I submit an interesting personal observation of Christianity.
Just over a year ago, I fell in love with Jeni. She was a smart, opinionated, driven, beautiful young woman, and she had been "born again" about two years before I met her.
A lifetime resident of a conservative, medium-sized Canadian city, her parents brought her and her four siblings up with traditional Christian values (I forget the exact sect). Her teenage years were spent in rebellion of her upbringing, which she never considered really important. She would sneak out every night to drink. She sold drugs. She went on the pill at age fifteen and was highly sexually active. Her parents were oblivious, perhaps because of not wanting to rock the boat containing their perfect Christian home, perhaps because they simply were over sixty and set in their ways that precluded dealing with new problems.
Either way, Jeni lacked guidance. She would live her life knowing what she was doing was "wrong" by her parents' standards, but she was never confronted. However, she became increasingly depressed at her supposedly loving parents' indifference to her problematic personality.
By chance or circumstance she came into a church for guidance and it "made sense" to her. She became a born-again Christian.
Our relationship was tumultuous, but we loved each other so much we were blind to it. She was my first love and I was too busy adoring and romancing to not shrug off things that went wrong.
But her problems eventually became too strong for either of us to ignore. We prided ourselves on being completely open and honest with each other-- which made for many deep conversations-- but as soon as our topic changed to our differing religious views, things fell apart. My questions as a free thinker made her very angry. Sometimes she would leave in the middle of a conversation and not speak to me for days.
She was frequently very depressed. She would often complain about loneliness, feeling unaccepted by all but those who shared her extreme views. She would get frustrated and angry at "so- called Christians," people who went to church but did not truly believe. She would writhe at the thought that she could not save anyone and everyone by forcing them to believe, since forcing them to accept Jesus would only push them further away. This conflict consumed her; she had trouble concentrating on studying and relationships.
Sex was another matter altogether. A ravenous sexual appetite was part of her personality, but in direct conflict with her religious views. Our sex only happened when she was drunk and/or horny enough to "allow herself to make it up later," as she thought. Her personal philosophy was to "not think about it," and this was applied to sex among all other problems she had. She rationalized our sex with the fact that she had remained celibate since her rebirth.
Coincidentally, along with the beginning of the new school year and her enrolment in our university's Christian Fellowship, her conflict between her emotions and her religion sharpened. She became more and more tense, and something had to give.
In the middle of sex one night, she pushed me away, put on her clothes, and began walking home. I ran after her to hear that she "couldn't do this anymore." Religion had won the conflict; the added prominence in her mind, coupled with her fear of going to Hell and her desire to go to Heaven to "ride on lions," had won out over love we both called true.
Having healed I realize now that everything she did was motivated by fear, and this fear was induced by her belief. Her lack of guidance growing up caused her to need to be cared for. She gratefully accepted the strict guidelines imposed on her by fundamentalist Christianity because it made up for all her past transgressions. Her low self-esteem dictated that the sacrifices she made for Christianity were justified based on her sinful past.
Throughout the entire relationship I was thoughtful and understanding. I listened to her views and took interest when she would read me passages from her bible, I would have patience when she had none for my views, I excused every harm she did to me, because I loved her without caution. Most importantly I learned that Christianity can and does kill a personality that needs it badly enough. I'm very glad to share my experiences. I think they serve as a poignant ilustration of Christianity's saddest truth: It doesn't save souls. It kills them.