Tag Archives: athiesm

The line that I never thought I would cross

line-in-the-snad

Ever since leaving the IFB, I have been purposefully vague about where I stand on Biblical issues and theology. Mostly, this was due to the fact that I have been laboriously reviewing every position I have. And for the first time in my life, I have been forming beliefs, views, and opinions from outside the bubble as an adult. The results are not what I expected, and they may come as a shock to those I have not yet been able to tell in person. Given my previous track record, I know that a lot of people have a very specific image of who I am and what I believe and stand for. And I want to bring everyone up to speed. So here it goes.

I am an agnostic. Depending on how you define the term, you might consider me to be a deist or an atheist. The simple fact is that I do not believe in God. More specifically, I do not believe in the personal God that is described in the Bible. As to how I came to that conclusion, I am more than happy to share that at a different time.

For some of you, this information is very difficult to swallow. All I ask for now is that you consider the following statements and talk with me in person before jumping to any conclusions.

1. I still care about each and every one of you. It saddens me to know that there are some friends who will inevitably break communication with me over this. If that is you, I do not fault you for that, and I understand. But please bear in mind that the choice to share my views is based in a desire for honesty and openness. In no way am I making a personal attack against anybody, any group of people, or any organization.

2. I am still the same guy that I was before. In fact, my life is still pretty normal by most standards. I suffer through the morning commute to a job that I love (most days). My wife is the love of my life and my best friend. I am a huge Redskins fan/Cowboys hater. My sense of humor is unfortunately not any better, and you can still catch me laughing at things that aren’t really that funny. I’m still a sucker for tech gadgets of any kind. I am still absolutely captivated by great music, and a solid father/son movie is almost guaranteed to make my eyes sweat.

3. My moral compass has not been destroyed. I didn’t become an agnostic in order to live free of consequences for my behavior and choices. I don’t hold a grudge against any deity whatsoever. And on a related note, I am not in league with Satan to destroy the moral fabric of society.

4. I hope that we can still be friends.

5. If you are a theist, and especially if you are a practicing christian, I do not consider you to be stupid or ignorant. Most importantly, I do not look down on you. If you hold a theistic viewpoint, I am hoping that we can agree to disagree and find a way to move forward in harmony. Please know that I am not on a mission to subversively crumble the foundations of anyone’s faith.

6. Let’s talk it over. If you want to know the reasons that I am agnostic, I am more than happy to have a friendly conversation about it. I would ask two things:

Number one: Please don’t feel awkward to broach the subject of your personal views on religion and spirituality (I know that for some this will be easier said than done). I will not be offended or upset by hearing about praying, church, blessings, theology, or anything else that may (or may not) be an integral part of your life. You are important to me, and therefore the things that are important to you are important to me.

Number two: Please do not try to fix me. I am not broken.

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Questions

War is always bloody and tragic.  There are always more casualties than solutions.  Always.  And a war in the mind is no different.  For years the carnage ripped through the deep secret corridors of my mind.  A war of questions, and a war of truth.  They fashioned themselves as an unending tidal wave and relentlessly pounded the stone walls that more than twenty years of indoctrination and brainwashing had built.  There is no doubt that it has taken its toll on my mind and on my life.  One after another, walls came crashing down and truth shined in.  At first, I was ok with that.  The issues that I questioned were only related to standards and priorities.  But the more walls that came down, the more exposed became the ideas and beliefs that, in themselves, were inseparable from who I was as a person.  And that’s when the feelings of freedom gave way to chilling uncertainty.

 

And even though I was scared, I couldn’t back away.  I couldn’t just brush it under the rug as I had in the past.  And so I asked the questions I was scared to ask.  Is God real?  What about the virgin birth?  Is it possible that Jesus Christ was just a historical figure and not really the Son of God?  Is the Bible really a divine book, and not just a great piece of historical literature?  Are Heaven and Hell real?  If they are, is Christianity the only way to get to Heaven and escape Hell?  Is the creation that Genesis describes really a young-earth creationism point of view?  Is it possible that evolution could be compatible with Christianity?  Is it possible that God had no part at all in the origins of the universe?

 

As long as this war was fought on the inside, I didn’t have to face the consequences of vocalizing these questions.  For years I didn’t  even mention a word of this to my wife.  But the war has gone public now.  And in a way, its a relief.  I thought I was the only fundy who struggled with these questions.  I was wrong.  She does too.  In fact, thousands have entered the dark forest of questions.  I know this because I have spent the last few months cyberstalking your blogs and podcasts.  Some of you are now atheists.  Some of your are now agnostics.  Some of you decided to ignore the questions and continue on with life as normal.  And some of you remained Christians, but have left the IFB for a drastically different kind of Christianity.

 

But for those of us (and I include myself) in the fourth group, have we jumped ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ so to speak?  What is to say that by switching from one bubble (the IFB) to another that we didn’t just switch the label on the propaganda pipeline connected to our brains?

 

I am going to be completely vulnerable here and admit that I have not yet made it out of this forest of questions.  And I am willing to go on the record as saying that for two reasons.  Number one, I want others who are asking questions in the dark corners of loneliness to know that they are not the only ones.  And number two, because its an undeniable part of my journey.

 

Funny.  There was a time that I could construct complex theological arguments to justify my position.  Now, my Christianity is wrapped up in the following simplicity.  I call myself a Christian because I cannot explain my life without God.  As for the rest?  I will probably share my conclusions on some things in a series of later posts (I hope), but to tell the truth I don’t have all the answers, and I never will.  And that’s okay.

How did you move on?

 

Moving on takes three major forms for those of us who are ready to leave the IFB.

1) Becoming an atheist or an agnostic

2) Maintaining a belief in God, but writing off church and organized religion

3) Maintaining a belief in God, and becoming a part of a different kind of church

Which one did you choose and why?

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