Sent in by Bill
I recently heard Richard Dawkins express this point in one of his short interviews. He stated that we as enlightened non believers must do all we can to reach out to the vaguely religious or the “fence sitters” and lead them to our truth. I am a shining example of why this is so important for us to do. I could not officially classify myself as an ExChristian. I am more like an ex wishy washy believer in some sort of generic God. I have faint memories of attending Sunday School as a small child, but I don’t recall ever attending church services with my folks after about age seven. My parents could also fall into the category of the vague believers. They rarely discussed anything about religion, but lead by example to live by the Golden Rule. My parents acts of kindness or generosity were never meant to please an invisible man in the sky. Due to the fact that we had a very beloved gay extended family member, my parents were often critical of the intolerance of most mainstream churches.
Most of my life I professed a God belief and I usually did have the reward of Heaven and the fear of hell in the back of my mind, yet I’ve always had my doubts. Despite my doubts I prayed daily and I would often give God huge thanks when good things came my way. At the lowest point in my life from my alcoholism, I tried to become born again. I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to come into my life. I professed to accept him as my personal savior. My attempt at becoming a born again Christian didn’t take. I just never felt the power of His love. I abandoned the born again concept, but I still thought I believed in God. After becoming sober, I got my life in order, and my wife decided it would be a good idea for our family to join a local church. We got our two kids baptized and we decided to become a real church going family. I remember listening to sermons and just shaking my head. I made it through about four Sundays and I was done. I could not just go through the motions of embracing organized religion if my heart wasn’t in it. I told my wife she was on her own with the church thing, but she soon rejoiced in sleeping in on Sundays right along with me. We never went back to church, yet I still professed a belief in an all loving God, and continued to pray daily and give thanks for the good. But in a way I was in a religious no man's land, I couldn't really find God, yet I couldn't let go. It was an uneasy feeling at times.
After a lifetime of wishy washy God beliefs, for no particular reason at 43(last March), I did a Google search for atheism. I just started reading a series of short articles on various sites that just blew me away. Everything these non believers were saying made perfect sense where as nothing in my world or religion made any sense. I became obsessed with reading all of these convincing articles I could get my hands on, and within a couple of days my God belief was virtually gone. The final irrefutable straw came when I read Dan Baker’s book, “Losing Faith in Faith.” How I wished someone would have shared all this wonderful material with me about 25 years ago. The case against there being a God is just so simple to explain, yet those simple explanations just don’t make it to the general public.
My workplace is a microcosm of society. We have a few hardcore Christians(whom I wouldn’t think of approaching), a few confessed atheists, and a whole lot of wishy washy believers in the middle, from those who profess to be Christian, but don’t attend church, to those who attend church to basically polish the pews with their pants. We must start dialogue with those in the middle whom we feel comfortable talking. If it were so easy for me to embrace non belief, it could happen with so many others out there on the fence, who just haven’t been exposed to the facts. If only everyone would just pick up Dan Barker’s book and read it.
Now to those Christians who are reading this; you may be asking why would we non believers impose on others with our views. The reason is simple. Religion is creeping into government at an alarming rate, and we must make a stand. If people kept their religion to themselves and it had no effect on my life, I would not be writing this, but when religion flows into government and public policy is highly influenced by a 2000 year old obsolete book of nonsense, we should all have a problem. If the religious right sinks their claws deep enough into our legislative bodies, the freedoms we now take for granted, could fall by the wayside, and we may be soon told what books we can read and so on a so forth.
The internet is such a wonderful resource of information. If it weren’t for the resources out there I would probably be trapped in a tepid God belief for the rest of my life. If each of us could just reach out to one other person, who is caught in the middle, perhaps we could start a snowball effect, that could greatly increase our numbers, and insure our country doesn’t become a Puritan State somewhere in the near future.
Please feel free to email me.
xrayman at chartermi dot net
Never Really a Christian, but Had Vague God Belief
Stopped God Belief at 43
Had a Very Brief Affiliation with an Episcapal Church
Atheist...Or I Guess Actually I Would be an Agnostic Deist
Believed because: I Believed in God Because of the End Reward
Left because: Because I Stumbled Upon the Real Truth