Posts tagged ‘Church’
Among people who have left any belief system there is very often a tendency to demonize that which they formerly adhered to. We see it all the time.
- Former Catholics seem all too happy to point at the abuse scandals and say that’s what they’d expect from the old “whore of Babylon”.
- Former atheists become Christians and then set about declaiming atheists as the spawn of Satan.
- In the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) I often heard former Protestants berating Protestantism as stupid, evil, dead, not even Christian, and so on.
- Former political liberals/conservatives will begin to rant about how dumb/evil/wrong/damaging conservatives/liberals are.
Among former Christians the tendency exists too. Christianity, the Church, Christians, religion in general, all too often come to be viewed as the greatest earthly source of evil. Just look around this, or any other, atheist/agnostic/decon forum and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I think this tendency may arise from anger at abuses seen or suffered in the Church, or from a bit of a personal backlash for feeling like one was duped, and I’m sure there are other sources for it as well. However, regardless of why it happens, I’d like to go on record as saying, “I’m not buying it.”…
In my previous post on this subject, Independence in Thought, I discussed a point made by Phillychief in his post entitled Insularity?, where he stated that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers.
Another point that Phillychief made, with which I agree, is that atheists are not as prone to hero worship and personality cults as theists appear to be. He cites the examples of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, et al, and notes that their positions are scrutinized incessantly. What he implied but didn’t say outright, which I will say, is that much of this scrutiny comes from people who generally accept these writers’ ideas. The critics criticize because they want to sharpen their own thinking skills and also because they want to challenge these writers, and others like them, to put forward the strongest possible arguments for their positions and to articulate those arguments clearly, succinctly and coherently.
I, for example, like Richard Dawkins, and I enjoyed reading The God Delusion. That doesn’t blind me to the fact that the book has some substantive flaws. My atheism does not depend on Dawkins being infallible. Ditto for all the recent flap about Antony Flew – the fact that he shifted from atheism to a deist position doesn’t undermine my atheist position at all. My atheistic view does not depend upon the Gospels according to St. Antony and St. Richard…
LeoPardus recently wrote about a prayer he prayed during his de-conversion journey where he asked the following of God – “God, if you’re real, do something. Anything.”
Well Leo, hop in your car and head to I-35. God is there and he’s in full action. He’s even delivering people from homosexuality (what greater miracle could you see).
Updated December 20th: I-35: ‘Ex Gay’ Now ‘Ex Ex Gay’ »
– The de-Convert
There’s nothing I hate more than manipulative bait and switch preachers….. except for manipulative bait and switch videos:
Not only are you responsible for failing to be ready to die a martyr, you’re responsible for other peoples’ manipulative tactics as well. The only thing cheesier, and the twist I was expecting, was to make the guy with the gun become an angel or Jesus. Now THAT would have been sweet and a double smack on the knuckles! (sigh)
Trying to describe the personal journey that I’ve been on for the last four years is like trying to nail jello to the wall. I’ve gone through a thorough detox from vocational and institutional Christianity, plunged headlong into the “dark night of the soul,” and am slowly emerging with my head above unchartered waters. Bilbo’s story could well be my own, “There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale,” yet the place to which I’ve returned is different and familiar all the same.
I spent roughly 10 years in pastoral ministry, or I could say that I spent 10 years in pastoral ministry roughly. I broke from full-time ministry to become self-employed in healthcare marketing, a job I still have five years later. For 18 months I tried to be bi-vocational while building this new business, but aside from preaching on Sundays, my job didn’t lend itself to be compatible with pastoral ministry.
My departure from full-time ministry was against the grain of the church-growth mentality. I was capable and expected to move on to bigger churches to continue my “ministry.” Not only did I demote myself to a smaller pastorate, but I also went “secular.” There was a lapse of 9 months before I began the bi-vocational pastorate, leaving many to circulate rumors that my last church drove me from the ministry. Beginning with leaving full-time ministry I began to contemplate ways to reinvent the wheel…
Lostgirlfound, Karen, DaGoodS and a few others around the internet have written stories and comments about de-Conversion from Christianity and how it has affected their marriages. I would like to write an article with a dual authorship. Me – HeIsSailing, and my wife, oh… let’s call her RoseMary. We are going to write this article together, maybe each writing a paragraph or two, and asking each other questions as we go. Maybe this will give us all an insight into how to communicate when one person in a marriage leaves Christianity, and another continues in the faith.
HeIsSailing: RoseMary is a little nervous about what to write, so I will lead off with a couple of questions. How would you describe my Christianity when we got married? How do you describe my beliefs now? How are our beliefs different?
RoseMary: You were very by the book. You always quoted the Bible, and sometimes I did not know what you were saying, because I did not grow up with the Bible. I grew up being part of the Catholic Faith, so we did physical things like join the choir, gathering supplies for the people in jail, collecting canned goods and other similar items for the slum areas.…
I am very fortunate to have many friends walking this path of de-conversion with me right now. Most of us haven’t totally made a break from the spiritual, but we’ve all come to grips with the fact that “organized religion” is really neither organized or religious, in the sense of the spiritual.
One of my friends is Paul. He was on staff at a “church,” and was dismissed in the name of financial cutbacks. However, he was really let go because he was pushing the envelope and, like all prophets before him, when you start screwing with the status quo, they look for a way to hand you your head. Paul spent a lot of time trying to come to a middle ground with these individuals, but to no avail. Now, he’s simply trying to find which way is up when it comes to spiritual things.
Paul is also a great writer. I would invite any of you to visit his blog: paulfilan.wordpress.com, and respond if you wish. If you visit today, you’ll find an interesting discussion from some of Paul’s “friends.” Like many of us, he’s come out of the ranks of not only “church attendance” but being a participant and leader for years. He’s raw, and very, very authentic…