My Old Journal

by Luke Muehlhauser on July 24, 2009 in General Atheism,Video

Me and my brother. I'm the scary one.

Cleaning my room today, I came across an old diary of mine.

In case anyone doubts my story – that I grew up an earnest, honest, and devoted lover of Jesus – I thought I’d share some diary excerpts. These excerpts, unfortunately, were not written during my later years of a more “mature” faith, but I think they reveal a bit about what it’s like to grow up an evangelical Christian.

Pardon the grammar and spelling; I’ve left it as it is.

Here’s me at age 9:

I had a 2 person church at home with mom today because I’m sick. I’ve mainly been thinking about things about God and stories in the bible. I really kind of feel sick, mainly a headache but a little stomach problems. I’ve notice how special a time is with your mom worshipping together.

A bit later:

Today at school we had someone do a show on lazers for us. He showed us how he liked to use lazers as an example of God.

Later:

I think it was a pretty good day, mainly because it’s a Saturday and there’s no school. God is trying to tell me that I don’t need a Super Nintendo. Alot of things happened today that made me come to that conclusion.

About how I would perform some group-choreographed Christian songs on Canadian cable TV:

I think God might use me and the many others for the Kings Kids performance to minister to the millions and millions of people that watch the show.

Shortly after this I didn’t journal for several years. I picked it up again at age 13. Obviously, I had hit puberty:

I hate school, but I’m trying to trust God to bring me through it and to give me a better attitude about life.

A bit later, doom and gloom continues:

I am weak in all areas of my life. Spiritual: I cannot hear God’s voice. Emotion: I break out in tears easily…

Now, jump to age 17:

I recently attended the One Thing conference in Kansas City, MO. I have determined to do a number of things; among them, to pursue a deep relationship with my savior, and sexual purity.

The next day, I decided I’d use the journal for something different:

Instead, I will use this journal to write about something much more interesting, spiritually edifying, and helpful; I will record prayers for my future wife, whom I believe God has already chosen for me, wherever she might be. So… here is the first:

Lord, I pray today that when she is feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or angry, that you would let her feel you wrap your arms around her in a tight embrace, and let her have you whisper in her ear, “I love you, my child.” Warm her heart. Let her understand that you delight in her; your own special creation, made perfectly the way you intended. Oh, and give her a hug from me, too…

A later prayer was a bit more honest:

Lord, this is a selfish prayer, but a humble request to you nonetheless. Please, please, please, I beg you: let her be hot, horny, and clean.

A few months later I stopped writing down prayers and wrote down thoughts instead:

My dad just yelled at me for listening to Tool, because they say “Fuck” alot. He said it was offensive. I don’t know what his problem is. I’ve chosen not to be offended by it. For his own reasons, I guess he has chosen to be offended by “fuck” but not “screw” or “copulate” or even “shag.”

I stopped journaling again a bit later.

I had started to forget what it was like to have an invisible friend, but these journal entries reminded me. I’d been trained to look for God’s activity everywhere. Everything was God: a feeling of happiness, a nice coincidence, a sunny sky, a feeling of guilt. As such, it was impossible to deny him.

I’d like to finish with something that used to be a big deal in the evangelical community when I was growing up: Does Christian heavy metal take people away from God? Here is Christian metal band Stryper debating a reverand who says their “flashy” and “rhythmic” shows distract people from the Holy Spirit:

Luckily, the evangelical Christian community has moved beyond such silliness. Now, it’s hung up on gays.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

corn July 24, 2009 at 10:25 am

If this isn’t proof that Rock & Roll leads children to Satan then I don’t know what is! If you had been listening to Amy Grant instead then perhaps your soul would still be in a state of grace, instead of heading for eternal damnation.

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Lorkas July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

God is trying to tell me that I don’t need a Super Nintendo.

Yet another thing that Christianity gets wrong.

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Haukur July 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Lorkas: Yet another thing that Christianity gets wrong.

You don’t need a Super Nintendo to play some awesome Bible Games!

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TinaFCD July 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

“God is trying to tell me that I don’t need a Super Nintendo.”

That is HILARIOUS!

If I found a journal of mine from when I was growing up, I would burn it.

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TinaFCD July 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm

In the case of the video, don’t they have rock and roll christian music now?

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Tengu July 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Hopefully you have figured out that LASER is spelt with an “S” not a “Z” since then;)
Thank you for sharing these memories.  As someone that was brought up in Catholic schools I don’t ever recall being quite so submerged in the propoganda.  But then we were also taught very clearly that Genesis was a metaphor and our biology lessons had a large amount of evolution theory.
I guess I should count myself lucky.  That and having a father that never professed any faith at all.

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Apollo July 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I have to salute your honesty Luke.  It is odd though that as a Christian you found no offense with the word “fuck” given what the NT demands. You know, having to give account for every word, etc. But, not having been raised in a Christian home maybe it is par for the course. Kind of a growth thing.

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Lee A. P. July 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I have to agree that:

“God is trying to tell me that I don’t need a Super Nintendo.”

……is a fucking RIOT! We could make that into some sort of internet comedy meme or something.

The “hot, horny and clean” prayer sort of confuses me. It seems like the type of thing an evangelical would think would offend God. I’m imagining that you were thinking that thinking those sort of things about your wife would be ok I guess. Thats just how close to God you felt, that you could openly confess your desire for a horny wife. Still, most evangelicals would shy away from that — but then again you were a teenager.

The “Tool” comments are a good example of your independent reasoning coming out. A bit Goerge Carlin-esq.

As far as Christian rock goes, my mentor in fudy christianity as a teen taught me that Rock music is derived from pagan, mostly african voodoo type drum beats and rythms. The lyrical content was irrelevent. The sounds were satanic.

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lukeprog July 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I love the line about the Super Nintendo, too, but I wish I could remember what this referred to: “Alot of things happened today that made me come to that conclusion.”

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Ryan July 24, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I’m going to rewrite one of your prayers to make it funnier:

“Lord, I pray today that when she is feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or angry, that you would let her feel you wrap your arms around her in a tight embrace, and let her have you whisper in her ear, ‘I love you, my child.’ Make sure she can feel your hot breath in her ear, Lord, then lick her in her ear. Then, Lord, slip your hand into her panties and well… You know what to do. Lord, screw her so hard she speaks in tongues and really feels the holy spirit!”

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Kip July 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

I recently came across my old journal from when I was a Christian.  Since you shared yours, I thought I’d share some from mine, too:
9/11/2000:

God has been with me – in me – in an amazing way.  I feel desperate for Him so much – not like I want to be yet.  I need to need him more.

9/16/2000:

The XA [Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship] retreat was good.  I got totally sensory overloaded – and I don’t think it’s good to make major decisions during that kind of disorientation – better to wait until I am more level headed.

9/25/2000:

Read more Leviticus.  Burning animals must stink – but God said it was a pleasing aroma!  Hmmm….

It’s definitely strange reading these things.  Especially the one from 9/11/2000 — I was obviously completely out of my mind.

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lukeprog July 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Interesting, Kip!

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John August 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

These make me cringe because I’m reminded of my own bout of delusional nonsense.  It’s all just one giant game of pretend that gets seriously out of fucking control.

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feralboy12 January 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I recently found a one-month diary of mine from October 1968, when I was nine.
There are a lot of “went to Church” entries. There are no details, no thoughts, nothing. Evidently it had very little impact on me, as though it was not relevant.
I am proud of this.

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lukeprog January 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

LOL.

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Amber October 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

Hi! I came across this on google. I’ve been reading all over your blog and I find it really intriguing. I am a christian, grew up in a christian home (protestant based, not catholic…so, evangelical I guess) and I can totally relate to your writings.
If there is any way you are able to contact me via email I would appreciate it. I am not looking to convert you, as most christians should know/believe (which they don’t) conversion does not exist through human means.
I definitely relate to those old blog entries as I look at my old ones. The whole “I’m so happy to have Jesus” and then “…why can’t I feel him if he is real?” feelings. I have always had a huge respect for agnostics, not so much atheists (of course probably for the same reason many atheist don’t respect christians) because of my ignorance of the belief/intellectual mindset. If you’re able to shoot me an email that would be great!
Thanks!

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