This has been an interesting week. People from my old church are starting to notice that I haven't been there for the past few months, and when I see them they start to ask questions. I made the mistake of being honest and telling them where I was in life, but this is before I realised they didn't actually care what I thought or how I felt - they just wanted a lead-in so they could share their "journey with god" with me (as if I hadn't heard it before when I went to church with them). Here's a few extracts
One of the guys I went to church with decided to strike up a conversation with me (only because he was offended by my AIM nickname) and started asking innocuous questions about how I felt about the church. Each answer was greeted with a deep-set and mystical interpretation of not so much the bible, but his interpretation of what Jesus meant and how he felt about Jesus. He then decided we needed to meet up for lunch sometime to discuss it further, and left without saying any more.
On the train:
A girl who turned up to our church a few years ago sat next to me and asked why I hadn't been in church recently. Once again, my faith in mankind mean I was honest, and as a result I was treated to a half-hour evangelical explanation of how important Jesus was. Every time I contradicted her with biblical scripture (which she wasn't familiar with but assured me god meant something else), real life examples (but god created Adam and eve, not Adam and Steve, therefore homosexuality is wrong), or psychology explaining why people have visions (but the visions i had of Jesus were much more real than the hallucinations i had before), I was stonewalled, and talked down to, even though when I left the church I was highly respected for my biblical knowledge and interpretation.
My own family:
I stopped off to visit my grandmother this weekend, and she said that it was unfortunate that I'd taken a "rest" from church, but I must be careful not to lose my faith, because there are many things that will eagerly pull me away from church. I kept my mouth shut this time, but it was obvious by this stage that the only "pull" I was experiencing was one from every Christian I had ever known telling me I was lazy and destined for hell for not going to church. Thankfully I got a call from my parents telling me dinner was ready (thankfully they are incredibly supportive of my atheism, and are "heartbroken" by all the christians who behave "in un-Christian ways" as described here) and I made a hasty escape.
This is only a drop in the ocean though, whenever I see people from church I'm told that I've been "slack" for not making an appearance, or that I need to "sort myself out".
I suppose none of these people would appreciate the irony in the fact that I still seek inspiration from the bible (although I hold it no higher than any other book, but it is still very useful), and so here are a couple of verses to encourage you:
John 12:40 "God has blinded their eyes and closed their minds, so that their eyes would not see, and their minds would not understand"
John 16:1" I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when those who kill you will think that by doing this they are serving God."