Nick David Wright

Living well, laughing often, loving much.

How fundamentalism sabotaged my life

with 2 comments

I recently picked up the book “I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing,” by Kyria Abrahams, from the library.

It’s a story about a girl growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, later to be “disfellowshipped.” I’m not particularly interested in reading about that group of folks but a snippet from the cover jacket caught my eye …

“… explores the ironic absurdity of growing up believing that nothing matters because everything’s about to be destroyed.”

And that resonated with me, because that’s exactly how I grew up.

I wasn’t taken to particularly extreme churches as a child, but the groundwork was laid. And when I found myself cast out of my mother’s house after turning 18, newly married and out in the real world on my own for the first time in my life, that early conditioning took control.

I never finished high school. I was failed my senior year for handing out “Chick tracts,” and I didn’t go back. College was out of the question because the rapture would happen any minute, why waste time in class when I could be out “winning souls.” Not that — to my knowledge — I ever actually won any souls. Funny how constantly arguing with people about how wrong they are tends to turn them away.

Eventually I realized how insane I was being and quit. Quit everything to do with Christianity. In fact, I declared myself pagan. But by that time the damage was done. I was too busy earning a living to go back to school. I’d found myself a career that I was good at that didn’t require schooling (photojournalism) and I coasted on that for nearly 10 years.

Now here I am 31 years old, working on finishing that high school diploma and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. One thing I will be doing … living.

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Written by Nick David Wright

December 29, 2009 at 2:59 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Have you still quit Christianity? Not all Christians are so eschatologically focused (focused on the end times)as that! If you have any desire you should check out Eastern Orthodoxy. It is the oldest tradition of Christianity, even older than Protestantism and Catholicism. While we expect the “end of the world” we’re definitely not all fire and brimstone and sitting on our hands while we await some kind of rapture.

    Doulos

    December 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    • If when you say Christianity you mean following the words of Christ — specifically where he tells everyone that the only thing that matters is loving one another — then yes, I am a Christian.

      But if by Christianity you mean following some modern day institution that claims to be the oldest/most historical/most righteous branch of a particular religion (and most of them do); then no, I still have nothing to do with that.

      I intuitively knew when I quit Christianity, that love was what mattered. Even though I couldn’t quite put it into words at the time. And that fundamentalist Christianity (fundamentalist anything really) was sorely lacking in love. Paganism taught me to put that belief into words, and then I was amazed when after several years I re-read Christ’s words to find that Love was all he taught.

      Nick David Wright

      December 31, 2009 at 9:56 am


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