This is mostly in response to @therobstargram on Instagram. He asked some questions so here are some answers. You’re welcome to read even if you aren’t Rob. 😀
As with any sort of life altering event, the events leading up to it become clearer the further out we get. In my case, it seems clear now that the pivotal moment that gave me the right to begin asking all the questions that eventually led me to choosing Atheism was probably a part in Scot McKnight’s book The Blue Parakeet. Writing froma Christian perspective, he points out that we all pick and choose which verses we will obey and believe and which we won’t, the important thing is to know why we chose those verses.
In that moment, I believe my de-conversion was inevitable. Because he simply gave voice to the biggest question I’d ever asked and yet had always been given circular answers to.
Slowly, as I began to delve into Scripture to question which verses I had been taught to believe and try to come up with answers to why those verses, I discovered some crazy stuff that doesn’t align with anyone but the Fundamentalists. Stuff like “if you don’t feed the poor, etc, you are going to hell.” OK, so the Fundies don’t believe in feeding the poor, but they do believe in hell. And the lefties who do believe in feeding the poor don’t believe in hell.
The more you read, the weirder Scripture gets.
For example, you have a distinct culture of death. As with most the world’s major religions, Christians live for death. Oh, we like to claim we don’t. We do all sorts of twisting of our very own teachings to say we are the only religion of life, but our truest goal is to achieve heaven. Can’t get there until you die, though.
From the God’s opening threat to Adam and Eve to the horrific battles and slaughters in Revelation, the Bible bleeds death.
Having spent time in both conservative and liberal Christian circles, I know the defenses each have for their interpretations. But the more you know of the world, the more moot those defenses become because you start seeing that almost all the other religions have similar teachings in their books.
If you research all the “miraculous” pregnancies in religion, there are enough that pre-date Christ that our only defense becomes, well Christ was the real thing.
And there are enough parallels with other “gods” lives that we ought to give it honest thought not, as I was told growing up, that this was simply more proof that the Bible stories are real because those people obviously had “eternity in their hearts.”
So I kept considering what I knew and tried to find, as all religious people do, real proof of god. As I examined history and compared the Bible, I saw that most of what I’d been taught was most likely a downright lie, created in fear in order to keep people from leaving or questioning further.
One of the other steps was to examine the psychological helpfulness of religious teaching where trauma victims are concerned.
I was walking into work one day and the Christian clothing store next door was blaring their Christian rock so people down the street could hear it (it’s such a godly witness to force people to listen to music they don’t want to…I’m sure the owner is just as happy to hear obscene rap at that volume from her neighbors…but I digress).
Jeremy Camp was singing “I’m thankful for the suffering, because it brought me right here on my knees.”
I’ve always accepted this teaching without question, but as I thought through what little of the suffering of Camp’s life I knew I thought, wow, this is actually sick.
“Dear God, Thank you that my wife died a painful death from cancer st such a young age because it made me worship you more.”
Apply that to all trauma situations:
“Thank you that I was raped…”
“Thank you that my child was molested…”
“Thank you that ISIS beheads Christian children…”
“Thank you that people are dying from famine and drought conditions…”
It’s in the Bible people. Rejoice always, in everything give thanks.
You can reinterpret it any which way but the Bible clearly states that the horrific levels of suffering that take place around the world are God’s will and are done according to his plan.
And if they aren’t? If instead this isn’t actually what God planned? And yet he was powerless to stop it?
Well, the only answer we Christians can give is essentially “the Lord works in mysterious ways.”
This, if you have yet to educate yourself about abuse, is abusive language.
“Why does my abuser do this?”
“He has his reasons. You just have to try to understand him and help him.”
“Though he slay me yet willI trust him.”
“No matter what your husband does god commands you to love him.”
The list actually goes on but it ends up triggering shit. Mostly because I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker and fucked up my life and my kids’ lives as a result.
And I’m fully aware of all the mental contortions we’ve been taught to explain away the obvious, been listening to them and using them for years. I find none of them convincing.