How Christians can force you into Atheism
I was raised Catholic and it never occurred to me that I should be anything but until my husband left me for one of the many women he had been seeing during our marriage. Even today divorce is considered a sin and if you are unlucky enough, like I was, to be a member of a church where the priest is REALLY old school then you will suddenly find yourself lost and 'out of favor' with your faith.
Here I was with no home, husband or church and no idea of where to turn when I found help at the Word of Faith church that ran my son's preschool. At first I thought I was going to be okay because many were excited that I left the Catholic Church for this one and couldn't stop giving me all the reasons why the Catholic Church is 'evil' so I was better off. Little did I know how flexible their definition of ‘evil’ was…
I met my current husband at the church. We were both dealing with pain, feeling lost and questioning God's existence which is probably what made us find each other in the crowd. His father had passed away not long before we met and he was having a lot of trouble with his fellow church goers’ inability to deal with his grief.
Before we even began dating, a group of ‘concerned’ women told his mom a TON of lies about me pushing her into a suicidal fit, on my birthday, making her think her son was going to be dragged to hell by the 'Irish witch'.
We figured if we're going to be labeled a certain way we might as well become what we were accused of. We eventually tried to 'behave' so we would be accepted but it was like we were slowly dying as we kept trying to cut out all the parts of ourselves they kept saying were unacceptable.
The next blow came quicker than expected. I had a court case coming up and was being told by EVERYONE at the church that it would go in my favor because I was praying, going to church, was a Christian, etc. Court came and his attorney wiped the floor with me. Their reaction was to tell me that I was being punished by God for my previous sins.
I quit trying to be ‘Christian’ and holding out whatever hope I had left that God would intervene in my life. I got pregnant with our daughter Rose and when I found out I went to someone in the church authority for advice/help. I was advised to get an abortion so I wouldn't 'add to my sins'. NO ONE would agree to help me and it was only then I discovered I wasn’t the first one to be pressured into abortion. After I collapsed when my heart started to fail my daughter’s father stepped in and moved me in with him against the orders of church members. He was told to force me to fend for myself and 'let God take care of me', that he didn't need to let MY sin ruin his life.
More rumors were spread with people telling him I had been cheating on him with 'a black guy and was pregnant by this guy'. For some reason it wasn't bad enough to create lies that I had cheated but that it’d be worse if I cheated with a 'black guy'. That was the last straw for both of us.
We don't go to church anymore. We don't pray. Some days I don't even think I can fake a belief in God. Other days I really miss my faith, miss going to mass, praying the rosary but every time I try to regain what I lost I remember what was done to us in "God's Name" and can't bring myself to be part of the Christian sect.
Most days I feel safer as an Atheist but every now and then I remember the peace I felt as a child growing up in the Catholic Church and wish I could regain it. If people ask what I am I still identify as an Irish-Catholic more out of family and cultural loyalty but I also I think I do it because the day I don’t I worry I’ll lose whatever tiny hold is left on that childhood innocence and belief that remains.
Someday I suppose I'll have to figure out what I'm going to teach my children or explain how Christians can force you into atheism.