Another soul is led into the light.
Courtesy of The Christian Post:
Dave Gass, a former megachurch pastor who most recently led Grace Family Fellowship in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, has renounced his Christian faith as a system rife with abuse that caused him “mental and emotional breaks.”
“After 40 years of being a devout follower, 20 of those being an evangelical pastor, I am walking away from faith. Even though this has been a massive bomb drop in my life, it has been decades in the making,” he began in the thread before moving on to compare Scripture to Greek mythology.
“When I was in 8th grade and I was reading Greek mythology, it dawned on me how much of the supernatural interactions between the deity of the bible and mankind sounded like ancient mythology. That seed of doubt never went away,” he said.
He explained how he was raised in a “hyper-fundamentalist” Christian home where Christianity “didn’t work. The promises were empty. The answers were lies.”
Even so, he grew up to be a devout Christian who rarely missed church or failed to study Scripture.
“I was fully devoted to studying the scriptures. I think I missed maybe 12 Sundays in 40 years. I had completely memorized 18 books of the bible and was reading through the bible for the 24th time when I walked away,” he wrote.
Gass initially made his announcement in a serious of tweets that are now protected, but not before they were copied and spread all over social media.
There are some accusations that Gass had an affair, though that is not typically something that convinces a pastor to leave his faith.
Instead, it sounds like he experienced a slow realization:
“… The entire system is rife with abuse. And not just from the top down, sure there are abusive church leaders, but church leaders are abused by their congregants as well. Church people are just sh*tty to each other,” he continued. “I spent my entire life serving, loving, and trying to help people in my congregations. And the lies, betrayal, and slander I have received at the hands of church people left wounds that may never heal.”
He said he struggled so much with his church experience it began to affect his mental and ultimately physical health.
“This massive cognitive dissonance – my beliefs not matching with reality – created a separation between my head and my heart. I was gas lighting myself to stay in the faith. Eventually I could not maintain the facade anymore, I started to have mental and emotional breaks. My internal stress started to show in physical symptoms. Being a pastor – a professional Christian – was killing me,” Gass revealed.
Gass says that to save his mental health he felt the need to walk away from the church and its teachings.
I have to say that some of what Gass said was reflective of my own journey to Atheism.
I also took mythology classes and was struck by how similar the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian myths were to biblical stories I had learned in Sunday School.
I was already firmly grounded in my Atheism when I took a college class called “Comparative Religious studies,” but when I walked out of that class every shadow of a doubt had been wiped completely clean.
Essentially the more you learn about religion, the harder it is to be religious.
I am still waiting for the great enlightenment to spread across the world, but until then I will count every shrugging off of the trappings of primitive superstitions as one more sign of progress to eventually meeting that goal.