Breaking Free

Question from Josh:
I’m making a big decision. For many years, I have been attracted to the same sex, but I have also been a church-goer all my life and a convinced born-again Christian since I was 9. I’m now 17 and have made the decision to stop fighting the “sin” and free myself from the guilt and restrictions of Bible Christianity.

My mom is a Christian and she is very strict when it comes to what I can and cannot do. I see nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality, and the fact that I’ve been attracted to men for so long shows me that it cannot be helped. I see that now!

My problem is that I’m still living at home right now and I’m probably going to end up going to a Bible college. Not that there’s anything bad about that. I can still get a good education, but the rules tend to be very strict. My mom would rather me not go to secular college, but she does say it’s up to me, and my dad couldn’t care less.

My question is: as I decide to switch over to homosexuality and release myself from the bounds of religion, how can I overcome the guilt that comes with going against what the Bible or Christianity says?

Answer by SmartLX:
The short answer is to hang in there. If it doesn’t quickly wear you down and drag you back to the church, post-religion guilt (I call it faithdrawal) will fade over time. The constant religious reinforcement to which you’ve subjected yourself for eight years is a big part of why you’ll feel guilty; when you’re not getting that anymore and you have a chance to think, you’ll be surprised how differently and how much less strongly you feel about it all.

Speaking of which, I wouldn’t recommend going to a Bible college.
- Depending on your major, being a Bible college degree might be a real liability when you’re going for a job. The most obvious examples are majors in areas with faith-fueled controversy, like biology or meteorology. (If you’re doing law it’s a double-edged sword; some firms might be wary but Liberty Counsel or the Alliance Defense Fund would welcome you.)
- Most everyone around you would be immersed in the kind of fundamentalist Christianity you’ve just chosen to escape. Besides the possibility of being sucked back in through peer pressure and propaganda, it can only be a distraction from your studies. Also, if word gets around that you’re leaning away from “Biblical Christianity”, there could be a general effort by your teachers and peers to re-convert you, avoid you or drive you out.
- Some Bible colleges expressly forbid homosexual orientation or activity, and even those that allow it generally frown upon it. You up for four years in the closet, or four years fending off “ex-gay” recruiters?

I can’t speak from experience, but I gather that starting to live openly as a gay man isn’t easy even without all the religious crap. You’re in for a tough time, but you’re going in with your eyes open so I reckon you’ll be all right.