My Own Experience With Religion

I grew up in a small town in Texas and attended a baptist church as a child. When I was really young I remember all we listened to was Christian music. When I was seven I made the commitment to Jesus and asked him into my heart. I was baptized and had my sins washed away. I continued to go to that church for a while and then one day we just stopped. In my teen years, after we had moved to Oklahoma, I was invited to go to church with the neighbor kids. I started going to that church for a couple years, made some friends and even attended church camp. I remember having a good time at church camp. Then when I met my ex-husband I started going to church with him and his family. I went with him the whole time we were together. After he and I separated I stopped going.

As I had gotten older and into my adult years I started feeling uncomfortable in church. I started to feel judged and like I was a bad person. I had impure thoughts, I used bad language, I was doing things I shouldn’t. The people I went to church with didn’t want to hang out with me. They thought I was weird and beneath them. When my ex and I divorced a lot of bad things all happened at once and I felt like God was punishing me for turning my back on my marriage. It was a year of self hatred and denying myself to be happy in my new relationship.

I grew up in a religion that made me feel wretched. I constantly judged myself and others. I constantly felt like a sinner. I always felt like others could see my sin on my face. I never felt like I fit in with the other Christians because they were better than me, or so I thought. I didn’t feel love, I felt judgement.

I know that not everyone feels this way but this was my experience. I stopped going to church because I was done with all the judgement. I was done feeling like a sinner, I was done with Christians. I needed to accept myself for who I was and accept that the thoughts and feelings I had were okay. The years I spent away from church were the best years of my life.

I no longer felt guilty for everything I did, I felt free to be myself. It was extremely liberating. When anyone would invite me to church I would refuse, I wasn’t going back into a place that fed my anxiety and made me feel like a terrible person. I didn’t want to be around people who, to me, were hypocrites. They were just as filthy as me but they liked to pretend they were better and holier than I was because they went to church every week and gave a good performance in front of other Christians. There was nothing I wanted from them.

I know that for other’s church is a good thing in their life. They have a wonderful experience and they feel like they belong to a group for the first or only time in their life. For some, religion is what saved their life. For some it soothes their worries and makes them feel safe. I don’t want to take that away from them, I believe if you can find comfort in something then it is worth holding on to. But I also believe that if something is toxic for you then you need to stay away from it. I believe that everyone’s spiritual journey is their own and that it is very personal. I don’t believe you need to be accountable to others, only to your god.

Another problem I have with church, mainly Christians, are how the majority of them are kind of terrible people. They are “pro-life” when it comes to a woman keeping a pregnancy, despite the fact that it is her body and she has the right to do what is best for her, (God grants free will, remember?) but are so against people using welfare or not willing to pay more in taxes for healthcare or better education. They want people who can’t afford to have kids to keep their pregnancy but aren’t willing to help them take care of that child. The Bible says love thy neighbor (Mark 12:31) but Christians voted for a president that wants to build a wall to keep our neighbors out to let them suffer. The Bible also tells men if they want to avoid having impure thoughts about a woman they should poke their eyes out (Matthew 5:29) but instead they say it’s the woman’s fault for wearing a tank top in the heat of summer. There is too much judgment and not enough love. The Bible also says God is love (1 John 4:7-21) and that those who know him know love. That doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of people who call themselves Christians.

There is one church I have given a chance recently, it’s called LifeChurch and the messages are actually pretty relatable. I don’t feel judged when I go in there, everyone is really nice and just happy that you came. It’s a step in the right direction.

When it comes to religion I try to be respectful of what people believe. I don’t tell them they’re wrong or that they’re crazy for believing. I don’t appreciate when someone tries to push their religion down my throat but I also understand if they try to share it with me because that’s what they’re supposed to do. It’s a little cult-ish but whatever. To each their own. I have more respect for people who live by example, though.

I’m still a long way from being completely a part of a church. I honestly don’t think I ever will be. I don’t need religion, I’m not the kind of person who struggles with the origins of existence or what will happen to me when I die. I don’t need a system in place for me to live by to make me feel better about myself. I just do the best I can and do try to be thankful for what I have. My life could be so much worse than it is and I’m thankful that it isn’t. I don’t think it was given to me by an invisible entity, I think I’m just lucky. I refuse to believe that a person is born into poverty and addiction because that is what was given to them. I refuse to believe that children die of cancer because that was God’s will. I will not just accept these things. Millions of people are born in countries where disease and poverty are the norm and live honest lives, and they’re considered lost souls who are going to hell because they just happened to be born on the wrong side of the planet. That’s ridiculous to me.

Well that is my experience with religion. What are your thoughts?

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Burton says:

    Thank you for being open with such a contentious subject 🙂 Like you I’m not convinced with religion – I appreciate why some people turn to it in times of trouble, but trying to convince other people to follow certain ways of thinking…I strongly disagree with that. To each their own, but I’d much rather people lived by example rather than trying to convert others to the so-called ‘right path.’
    Very thoughtful read! Really enjoyed this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. This post is one that I’ve been wanting to write for a while. I’ve been worried about what my family would think but then I remembered that it was my own journey and they don’t have to accept it because they don’t walk in my shoes. It feels good to get it out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shelby says:

    You said it perfectly when you said “those who don’t love don’t KNOW God.”
    Knowing someone is not something that happens over night. It takes having a developed relationship to fully know someone.
    So most Christians are just baby Christians who don’t fully know Christ. For if they did they would act just as he did. He loved the people who the Pharisees (the religious rulers) said were “sinners” or “unworthy” , he loved them and even appointed the “worst” for his “best”
    Example. Paul who killed many of those who followed Jesus, became one of the biggest apostles for Christ. (He essentially was the “worst”, but because God didn’t give up on him, he became one of the “best”)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that it takes time to build a relationship with someone and that’s why I believe each person’s journey is personal. I know a few Christians who really are great examples of Christians and I have a lot of respect for them. They really live what they teach.

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  3. Mackenzie says:

    hey, girl! I so appreciated you sharing your journey & honest thoughts. I definitely have struggled in my faith through the years, and almost totally turned away from it in 2016. And like you said… The church doesn’t always represent Christ very well- it seriously hurts my heart when I see hate where love should be. Anyways.. that same year I moved out to Cali, & there was a church that advertised “relationship, not religion”… going to this church with the emphasis on the relationship with Christ, & for the first time not feeling that judgement, changed everything for me! Thanks for opening this conversation- I know it can be something really hard to talk about, but I really do think it’s one of (if not THE) most important conversations in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes I think people need to realize that it takes a while to build a relationship with anyone so it doesn’t matter how long your journey is, it’s your own. I find it to be very personal and people should be encouraging, not damning.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Religion is always a tricky subject. I know of some “unbelievers” who behave in a very Christian manner and I know of some churchgoers who are some of the nastiest, narrow minded folk around. I was brought up going to church and “Sunday school”…..but stopped before I reached my teens. It just wasn’t for me.
    What made me shake my head about your post was in the first paragraph when you said as a 7 year old you had your sins washed away. It’s religious brainwashing to say that children are sinners. Seriously…how many 7 year olds are “sinful”…..come to that how do we define sinful? Religion as far as I am concerned is just another way of keeping people in line with a long unnecessary list of rules to make us feel guilty and remorseful all the time.
    Life is short and needs to be enjoyed.
    There are only 2 rules need to be followed IMO. Do no harm to people or property and respect others rights to be different.
    As usual Cadie an interesting post….keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree I was too young to make such a huge decision. I do look back now and think that I was very sheltered and that my point of view was molded to think the way my parents wanted me to think. They didn’t give me the opportunity to think for myself and I see that a lot here in Oklahoma and Texas. It’s very difficult for a young adult to try to figure out how to be a regular person when they’re dealing with learning to become an adult and also learning how to think for themselves.

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  5. Bex says:

    I too wrote about my journey with religion and similar to you, grew up in a baptist church. https://bexoxoblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/oh-lord/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. grendle51 says:

    Congratulations on moving away from the church/religion in general. It’s not easy for people growing up in any religion to finally come to the realization that you don’t need to lean on a crutch (religious dogma) that makes you feel guilty about yourself. Religion, in general, is an archaic institution that does more harm than good. It subjects you to a life of servitude to an imaginary omnipotent god/goddess. Personally, I am an antitheist. I’ve written several articles on religion, especially Christianity-the Mysteries of Christianity.

    Liked by 1 person

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