Sent in by The Bloviator
The Evangelicals Made Me Do It
I have, by way of introduction, been viewing this site for quite a while now, and am finally at a stage of willingness to commit to voicing my disbelief in the Christian life-scheme.
In all honesty, were it not for the well-intentioned efforts of the evangelical Christian community, I would never have reached the conclusion that Christianity is simply a house of cards, waiting for the merest breath of introspection and research to bring it down.
As background, I was raised a Catholic in the '60s, with the folk mass and "Kumbaya, my Lord" as watchwords. Although my grandparents were quite devout (grandpa walked to mass every single morning at 6am), my folks took a very liberal view of church. We attended once a week (beware the mortal sin of missing mass!!!) and all the usual holidays, but were otherwise uninvolved. When given the option at 14 years of age, I chose not to attend mass any further, though I never renounced my "faith".
Fast-forward to the late '70s and college. I ended up in a dormitory full of catholics in what was in every other regard a secular institution. We grouped together, talking loosely of god and spirit and other issues, attending mass from time to time, and basically keeping the flame burning (if ever so slightly).
Now on to 1990, the year I married my wife. She was raised in an atheist household ( pop vociferously anti-religion, mom a typical rebellious "preacher's kid"), but through a Young Life group became a born-again believer at age 14. She was very happy in a kind of loosey-goosey spirit-world way, believing little of the dogma and seeing signs and messages from god in everything -- I thought it was kinda cute. For years we were on-and-off attendees at everything from UCC to Presbyterian and even Episcopalian churches (but NEVER catholic -- too much for her born-again sensibilities). Basically, no big deal.
Now in the 21st century, we become parents. AND EVERYTHING CHANGED. Now she saw religion as very important for the kids for building moral character, etc. and, looking back on it, I agreed completely.
We joined a Baptist church on the recommendation of someone my wife knew and trusted. The place did seem full of the spirit of the Lord (or something, anyway), and we became avid attendees.
All of the above is by way of an explanation to both believers and non-believers alike: if you want to keep the boat from rocking, don't introduce the concept of hard dogma and biblical inerrancy. In no way did I want to walk out on my concept of "faith" and "god", but my new friends at church, with their hammers and nails and planks of dogma and inerrancy, built a coffin, assisted me in placing my faith inside said box, and then nailed the damned thing shut.
I wasn't raised on strict beliefs and therefore could accommodate just about anything I wanted into my spiritual belief system. I suppose that is another way of saying that I stuck my head in the sand, but I am now comfortable admitting as much. In a reaction to the views of some church members, I started to research the history of their particular calvinistic dogma. I was a history major in school, so this was actually a bit of fun for me. Funny thing about doing research -- you never know what you will find. As many of you had found, the more I examined the history of Christianity, the more it began to resemble an amalgam of older pagan rituals and rites. Well, said I, at least the Christ-bit is unique, so even if I reject the rest, I can hold onto Jesus being a seminal teacher of things divine. WRONG! Turns out that most everything attributed to the J-man was said before. The miracles? Well, I hadn't believed in that stuff for ages anyway, so what was left? Nothing. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.
Meanwhile, as faith and belief unraveled, my wife has become closer to a true born-again than she ever was before. Yuk! I have tested the waters in terms of letting her in on my views, but it didn't go too well. Hope springs eternal, right? Time will tell, but one thing is "Truth", to borrow a phrase from my brothers and sisters in Christ: you can't ever go back.
Whether I believe in an afterlife or a true moral code or Universal Truth or any other thing is now irrelevant. What is, is. All I have is what I see here, today. And that is worth living for. Thanks for listening.
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Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)