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Birth and Death of an Atheist

Testimony of G. Zeineldť Jordan, Se.


I will never be the same again. I will never return. Iíve closed the door.

I will walk the path. Iíll run the race. And I will never be the same again.

-Hillsongs of Australia

Throughout my life, I observed people behaving differently in church than in daily living. I found such hypocrisy all too common in church-going Christians. I also observed they would accept "sin" in their lives, confess it or answer an altar call on Sundays, then continue it the next week. That taught me sin was preferable over Godís design. I deduced God might not even exist; if He were real, people would not discard Him as they exited church doors. If God did exist, His design for man evidenced flaws. I had my own design: sex, drugs, rock íní roll, and a little bit of country.

In doubting Godís existence, I began doubting Christís historical existence. Let us face it: it is the most awesome story ever told. It is awesome beyond the basic resurrection aspect inasmuch as it represents love, forgiveness, and acceptance beyond manís comprehension. After all, my high school education included "facts" about human origin conflicting with the "Holy Book." My secular government education taught me many things opposite biblical teachings. By my early twenties, I simply did not believe the gospel message. Many times people asked me how I could not believe in God. Such people amazed me. Why the confusion?

"I donít believe it," I would answer. "I think itís a fairy tale with moral teachings intertwined. Further," I often said, "I think the Bible is used for milking money from the masses and controlling their minds and behavior."

I would say that as if I had some grip on controlling my mind and behavior. The fact of the matter is that my drug addiction had seized control of mine. I experienced continued failures the following years. In the end, when my size 30 pants grew baggy on me, and my eyes were ringed in that which remained of my eye sockets, I had failed my travel business, my clients, my family and friends, and my creditors. One drug buddy, Eddy, put a gun to his head and ended his agony. I considered following suit. Other drug buddies had either over dosed or were in prison.

One day, I took a ride, a long ride, up the California coast. I thought a lot, a whole lot. Still high as a kite on speed, I was arrested and the car impounded. I had lots of time to think throughout my stay in that northern California "County Hilton" that almost two-decade ago trip. More importantly, I had time to cry. For the first time in many years, I managed to shed a tear. Then I shed more, and more, and more. I thought of every person I had harmed. If tears had never "made the man," they made this one that day.

Possessing nothing but shame, disgrace, and unpaid bills, I appeared at Maís doorstep. She and my brother Tony nursed me back to health. I did not work for weeks. I ate, slept, and read. I survived. My drug addiction was behind me, and it has stayed there since. Praise God.

I had always enjoyed reading, particularly history. I found American history especially tantalizing. The more history I read, the more I despised Christians. I learned of my ancestors, the Portuguese. I learned of their conquering and enslaving African tribes, and their brutal treatment of peaceful natives who welcomed them as friends. Apparently, their Catholicism failed to circumvent their evil nature. I learned of the Spanish conquistadors doing the same in South America, and of the Spanish and Italian Inquisitions robbing the masses in the name of the church and Jesus Christ. I learned of the English Crusaders conquering, raping, and pillaging distant lands and claiming their spoils in the name of Christ. I read about Americaís Christians massacring American Indians who had welcomed them with open arms. Surely, I wanted no part of the evils of what following Christ represented. Christianity repulsed me. I was so repulsed I chose to battle it. I grew outraged at Christianity. I felt conned.

At age 28, I joined American Atheists, a national organization of like-minded infidels. I learned so much that soon I banned Bibles from my home. Someone could enter my home with muddy shoes, but Bibles had to be left at the door.

I described myself as philosophically agnostic, for I believed there is not enough evidence to prove or disprove the existence of God, and a practicing atheist, meaning I lived on the premise no God existed. As far as an outright label, I identified myself as a "freethinker." I retain that label today, second only to "Christian."

American Atheists offered me an outlet from which to spew forth my venomous anger about Christianity. American Atheists rented space at the Arizona State Fair in 1990, which provided me an opportunity to vent my anger publicly.

After a personal encounter with American Atheists president Madalyn Murray OíHair, I decided American Atheists was not worthy of my time and energy. I sensed ugliness and evil in her that her printed materials masked. I canceled my membership.

For family reasons, I relocated from Phoenix, Arizona, to Marietta, Georgia, in 1991. There I met up with the Atlanta Freethought Society (AFS), another group of infidels. It was a local chapter of the national Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

FFRF seemed to offer what I pursued. I strongly desired to be a part of Christianityís destruction. I wanted to contribute my small part in "restoring the wall of separation between church and state," a wall I would later learn was nonexistent. It was merely a phrase coined by Americaís third president, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to a Baptist congregation assuring them the federal government had no power to interfere with their religious practices.

The AFS seemed to offer the ideal activism. Their first pro-active event after I joined them was to display a "Jesus Christ is a Myth" banner in the park on the square in McDonough, Georgia in 1991. Being there made me feel a part of the educating of America. The event made national news.

One problem I encountered with atheistic organizations is that they seemed to require a religious reverence for their non-religion. When OíHair visited Phoenix for a solstice celebration, members argued over which blessed atheist would buy her dinner, drive her around, lay out red carpet, etc. Her papal arrival had me wonder if I could cure my cigarette smoking addiction by touching the hem of her garment.

I let my AFS and FFRF memberships lapse because I tired of the continued bickering amongst members about what "freethought" should mean. The local AFS chapter later severed its tie with the FFRF after its president, Tom Malone, pouted over a disparaging remark made by the FFRF. Later, other members split off to form Humanists of Georgia, while others stayed behind to argue about trivial matters as if they were of national interest. I would join again, lapse again, and so on. I grew unfavorably impressed by how the "intellectual elite" couldnít seem to get along even on a local level. I often described them as the "Catholics and Baptists going at it again."

I did not like Christians, and I would have nothing to do with someone once I learned of their Christianity. Then in 1992 I met a man named Jim. I learned of his Christianity, but I liked him anyway. I respected his honesty, intelligence, and good character. We became friends despite our disparate theistic positions. He made an example of not condemning, but trusting his light to shine onto me. That shocked me because I had grown accustomed to "religious fanatics" attempting to force other people to conform to their religiosity or spewing forth condemnation on dissenters. Jim accepted me as a friend and left the rest of the work to the "Holy Spirit." His attitude and obedience to the Lord opened the door for someone else who would show me just who Jesus Christ really was, is, and will always be.

It happened one day as I scanned the radio dial. I came across an argument between an atheist and a Christian. The Christian was former U.S. Congressman-turned-radio-talk-show-host Patrick L. Swindall. The caller expressed his venomous anger towards Christians. The host behaved much like my friend Jim. The Christians I usually heard debating atheists cut off callers very quickly when the callers spoke outside a "Praise the Lord" direction. Not that Swindall fellow, though. He treated the caller with utmost respect and patience. To me, Swindall won the debate hands-down merely because of his manner. I listened to the rest of his show. Then I listened daily. His politics intrigued me. Every political solution he espoused met the concerns of atheist activists and honored the rights of Christians. I grew to admire Swindall. I eventually sent him a letter commending him on his show, his politics, and his religiosity. He responded with an invitation to my wife, Vickie, and me for lunch, and drove half way across the Atlanta metropolis to meet us. He shared his personal testimony. He did not convince me of Godís existence at that luncheon, but he demonstrated true Christian outreach. I grew so impressed with his politics and religiosity I decided to write about him, for I felt even we atheists