Abandoning Christianity Was the Best Decision I Have Ever Made

I told this story more than once to many different people. So, before I share it with you, I need you to understand that I am not trying to convince you to abandon your Christian belief. Our religious beliefs are our religious beliefs, and our beliefs should be important to us. This is why I must share my belief with whoever decides to read this.

I believe that abandoning Christianity was the best decision that I have ever made.

Some of my closest friends and relatives believe that I walked away from God. They couldn’t be more wrong. How can I walk away from someone who had never been with me?

If God and I were ever together, we were in a toxic relationship. When I prayed about my problems, he turned a deaf ear to me. When he became annoyed with my persistent prayer, he made matters worse, then watched as life kicked my ass with a smug grin on his invisible face.

When I asked God to help my grandfather with his drug addiction, he gave him stage four head and neck cancer. When I asked God to protect me and my family from my psychotic father, he placed him closer to us. When I asked him to help my mother get over a broken heart (from my father’s years of physical and emotional abuse), he gave her heart disease.

My prayer seemed to make matters worse. However, my faith required me to keep lines of communication open with God; it was a sin not to pray, even though he always ghosted me.

But not praying wasn’t my only sin–I am also queer. I discovered this at 12-years-old. And according to pastors and close relatives, being queer is an unforgivable sin, perhaps the only unforgivable sin. This is why God ignored my prayers, I thought. He didn’t like the person I am. Therefore, to get God’s attention, I had to develop a genuine hatred for myself.

I thought by spewing anti-queerness, God would like me more. So, I did exactly that. I became a self-hating queer person who despised people who are open about their queer identities.  

When I tell my queer, Christian counterparts this story, they laugh. They tell me that God was simply testing my faith and I failed the test too easily. I always wondered if God was that petty. I ask myself whether is God truly petty enough to question one’s faith with traumatic experiences? Then I remember the story of Adam and Eve. I remember how God created a man and a woman with his bored breath, planted a tree and told them not to eat the fruit the tree bore. And because they did not listen, he cursed all humanity. So yes, God is petty, and life is too short to deal with omega level pettiness. I’d rather roast in hell.

In 2012, I gained enough courage to begin questioning my faith publicly. After my grandfather lost the battle to cancer, my mother, sister and I found him dead in his room. My mother cried, tried to give him CPR, and prayed to God. I stood by the door trembling. I had never seen Death that up close and personal before. It was fucking terrifying. At that moment, I prayed for God to give us comfort; that was the first time I prayed in almost seven years. But instead of comfort, God gave us a five-day-long electricity outage.

When we got back our electricity, my emotionally distraught mother thanked God. Coldly, I told her to thank the electricians who worked day and night to give us back our power. “God had nothing to do with that,” I said. She stared at me with disgust burning in her eyes. But instead of debating with me about my lapse of faith, she remained silent. I think she began to doubt God, too.

When I felt comfortable enough to begin referring to the Christian God as my mother’s God, she knew that I had officially abandoned Christianity. This is when life had turned upside down for me in a good way. I stopped wanting to win God’s approval; this allowed me to come out as queer, which was an entirely new battle for me. However, I fought that battle alone, without prayer. And for once in my life, I left the battle victorious.

I can’t speak for everyone, but Christianity was a prison for me. It was one heartbreak after another. It was the sock in my mouth and duct tape around my lips, muffling the sounds of my grief. It was the heavy rain that hid my tears from the world. It was a one-sided conversation with an imaginary friend who was secretly my enemy.

Image via Getty


Arkee E.

Arkee E. is a writer based in the Bronx.

twitterweb

in case you missed it