Story of Recovery: Bill McCracken

I became a Christian during VBS at a small Baptist church in upstate NY. I responded to a Romans-Road-style invitation and was baptized a couple of week later. Throughout high school, I grew deeper in my faith while transitioning to the Pentecostal Holiness denomination. After high school, I attended a PH Bible college but didn't complete the schooling because I had never spoken in tongues, the sign to PH Christians that one was truly indwelt by the spirit of God.

I married a Christian girl from my church but because we both came from rocky childhoods, we never had the skills to work out our differences. We felt we could make it because we were both Christians with God on our side, but she had an affair and things fell apart. I was decimated and wondered where was the abundant life that Jesus promised me, the "wonderful plan" that God had for my life?

In my early thirties, I married another wonderful Christian lady and we've been together for over twenty years now. But I was constantly struggling with my spiritual walk due to issues like God-sanctioned immorality and nonsense in the Bible, the ineffacy of prayer, the hypocrisy and hatred seen in Christians, and the many contradictions found within the faith coupled with the admonishment not to question things.

The breaking point came for me when I had to pick up my hysterically crying son from Children's Church one day. The leader had shown my 5-year-old son a picture of a man engulfed in flames, his arms raised towards a non-hearing heaven, his face contorted with pain, and had told the class that this is what Jesus would do to them if they did not accept him as their personal lord and savior. I felt that this was serious psychological abuse to children and we moved more liberal/progressive in our Christianity after that.

But questions about hell, about suffering in this world, about the efficacy of prayer, and about the reality of the supernatural continued to haunt me. And I came to see that liberal/progressive Christianity simply interpret God or the Bible in the same context as the communities that gave us these sacred relics.

So I've left Christianity altogether now. To be honest, it hurt like hell. I didn't lose just a belief system, but a whole culture that I was raised in and that had become a huge part of my life. I miss the community and many of the loving people there. And yet I have found a whole new freedom in simply being who I am and in realizing the preciousness and uniqueness of life. This is the only life I get. I should make the best of it. And I should, as much as possible, help others along the way.