In the past few days I’ve been considering what the point of all this writing I’m doing here is. I’ve shared the story of my journey through and out of Christianity and followed that with my current perspective on a select few topics. Most of my readers have been Christians, the majority being my friends and family, but a few whom I don’t know, some friendly and some less so. A few fellow ex-Christians have stumbled upon my site as well, again some friendly and some less so.
Originally, when I set out to make my de-conversion story public I had hopes of perhaps setting straight some misunderstandings about the actual occurrences during the time when I made my choice. I also hoped that there would be some who could relate to my story in some way or another and find it useful in their own decision process, or could simply take comfort in the fact that there is someone else dealing with a similar situation as theirs. I had no intentions of striking any “crippling blow” to Christianity or religion in general (and assuredly have done no such thing). I had no intentions of trying to convince or persuade Christians to see that Christianity doesn’t make sense, even though I don’t think it does.
I want to be a human with you. I want to be another person who looks around for truth, goodness and meaning in life, a person who fights for these things and sacrifices for what I see as most valuable. I want to experience the world with you, but acknowledge that the world I experience will be different from the one you do because everyone’s experiences lead them in a slightly different direction than the person beside them. I want to be accepted for the world I see, and to accept you for the world you see. I want to be respected for the choices I make in life, and I want to respect you for yours. At the same time, I want those who care about me to tell me if they believe a choice I’ve made might cause me harm.
The hardest part is knowing that Christians who know me and care about me will always believe that what would be in my best interest would be to be Christian. The hardest part is knowing that there is no reasonable possibility of my ever being Christian again. There have been times when I’ve almost wished I could go back and undo what I experienced in those fateful weeks and relive them in a way that leads me, instead of away from Christianity, toward a more meaningful and authentic version of Christianity than the one I had previously believed in. But this is not what I experienced, and what I experienced created insuperable difficulties with the core doctrines of Christianity, making it impossible for me to pursue even the most ideal and “non-religious” version of Christianity out there.
The hardest part is playing the part of the “little lost sheep,” the one to be prayed for and over-cared for. I want to be human with you. I am no different from you. I have problems and struggles like you. I am just as “lost” as any Christian or religious person. Some find consolation in prayer, some do not. There is no difference. Some find hope, meaning and joy in Christ, some find it in other places. There is no difference.
The hardest part is allowing myself to move on, allowing others to believe what they want about me based on what the Bible says about non-believers instead of what I explain my experience as being. I’ve never been good at this. I’ve always been extremely bad at knowing that there are misunderstandings and then not doing everything in my power to clear them up, even if they are misunderstandings about things that aren’t even related to me at all. I just can’t stand misunderstandings, and it’s especially difficult when they’re about me. In the future, I hope to get better at letting these things slide, but it’s still a constant struggle.
This whole blog-writing experience has reminded me of my own failings in the ideals I mentioned above. I express an ideal of respecting others for their beliefs and the experiences that led them to those beliefs but often find myself becoming extremely frustrated with people who hold tightly to the Christian faith. At this point, I have to admit that the falsity of Christianity is almost laughably obvious to me and I struggle to see how anyone can seriously think about it and still believe it, but then I have to remind myself that any disrespect I show for those who still believe is disrespect I am showing toward myself, because for most of my life Christianity’s truth was blatantly clear to me and I definitely thought seriously about it.
It’s hard to be respectful, but that is what I strive for. I want to respect people for where the come from and what they believe. I want to be able to set aside what I see as “obvious,” so that I can listen to others describe what is “obvious” to them, and when that “obvious” thing is something that contradicts my own belief I hope to be able to listen with graciousness and respond with honesty. Hey, maybe I’ll learn something.
All that said, a lot of the time, I’m just a big judgemental jerk. Here’s to working toward changing that.
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