From Breakdown to Freedom

by "Survivor"

"I was a devoted conservative Christian, a follower of the Calvary Chapel movement. I trusted in the promises of the Bible for I believed it was the inerrant word of the one true God. I took what I was learning in church in earnest and spent much time reading, studying, praying and worshipping. Christ was my whole life. As the years went by, however, I became skeptical of what I was being taught. I could see many non-sequiturs, including the fact that prayers were going “unanswered” when the Bible clearly said they would be fulfilled. I, of course, was instructed to blame myself for this: I didn’t have enough faith or I was not being patient enough. I finally decided I had waited long enough for God to answer my prayers and stopped blaming myself for his failure. I realized that what the Bible claims does not play out in real life. With that change in perspective, I could see how the religion of the Bible keep a person as a child to a parent God, who is un-godlike and unloving.

I was still attending church at this time and feeling unbearable pressure from the pastor to evangelize everybody. I became convinced I was totally sinful and unloved by God, and I had a mental breakdown because of my fear and guilt feelings. The breakdown and recovery process required a total adjustment in my thinking. I had to reconsider and remodel my spiritual paradigm. The fear was intense at times, especially fears of going to hell. I had to keep reminding myself of how absurd it was to think a loving God would make a hell and banish people’s souls there. I had to retrain my mind and consider ideas I had been conditioned by religious leaders to distrust. The reconditioning process was mentally and emotionally painful and took many years. Today—nine years later—I am recovered, though I still have a frightful dream about needing to choosing Jesus or go to hell once in a great while. I no longer take the religions of the world seriously. It required a step of maturity to walk this path. It has been a growing experience and one that has left me happier and freer."