Throughout my life at school I felt like an outsider, not a lonely one (I did have friends, I just wasn’t popular) but a lucky one. Even though the children I sat next to in the classroom appeared happy and content, I knew that their lives were shallow, empty and above all sinful. It was obvious to me that they led a life of sin, their parents took them to pubs for meals, they watched television and probably ate takeaways in front of it on a Saturday night. To me their world was alien and even though I was desperate to be included, deep down I pitied them. Looking back now I think that that arrogance, hypocrisy and condescension was obvious to my peers; even if they couldn’t articulate it at such a young age.
At every stage of my education I was bullied and shunned. I used to take a certain pride in this, happy in the knowledge that it was because I was ‘different’ and not part of the herd. Now I look back I realise it was simply that they could see how much I looked down on them. The attitude of being literally ‘holier than thou’ pervades Christadelphianism, now that I am free of it, I can see how negatively it affected my life. At the age of 17 I was still living out the same routine with those around me – interacting with non-Christadelphians, but never being fully part of ‘The World.’ One day I was talking to an agnostic friend from school, patiently explaining to her that gay people were inherently sinful when she simply said to me “What is the harm in being gay? What is it about it that’s wrong?” I didn’t have an answer.
I put the question to various Christadelphians; I brought it up in discussion groups and on one memorable occasion was informed that homosexuality was a sin because ‘the human anus is not large enough to accommodate the penis comfortably.’ It was obvious they didn’t have an answer either. I began to think that if Christadelphians could be so spectacularly wrong on that issue, then what else were they wrong about? Was any of it true at all?
I’m now an ardent atheist and can see why Christadelphians have created such a closed community. Talking to anyone outside ‘The Truth’ makes people question ‘The Truth.’ And once you starting picking away at it, ‘The Truth’ quickly unravels. I am now, for the first time, truly happy in my life and I can honestly say it has nothing to do with my background as a Christadelphian. In fact, much of my happiness is rooted in the complete freedom I now have from the guilt and negativity imbued in me by the Christadelphian faith.