God is dead. I never thought I’d be pushed this far away from the lifestyle that seemed to plague my hometown of Southern, West Virginia, but here I am. I moved from the small town of Shady Spring, West Virginia, with a population that is less than the amount of trailer parks, to Muskegon, Michigan. The culture shock. Moving from a high school with a total of six-hundred, to a highschool with over two-thousand. Along with the change in population, came a change in values.
You see, West Virginia is the in the heart of the bible belt, which means, I was forced into a life of strict christianity. I began to feel resentful toward the faith when it began to limit enjoyment in life, deny chances at a better life, and become hypocritical in the way they conducted themselves. Toward the end of my middle school career I was given the choice to move and I jumped at the chance to escape a black hole of financial depression.
Little did I know, that it would change my entire look on religion and faith.
In the beginning, I was raised in a strict christian church with my grandfather being a preacher. There were many things that I wish I could do as a young boy but was not allowed such as watching Harry Potter, play sports, or even wear certain clothing. I know it seems mundane, but this was just the beginning of me distancing myself from religion.
Hypocrisy is the root of all evil, at least that’s how I see it.
Protestant christianity has been one of the most hypocritical things I have ever gone through. The people that preach acceptance are the first ones to bring you down. Weather you were a musician, an athlete, or just trying to better your financial position it is looked down upon. The constant reprimand for doing things like playing music, playing sports, and even watching certain TV shows that I received was absurd. I was a typical kid. I loved video games, Harry Potter movies, and rock music. That lead me to getting to even more trouble with the church.
The church I attended was, in fact, the church my great grandfather preached at. With around 15-20 members there was not a thing you could without the entire church knowing. Beginning to question, I though, “is this a religion? Or a cult?” This question really stuck with me. The question that I had were never answered, only chastised and buried. You see, I saw religion not as a belief system to help you grow, but as a barrier blocking out the importantancy of your time on Earth. I refused to drink the Kool-Aid, in fact, I poured it all over the ground.
With the move, came an adjusting period. I moved 600 miles from my hometown in a world where not everyone knew their neighbor, and not everyone went to church on Sundays. I left most of my family behind, but the opportunity to escape the irrational belief system that kept me looking over my shoulder like a skitzophrenic was well worth it. The move also presented me with an opportunity to ask the questions I always wanted to, and to find people with other belief systems to take interest. The culture was so different that at first it was difficult to adjust, but I learned to prefer it. I learned of topics that I was sheltered from and it began to give me more perspective.
To this day, I am no longer religious. I learned to understand that underneath a mask of positivity and a promise of paradise was the ugly, mincing face of hatred and greed. The move has made me a better person with a better understanding of people and the lives we live. I was able to have opportunities that would have never been possible in that tiny town of Shady. God is dead. That statement is powerful and often misunderstood. Their God is dead. Is there one out there? I’m not sure, but one thing is for sure, no God would never condone something as manipulative as my church in the bible belt.