At one time, I was very capable of believing in the whole Jesus story and even God; children tend trust their parents and elders after all. So this is my story, why I am now incapable of believing this religion or the supernatural because of applied reason and research, and innate skepticism.
Prior to the 3rd grade and moving out to the suburbs of Milwaukee, I attended religious private schools. A Catholic and and a Lutheran one. I had very early Bible instruction and was fairly well integrated into the life and community of the Church. I had emotional and learning problems as kid, so this necessitated my parents sending me to private schools. You see, I was expelled from Milwaukee public schools for a number of years and that Catholic school, well they expelled me too. Ha ha! So nice to sit back and laugh at it now. I was way too much to handle! Anyway, I still look back at my years at the Lutheran school quite fondly, despite the beatings I received when I smarted off. I was a great student and of all my studies and required things I should memorize (which I forget what now), the Bible I excelled in because I enjoyed it the most.
But I get ahead of myself here. Born in the early 70's, I was baptized Serbian Orthodox on the behest of my Mother's grandmother and confirmed Lutheran in the early 80's. The first time I ever learned about death, was Jesus. I was touched deeply by that. How could a person that would never know me, die for me? The response was immediate of course I loved this person back and without condition. The other immediate response I had was fear too, I remember my early vivid, sweaty nightmares of Hell that my Church elders and my parents told me about. I cried and cried. I imagined what it would be like to burn and burn forever. As a child, I knew that my mind would always get the best of me, it did time and time again, and that Hell was my only fate. But it bothered me, why did Jesus die for me again? I could never resolve this at this time in my life.
Regardless, I was so indoctrinated into the faith. Motivated by my natural instincts to love, and to fear, I was a Christian. Never questioned it. Never thought different.
Once we left the city, I started attending the public schools in our new community. I lived near a town of 300 people and the nearest large town was around 10 thousand strong. Milwaukee was still close, about a 40 minute drive away. But in terms of my location, it was light-years away. I really had no friends (except my brother) so I spent lots and lots of time reading alone and getting on by myself just fine. Also, being a spaz still made people avoid me don't blame them a bit. We found a Lutheran Church, signed up for Sunday School, and I even became a Lutheran Pioneer.
It was at this time, I began to look at life a bit different, between the years of 3rd and 6/7th grade, when I was confirmed. I was no longer in that constant environment and was learning all new sorts of things in school, expanding my knowledge base. And Church really got in the way of G-Force, a sunday cartoon, that I loved. But really, with the new things I was learning, I was developing my budding skepticism.
I was basically chided and forced by my folks to get confirmed. Our Pastor from the Lutheran Church in which we (irregularly) attended at this time, came over and impressed upon us that our spiritual health was at stake (although in my young and inarticulate mind, no one could tell me exactly what a "spirit" was to my satisfaction) and that I may want to get married someday (although I knew that I never wanted to) and it would be important for some reason when that happened.
So, my parents (for review), my brother, and myself packed up for evening confirmation classes. I have commented before that my Pastor was a YEC, and I found his explanation and support of such a young Earth utterly ridiculous and false. Children know how to lie. We do stupid things and have to cover up for it. Natural and part of the learning process. I could sense his justifications as false from the discord in his voice. I also remember my Pastor and my Sunday school teachers teaching us that even if a person does good, yet without the Christian GOD, they have not done any good at all and would not receive the reward of Heaven. I rejected that teaching right off the bat. Why would a God care, if after all, he knows how many hairs are on my and my parents head, who was doing good and for whatever reason? Good is good no? This seemed like such a petty distinction to make for something as so benevolent, that I was assured over and over again, that this God was. I mean, Jesus was his son after all, that died for all of humanity sins, making all us equal. Non-christians doing good, yet burning in hell? I wrestled with the unfairness of it all, and rejected that teaching.
It was during these confirmation classes, and the study and reflection I did, that I renounced and apostated from the religion. I knew it what was false. My brother had a similar experience as well, and rejected the religion upon the YEC teachings of our Pastor. He's three years younger than me too. This is also why we are both so fascinated by Atlantis and other Lost Kingdom stories.
About God, I was up in the air about. But, I have always thought, that if such a being exists, He would know what to do to convince me that IT exists. And if it were the Christian God, God has but no choice to intervene directly. My soul is at stake is it not?
Back to Confirmation. The day finally came. I said the words, and I drank the wine and ate the bread along with my brother as our folks smiled on. It was the same assurance that I got if I asked God or Jesus to answer me if I had problem, he would do so. No voice came. And I knew what my own voice sounded like ringing in my head. Nothing came. So I tested what my elders said, and nothing came of it. I knew my decision was sound.
Confirmation was the last time I was in Church as a Christian.
Since then, I have developed my knowledge base, read the Bible, researched other religions and the evidence behind lost kingdoms as well, peered back through history and the formation of the religion itself, paganism, art history, hermeneutics, language, philosphy, world history and so much more. I spent several years reading and learning on my own, and not necessarily at college, trying to answer questions, probing for reality. I worked hard, partly as an obligation to myself, but if God did exist, I owed it to Him to come of full reason and dedicated myself wholeheartedly.
God does not exist. The supernatural does not exist. If it does, it is beyond any human possible way to access it.
Now, I want to do good is all. If your God burns me for the good I do because I reject his contradictory religion, then this God is really a beast.
I will take that punishment.
I will not sacrifice my integrity.