Preston Simpson said:
I'm an ex-Christian, now a skeptic...
Phil Morrison asked:
I will be interested in a fuller explanation, having been tempted to leave Christianity...
Preston Simpson answered:
I was saved at the age of 12. I was very much into it, and tried hard to live the life of a Christian. I succumbed to the occasional temptation, but I still always asked God for forgiveness, and prayed to him on regular occasions.
The time came when I discovered that God, if he existed, didn't care. When I was 15, my parents started having some rather harsh marital difficulties. My mother was a recently-converted fundamentalist, and my father didn't care much for her attitude.
I prayed that God would make the trouble stop, that everything would return to normal, and that our family would still be whole. Nothing of the sort happened. My parents are now quite separated. This fine, wonderful God and his son whom I was taught to believe cared about people didn't do squat. I suffered from more psychological and emotional stress during that period than I had ever suffered in my life before that time. (A not inconsiderable amount, my father being a habitual drinker and prone to violent mood swings when drunk.) I prayed to God, begged him, pleaded with him, and got precisely zero in return.
The clincher in all of this came when I was living with my mother, a woman who believed firmly in praying in tongues, faith healing, rebuking "unnatural" storms in the name of Jesus, and the like. She was also something of an evangelist, and tried very hard to make me fit into her little cookie-cutter idea of what a "true Christian" was. I didn't fit, and never would; I've always been too strong-willed to succumb to any definition so narrow in scope. I decided to move back in with my father in a last-ditch effort to retain my sanity after two rather close brushes with suicide and development of combat fatigue.
I have since reached the conclusion that God has shown no evidence of himself to me outside of his Bible (a highly suspect work that has some merit as a literary accomplishment... but not much in the way of historical fact or real guiding spiritual principles), and that any God whose followers claim I must worship him or spend eternity in hell, when said God by their own admission has murdered little children, is not any God that I would ever again willingly worship. I rule my life according to my own moral principles, having a few moral absolutes and leaving the rest to situational ethics. I trust my own judgment more than I trust that of a God who never said a word to me.