In 2010, I approached many Chrisitan churches and spoke to many different Christians. I've had friends who were Christian over the years and a relationship with a Christian.
For a whole year I would stay up night after night researching Christianity and reading everything I possibly could about it. I was sincerely open minded to it, in fact that is not entirely true- I would say I actually wanted to believe in Christianity and I wanted to find the proof that the claims Christians made were true.
All I can say is that after a year of searching even trying out "sincere prayers" to the Christian God, that I have not found the evidence.
It is very easy when researching Christianity to get drawn straight into the different interpretations of the Bible, without stepping back and asking the wider questions like "what actually is the bible?" and "how did the bible come to get put together?" and "is the bible the literal word of god?".
My experience is that when you talk to Christians about what they believe and ask them to justify their beliefs, they will simply start quoting from the Bible to "prove" that what they are saying must be true. That's why it is so easy to get drawn into a debate where the underlying assumption is basically that the bible is true and it's just a matter of deciphering what the different parts of it mean.
I admit I was drawn in by this approach at first and spent a long time simply trying to figure out which variant of Christianity was the "true" variant and most accurately reflected what was taught in the Bible.
The trouble is that even with this method of approaching the question- you are met with literally numerous opinions as to what different people think the Bible is really teaching. With all the numerous different "camps" each claiming to have the right answers, it simply became overwhelming, confusing and frustrating.
I guess I was stuck in that mindset for almost a year - and approached lots of different Christians during that time.
I have to say that during my time pursuing Christianity and more specifically whether or not Christianity offered answers to lifes biggest questions, I was continually left feeling the the "answers" provided by Christians were simply unreasonable and backed by no evidence other than quotes from the Bible.
For example, can it be right that the only people going to heaven are a select group of Christians? The rest of the planet is doomed and will face eternal punishment at the hands of God. I found so many problems with this idea. Firstly, our lives are so short- is it reasonable of God to expect us in this short time to figure out what it is we need to do in order to determine our eternal fate? And secondly, what really is the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian who is a perfectly decent, perfectly "moral", perfectly kind-hearted human being? I think when you step back and look at that objectively, there's really nothing that makes the Christian any more "special" or somehow worthy of this eternal paradise than the average decent person.
If anything, the Christian comes off as slightly less of a well developed human being when they start asserting reasons why the other person is likely to go to hell or perish at the hands of God due to the fact they do not have a certain set of beliefs.
Continuing the last point, it can be witnessed time and time again that Christians make all of the same mistakes as any other ordinary person. Despite all the talk, all the rhetoric, there really is nothing that is "whiter than white" or "purer than pure" about the average Christian. The ONLY difference in this respect between a Christian and the average decent person in terms of making mistakes in life is that the Christian feels that all non-christians will face severe consiquences for their mistakes, whereas they only need to say "sorry" to God, and they are "forgiven". Given that God does not directly talk to people and tell them that they are forgiven, this is obviously a self-serving assumption on the part of the Christian. The idea that everybody else who makes mistakes is in the wrong, but the Christian is OK due to the assumption that God forgives them smacks of arrogance and double standards.
A great example when it comes to double standards is on the issue of sex. Christians are so happy to lecture everybody else about the "sins" in regard to sex outside of marriage or particular sex acts, or masturbation or controlling sexual urges and so on. Yet the fact is, I've known enough Christians to know that they have absolutely NO RIGHT what so ever to have this "holyer than thou" attitude. What they say in public will be completely different to what goes on "in secret". Before I knew too many Christians, I had no idea that all the supposedly "sinful" things that they preach against are all things they have been engaged in at one time or another anyway!! The Christian response to this is usually "well that was wrong what they did and you must have simply known some Christians who did not really measure up to what we aspire to" blah blah blah. The fact is that is just more TALK. They have no right to lecture anybody else and assume a "morally superior" position.
The simple fact is NO ONE has the right to tell you that because you do not believe in the things they believe or belong to their little group, that God rejects you and will throw you away into the lake of fire or to imply that they are somehow more special than you are. Just because someone reads the bible and says they believe in Jesus, makes them no more important, no more special and most definately by no means more morally developed than any other human being.
A good example of this is that I have witnessed a great many occasions where being met with situations where others are suffering in some capacity, a Christian will say "I will pray for you". This simply is another way of saying "I will do absolutely nothing to help you, but I will pray so that it makes me feel better about myself". It would be far better rather than saying "I will pray for you" simply to get off your arse and help the person out and take some action that is going to be of real benefit to people who are suffering.
This article might give the impression that I am bitter toward Christianity. I have to be honest and say there are certain charactaristics which I have found amoung the Christians I've met which annoy me. However - when it comes to the wider picture of Christianity itself, I can't say I have any hard feelings at all. These are all just my personal experiences and the people I've encountered and I'm by no means saying ALL Christians behave in the ways I have listed. I don't as a matter of fact rule out the existance of God nor of Jesus Christ, nor do I rule out the possibility that there is an afterlife. Nor do I reject major moral teachings found in Christianity. I simply reject the organised religion aspect and the whole organised religion mindset- the "I'm saved, you're eternally damned" attitude.