The young NJ : Apathetic Christian - Atheist

I wanted to share some of the old me.  I feel like it's important for non believers to see that not everyone starts out as a a Christian.

Before September, 2001, I considered myself some sort of apathetic Christian.  I believed in God, but only as a genie who granted wishes to those in his favor.  As a result, I believed that praying in God led to great things and Christians were some how raised above society, destined to live lives of comfort and ease.  I didn't go to church but I prayed at night, speaking to God much like I would a friend, and usually asking for good grades.

If someone handed me a calendar, I wouldn't have been able to point to Easter.  I had no idea what month it was in.  I also - and this is embarrassing to admit - believed that Christmas was December 24th.  And the resurrection of Christ?  I had no idea that he actually rose from the dead.  In my mind, it was a metaphor. 

I thought I'd go to heaven when I died. 

Now, at the time, I was in high school and my lunch table consisted of a devout Mormon, a boy converting to Mormonism to be with the devout Mormon (they are now married with 3 kids), a born again Christian, a life long Christian and several atheists.  We had many discussions about God, and one day, the life long Christian told me, flat out, that I wasn't going to heaven. 

Talk about a slap in the face.

I was both hurt and insulted.  Hurt that she thought I wasn't going to heaven and insulted that she hadn't made an effort to save me.  But it got me thinking about the afterlife and after tons of lunch room talks, somehow, I ended up leaning toward the aesthetic side. I hadn't officially picked a side, just started leaning toward them.

Then in September, 2001, an acquaintance - a freshman boy who LOVED Jesus - was murdered in the neighborhood next to ours.  It was a completely senseless killing.  I went to his memorial and so many people stood and talked about his love of Jesus, but I didn't get it.  Why had Jesus done this to a young boy who loved him?

That's when I gave up on God.  Afterall, if believing in God got you killed, I wanted nothing to do with him.

So began my atheist life.  Thankfully, God didn't give up on me, even though I began criticizing his followers. In college, I recognized the whole in my life came from turning my back on him and I started the long journey to become a Christian.

But let me go back.

A friend of mine said that he didn't understand why people turn away from God in times of crisis.  It's in those times, he said, that people should turn to God.

I didn't understand that.  For me, it had been the very opposite.  But I didn't have faith then.  I didn't want to invest in a relationship, to put in the work on my end to get to know Christ.  So I blamed him, then turned my back.

If you're at this point, or you've been here, know that God hasn't turned his back on you.  But it's up to you to make the move and start the conversation.  Ask God why.  Ask God to help you deal with the grief.  Tell God you're angry, sad, disappointed.  Tell him you don't believe.  Ask if he's real.