integrity. My integrity is one of the keys to my happiness and success in life.
I have done a lot of personal growth work since then and began to see what was working, not working, and what I’d get to add to how I live life. I am finally the one in charge of my own life. No more depending on a higher power or another human being to live life to the fullest. It is up to me. Since then I went from being a progressive Christian to being a secular humanist; from being unemployed to owning my own business that I love greatly; from being single to being in a committed relationship with an amazing man. It’s great to finally be alive. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this life.