After I left the Borganization, age 21 going on 22, I stopped praying and was totally uninterested in any religion, and for about 10 years I was at best agnostic. Then, omitting a long story, I realized I missed spirituality in my life and eventually felt gently but definitely led to a mainstream protestant church, which suited me fine at first.
But I discovered that church is just not the place for a single man, especially a single gay man: despite what anybody may say about being welcoming to all kinds of people, the kinds of people who go to church (all churches) are overwhelmingly straight couples with kids, their grandmas and grandpas, and little old blue-haired widows. Very nice people for the most part, and totally undogmatic or pushy as the JW's are, but I have nothing in common with them outside of Sunday service.
Yes I tried going to Sunday school classes, Bible studies, church suppers, etc. - but no dice. It's nobody's fault, but with all the JW conditioning about remaining aloof from "worldly associations" having warped my adolescent years and consequently my adult personality, I'm just not a good socializer either in a nightclub or in a church, nor can I relate to conversations about childcare or sports teams or let-me-tell-you-about-my-grandchildren.
And please, don't bother telling me about ooh-there's-this-cool-gay-friendly-church here or there or wherever. Maybe so, but I'm stuck in a small town 90 miles from civilization, and frankly I just don't care about churchgoing anymore, gay, straight, or whatever. Omitting more long stories and details, some trivial (work schedules) and some devastating (sudden, unexpected deaths in my family), for the past decade I've been just "on-hold" about religion in general, which both JW and non-JW has simply not worked out for me as advertised, not at all. Which is a greater let-down than I can tell you.
What that means for me about the existence of God is something that presses on the borders of my mind but I'm not willing to go there yet. And that's my business, not anyone else's. So please, no Bible verses, testimonies about what-Jesus-did-for-me, or hard-boiled polemics about there-is-no-freakin-God. I am fully capable of making up my own mind on the issue when and if I get ready to do so.
The teachings of Jesus are worth study, but I do wonder sometimes if I've been operating on a flawed conception of the origins of Christianity as we know it: hence my question, which anybody is welcome to answer, theist, atheist, or in between: Do you think the first Christians were as high-control and fanatical as the modern Jaydubs are?
Of course in the first century there were no printing plants or magazines or corporations or field service or crazy-ass doctrines like "the generation of 1914" that the FDS has contrived and re-contrived for a hundred-plus years now. BUT - all those differences aside, were the first Christians just the meek, mild, sweet little innocents thrown to the lions as so often portrayed in movies and religious books - or were they actually more like the modern JW's, self-righteous, fanatical, and willing to drink the kool-aid anytime, anywhere?
There are some lovely, lofty thoughts in the Bible, but it's like diamonds scattered in a pile of antique cultural manure, seems like. Maybe it's just me, but at this late date, it's difficult to read the God-loves-us-and-hates-everyone-else parts of the New Testament without thinking, this is just like something the Borg would say. What do you think, folks?