Years back, I had a boyfriend that became a born again Christian after his father became one. He started going to church every Sunday, only wanted to associate himself with other Christians and would constantly talk about hell.
When he was trying to "save" me, he would 75% of the time talk about me going to hell if I were not saved. My parents, friends and coworkers. Everyone I knew was going to hell. Considering yourself Christian and going to church didn't count, you had to be saved.
He became very controlling. Went out of his way to sabotage my relationships with my friends and family because they were leading me to the devil. He would try to restrict the TV shows and movies I watched, even the books I read. He even dismissed my college education because it wasn't about the Lord.
At that time I was young, maybe 20 or so, but I felt like I was in love with him and that we would eventually get married. I felt that because I loved him, I should be as open as possible about going to church (which I did enjoy) and reading the Bible. I also started to feel really anxious and scared because as much as I was trying to have the relationship with Jesus that he did and see the world as he did, I just couldn't do it.
I had questions and opinions. I wanted to have discussions about Bible passages and church services but he would quickly dismiss them as the devil playing tricks on me. He would tell me I thought too much and even though God gave us free will to believe what we wanted, what I was doing was wrong. I had to stop questioning, stop doubting and just believe. Since he and his father were born again, they felt as if they had the right to tell me I was wrong, and they were right and I had to just LISTEN.
He would say we were all evil, wretched, disgusting. Ants had more value than humans unless we had Jesus.
This was all happening during the Bush era, when the "moral majority" elected him back into office. I found myself feeling overwhelmed at the amount how religion was everywhere I turned; from politics, to TV to school and I just couldn't take it anymore.
I started to feel more and more anxious. What if they were right? What if I were to die tomorrow and I would go to hell because I refused to become saved because I had so many doubts? What is hell like? Would it worth it to have doubt now and possibly go to hell for eternity? I felt as if I had full blown anxiety, then insomnia, then depression and then I had a panic attack at school which was the scariest thing ever.
I decided I can't force myself to believe, my mind wouldn't let me do that. I would be living a lie. I decided instead to let go of focusing on hell and death for my own sake, my own mental health. I wanted to have positive relationships with my family and non religious friends again and enjoy my last few months of college. I just wanted to be free from worry and just live.
As I mentioned in a previous post I wrote a Myspace blog post about what I was dealing with hoping I would find comfort and advice from friends, but boy was I wrong. My non Christian friends were silent and the Christian people that I was friends with were distancing themselves from me and talking about me behind my back. They said I needed Jesus and I was an atheist. I never claimed to be an atheist in my post and never had before that. People just couldn't understand the thought of someone questioning their beliefs or what others told them they had to believe.
My ex and I broke up shortly after because I felt as if he were trying to control my life even though he came off as a really nice, easy going guy. I had to live my life and couldn't let others force me to believe what they did. I had to understand it and believe it for myself. I needed to be with someone who understood me and why I was the way I was and who would not try and tell me I was wretched or disgusting for disagreeing with him.
Since our breakup, I have studied the Bible and gone to church. Like I said before, I am not an atheist, I do believe in God, I just have difficulty at times wrapping my head around the Virgin birth and the Trinity. Its difficult to discuss because I find as if people wear their religion on their sleeve or refuse to talk about it as if its their way of not admitting they have their doubts as well. I find myself often disagreeing with what is said in church and with what I read. I guess you can say since I have my doubts at times, I'm not a real Christian and I'm OK with that.