A personal, lifelong journey toward being Agnostic

religionThis is one of the most difficult stories I have ever written, and it’s extremely personal. It pains me to write this, but I feel I must. Recent world events have broken the camel’s back. The more I wept for humanity, the more I realized I have lost my faith in God, gods, the justice system, government and any and all religion.

However, being raised a Fundamentalist Christian, religion is a difficult concept to reject, and the fear of consequences is very real. There is a level of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that only people like me can relate to.

I was raised as a Lutheran, Missouri Synod, a very conservative sect of that church. It’s like being Catholic without all the fun (Catholics should be snickering at that). There were no Confession rituals so I had to carry the guilt around like a soldier. Onward Christian Soldiers?

I also attended Lutheran private school. Six days a week of indoctrination along with a confirmation and all the other rituals, like taking Holy Communion. During my time at the Lutheran private school, I was told crazy lies. Going to Hell and all the regular stuff Fundamentalist survivors talk about.

“Don’t believe the devil,

I don’t believe his book,
But the truth is not the same,
Without the lies he made up.” 

One lie that stood out was when my fifth grade teacher told us that all men have one less rib than women because God had taken a rib from Adam to create Eve. I questioned my mother about this and her head practically exploded. My parents were paying a lot of money for this education. Four children plus tithing 10% of their income to the school was no small thing.

Religion in AmericaSo the rib story brought my mother, with her British accent, into a shouting match with the principal, so loud she sounded like a hooligan at an English football game. Meanwhile, I sat in the administrators office with my head hung low.

As life went on, things grew very difficult. When I was 19, my father, an aerospace engineer for NASA died of heart disease at age 51. He was a quiet man who couldn’t speak about his work. That’s probably why he had a heart attack at 42.  

I still miss his logical responses to my questions. He always said that the first chapter of the Bible was physically impossible. That helped. He took me and my siblings to the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles several times to look through the humongous telescope and reminded us that those were the heavens.

“Don’t believe in excess,

Success is to give.
Don’t believe in riches,
But you should see where I live.
I…I believe in love.”

A few years later, at 23 years old, I was engaged and pregnant. My fiancé was an atheist and wanted nothing to do with the church. That was where I crossed the line and I refused to marry him. After my son was born, because I was a single mother, my son’s baptism and dedication would have to take place in a back room with family and friends only. They would not do it in front of the congregation. Disgusted, I went home and baptized my son in the kitchen sink, which became one of his favorite stories about his upbringing.

Religion in AmericaI decided not to bring my son to church or Sunday school. I knew from experience how scary it is to have strangers tell you about eternal torment, demons, and what have you. Instead, I just bought an illustrated children’s Bible and read nightly stories to him. I saved the crucifixion of Jesus for when he was about four years old, but when I read it to him, his response was, “Oh man, I liked that guy.”  Sort of like an action figure.

Later on when my son was about 10, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) went mainstream. It became a joke between my son and I when bad things happened. However, the teachings of Jesus still resonated with him. We volunteered at the inter-faith food pantry where goods were collected from local churches and stored in the basement of a local synagogue. We went every Tuesday night and prepared 100 bags of groceries for under-privileged people to pick up Friday morning.

“Don’t believe in forced entry,

Don’t believe in rape,
But every time she passes by,
Wild thoughts escape.”

In 2000, I met the man who would become my ex- husband. He had attended Lutheran Bible Institute and Concordia University, majoring in world religions. He was pre-seminary, could quote the Bible, was tremendously charismatic, and treated me really well. Until we got married, that is. After that, it was all downhill.

A month before our wedding, I found out that he’d had an affair with an ex-girlfriend prior to getting engaged. I figured that if that’s what he had to do to sort things out, so be it. My sister advised me to get over it. I still thought at age 39 that I had hit the Christian jackpot and that my father would be proud.

He ended up being a pathological liar, charming, but sociopathic, physically and mentally abusive, addicted to pain pills, alcohol, and porn. Not to mention he was totally irresponsible to boot. Whenever I wanted to do the “right thing” he fought me tooth and nail.

I finally left and it was the best thing I ever did. Basically, he used me to raise his sons. I will never regret that, since they have never been arrested, but the loss still haunts me. I didn’t give up my commitment to them until they had moved out of the house.

“I don’t believe in Death Row,

Skid Row or the gangs.
Don’t believe in the Uzi,
It just went off in my hand
I…I believe in love.”

Since the “War on Terror,” I’ve had to reflect deeply. I couldn’t relate to things being said by the Bush Administration about our “Christian Nation.” They were ignoring that America was founded upon Religious Freedom. I watched Colin Powell present bogus evidence about Weapons of Mass Destruction to the United Nations. My heart sank, and stayed that way for three weeks. Next thing I knew there were troops not only in Afghanistan, but in Iraq. Why? They didn’t seem to have anything to do with the 9/11 attacks.

Religion in AmericaI wrote a story a year or so back called “George Bush Ruined all My Relationships” and he did. I tried so hard to hold onto faith in God, but things got worse and worse and worse. Politicians were quoting the Bible and saying that God had told them to do certain things. This resonated with a lot of Fundamentalist Christians, but not with me. I had never experienced anything like that, and couldn’t believe God was literally speaking to these people.

I just knew to not lie, cheat, steal, and to respect the 10 Commandments. I learned to be empathetic and charitable. Remembering the Vietnam war and Nixon, there was something about this dichotomy presented by Bush and his cronies that rang false. Yet many of my family and friends fell for it. These rifts between us turned to hate, and that is how I parted ways with many loved ones.

“Don’t believe them when they tell me,

There ain’t no cure.
The rich stay healthy,
While the sick stay poor.
I…I believe in love.”

Religion in AmericaFast forward to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Just another day, huh? The War on Terror has become a way of life here in America. The blame game is circular and never-ending. To alleviate the stress, I watched a lot of stand up comedians on Netflix. Bill Burr, particularly, was hilarious. One thing he said about religion was, “I try so hard to be good but what am I going to do?  When I get to heaven and God plays a DVD of my life, I’m just going to have to tell him, you created this mess, why are you judging me?”

I love the teachings of Jesus. Basically, it boils down to help the poor and the needy. After the Midterm Elections, 92% of Congress say they are Christian. But I believe this is merely a show put on to garner votes. These people are not speaking from their hearts, nor are they true to the spirit of Christ’s words. They are the same as a crooked preacher, exhorting about the Gospel, all the while stealing money from the weak and the old. It’s sickening.

“Don’t believe in Goldman

His type like a curse.
Instant karma’s going to get him.
If I don’t get him first.”

Religion in AmericaI don’t associate with “religious people” very much, if at all. If someone has to talk about their religion, I’m immediately turned off. This may disappoint some that read this. But I just cannot accept how much pain has been caused because of religion. Vicious gossip amongst Christians, including my own family, about others’ beliefs is a form of abuse. It’s not physical, but mental, emotional, and definitely spiritual.

Religion has been hell on earth for me. Friends tell me that Satan attacks Christians, and whatever else. This constant dissemination of their mythology only frustrates me. I have given up on all of it. I love myself too much to engage in this. I would rather walk an ethical path in elegance and grace.  

Nobody has forced their beliefs on me or persuaded me to change myself except for Christians. I cannot buy into it anymore. I don’t believe the Bible. I don’t believe any other religion, nor am I interested in trying any of them out. I just know that people who constantly trumpet about their religion, regardless of what it is, are not for me.

Mind your own damn business. Leave me alone. I want nothing to do with any of it anymore.

“Don’t believe that rock ‘n’ roll,

Can really change the world.
As it spins in revolution,
It spirals and turns.
I…I believe in love.”

I have lost all faith in God as defined by Fundamentalist Christians. I can look at the heavens and know that science explains some forms of creation. I believe there is a power greater than myself in that I cannot make a flower blossom, a tree grow, or a baby grow from a zygote into a person.

However, since I stopped believing that God is going to make everything alright, and started taking 100% responsibility for my life, I am happier. I don’t feel let down. I had been sabotaging myself that way. The reason why I am who I am is not because of anyone but myself. It is about being an ethical and honest human.

“Heard a singer on the radio late last night.

He says he’s gonna kick the darkness,
’til it bleeds daylight.
I…I believe in love”

Religion in AmericaIn the late 1980’s, U2 had a live album called Rattle and Hum. The things lead singer Bono said resonated with me and for over 20 years, I have taken the words to heart.  I know he believes in God. but he doesn’t give in to the dogma. He has been a savior, because he calls out Christians on their bullshit. Bono inspired me to be an activist in my early 20’s, and I remain on that path.

“Don’t believe in the 60’s,

The golden age of pop.
You glorify the past,
When the future dries up.”

In closing, believe what suits you. I realized that religion and faith is not a crutch, it is a fairy-tale. A fairy-tale with a very unhappy ending. What does work is love. Love wins. It always wins, regardless of religion or judgment, ritual or voodoo. If I have a religion, it is Love.

“I feel like I’m falling

Like I’m spinning on a wheel.
It always stops beside of me,
With a presence I can feel
I…I believe in love.”~ God Part II, U2

Hi everyone! I am a prior litigation paralegal and graduate of the UCLA paralegal program. My undergraduate studies were at University of Nevada, Las Vegas majoring in Sociology and minoring in Business. Adding law heightened my analytical skills of legal issues, social issues and I worked on several high profile class action cases against BMW; Microsoft; General Motors; 24 Hour Fitness; Airborne vitamin supplement and several other class action cases that were litigated U.S. Federal Courts. I love writing about political and consumer protection issues and proud to be a contributor for Quietmike.org.


  1. It is a difficult time to be an actual church-going, practicing Christian who can honestly say that his orientation toward the Creation and all that live therein finds its basis in the Christian paradigm. But, I am one.

    It is especially difficult to be one of the above on this site, where positive words about religion in general or religion in particular are typically only found in responses that I write to articles that paint religion in general or in particular with a right wide brush and which approach it with an amazingly inadequate and undersized understanding of, again, how religion has historically functioned in communities large and small since cave-dwellers began drawing on the walls of their homes. Or, how it has positively functioned in the lives of individuals who were part of those communities large and small.

    I’m well-acquainted with the philosophical and functional dynamics of “religion,” having spent a career researching and teaching it; i.e., the Philosophy of Religion, Comparative Religions, and various iterations of New Testament studies. I’m equally well-acquainted with the Bible and understand it for what it is as a sacred text and what it is not as a sacred text.

    I am more than aware of the abuses and misuses of Christianity as well as other religions down through the centuries and more than aware of the price people have paid for those abuses and misuses. And, as a clinician as well as researcher, more than aware of just how often religious ideation shows up in the pathology of individuals and groups.

    In other words, though a person of faith, I think it a good idea to keep a critical distance between myself and the institutional beliefs and actions that replaced the Christian movement in the fourth-century. And, I do.

    It always saddens me to read about or listen to people who have been victimized or abused by unfortunate representations of my faith or by unfortunate representatives of my faith. I am saddened to read about your experiences and the experiences of others on this board. I read nothing here that I haven’t read or heard before, except that this time the story is yours and not Sally’s or Jim’s or whoever’s. But reading it or listening to it on a fairly frequent basis has not hardened me to it. Which is why it continues to sadden me.

    Religion(s) in general and in particular have much to answer for.

    But, I did think it necessary, as a person of faith who critically examines his faith on a fairly frequent basis, to offer at least one good word for, well, “the religious life.” I suppose I am fortunate in that it has served me well and has sent me forth into every corner of the planet—at one time or another—to serve the Creation. And, as opposed to closing me off and limiting my horizons, it has opened me to people and experiences I would never have otherwise known and/or experienced. I am deeper and wider for it.

    Having sailed all my life, I find it a good metaphor for my religious experience: I caught a good wind, raised my sails and would take nothing for the directions in which I have been taken.

  2. I was raised a Baptist in rural Texas by a preacher’s daughter. I switched to the Episcopal church after my divorce. Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted and tried to believe in God but my common sense always popped its head up saying “do you really buy into this?” Even as I was going through a series of major medical crises I couldn’t bring myself to accept the fairy tales. I once asked my husband if he believed in God to which he replied that he did and when I asked why, he answered “because you’re supposed to.” WHOA! That answer just cleared up all the indecision I had been wrestling with through the years. I have made my decision to go with what is proven and can be explained. It just makes sense!


  3. Thank you – I liked that article. It very closely mirrors my beliefs. I think there is quite a bit of good stuff in the Bible (commandments, poetry, stories, history, etc.) but that it should never be taken literally. I can believe in a god, but he, she or it, cannot be pinned down by dogma. That`s enough for now! …

  4. Missing limbs, bier4u? Ugh. I despise that false “logic”, lol.

    What is overlooked by all too many of both fundamentalists and their opposites is that much of the bible is symbolic and allegorical; after all, Jesus used parables to teach, did he not? I was fortunate enough to have been raised in a denomination that believes in using the brain, not strict interpretations of what they decided that the Bible says (Disciple of Christ). I understand how Michelle got to where she is; it’s my belief that those who can’t abide a differing interpretation of what the Bible says are those with the weakest faith.

  5. I read of your journey out of organized Religion. My journey starts somewhat differently. I am male, no pregnancy, no abusive spouse, and older. By the time of Bush/ Cheney, we see things the same. I once took an academic philosophy course: Teachings of Jesus without the rituals and “miracles”. Like you, I have found an acceptable set of principles without the benefit of clergy.

  6. We (humans) find solace and strength in our beliefs, stories, heritage, myths, and so forth. We all need something to hang our hat on. These are intangible items that often cannot be proved. But once learned and observed, they become part of us. Good, bad, or indifferent. Regarding religion, it drives some to peace, and others to drink. It drives some people to love, and others to hate. Which brings us to the one universal truth: There will always be good and evil in every thing.

    • “Regarding religion, it drives some to peace, and others to drink. It drives some people to love, and others to hate. Which brings us to the one universal truth: There will always be good and evil in every thing.”

      Which makes everything meaningless if the “thing” is not living up to par.
      If religion is supposed to to be a source for good but is also detrimental, then religion is meaningless.
      Same logic applies to when a person who calls themselves your friend, betrays you, they are not your friend.
      Protecting religious beliefs is like protecting the right to drive drunk…it doesn’t make sense.
      If religion had a more philosophical approach rather than a dogmatic one, there would be an understanding that ppl have their own ways of dealing with their lives, however when dogma is a part of the picture, then there is only one way, one truth and one life according to the adherent, and we see what sort of mess that makes.

  7. Once again deep study of the Bible and all it’s contradictions and tales of talking snakes, a wooden staff that turns into a snake and then back again, a burning, talking bush, a women instantly turning into a pillar of salt, a story of a flood that had it really happened (it didn’t) would have killed some 30 million, a prophet that supposedly walks on water, can heal the sick (oddly though no missing limbs are regrown) is killed and rises from the dead (2 or more books in the New Testament has several conflicting versions of this though) and then the fact that science disproves without a shadow of a doubt (at least for those of us that choose facts and reason over fairy tales and myths) that all religion is 99.9% likely just stories made up by men for men (the misogynistic tone is glaring all through the Bible) and has no proof of anything, but is believed by the gullible and ignorant. The Bible (read critically) is still the best tool to combat the myths and fairy tales and it helps create more atheists than any other thing. Congratulations to you for accepting facts and reason over the man made and written “books” that make up the most misunderstood and crappy piece of literature that has ever scammed mankind.

        • All religions are a crook of shit, IMO. Each and everyone thinks “their way is the right way, their god is the only god.” Just a bunch of pompous SOB’s condemning others to the mythical pits of hell because they don’t believe their particular brand of fairy tale. The extremists will murder you if you don’t believe like they do……….they might just murder you anyway aka ISIL

    • Funny, only these so called miracles happened more than a thousand years ago……to bad they didn’t have cell phones cameras. Could have videoed the talking snakes and taken “selfies” with jesus. Personally I would have loved to have that wine to water recipe. Perhaps “god” has moved on to another galaxy worth saving. LOL

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