The moment I discarded my conservative, fundamentalist Christianity can be traced to a minute glancing at my Facebook feed.
“It was a long and difficult journey, but with the grace of God we finally got our loan on our first home approved. Thank you Jesus!”
and directly below that, another unrelated shared article:
“Millions of people still dying of hunger every year.”
I had spent my life in the church, leading worship since I was a teenager, speaking in tongues, sobbing in repentance, unashamed of any of it. Watch “Jesus Camp” and “Marjoe” (even the 10-minute highlight reels found online will do) for a dead-on depiction of the first 30 years of my life. I’d read Dawkins, Hitchens, et al. in order to know my enemy and be prepared for my next inevitable debate. And yet, those two juxtaposed Facebook posts collectively became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Because what kind of god has his priorities so far out of whack? One that is evil, apathetic, incompetent, or nonexistent, I concluded. And in each case, one that does not deserve my worship.
Of course, I didn’t go from 1 to 7 on Dawkins’ belief scale in one fell swoop. I’d begun questioning certain things in the Bible in the past few years, especially the teachings of St. Paul. But I was still desperately trying to find a way to reconcile the Bible with itself, as well as my own innate sense of morality. So, in effect, I went from 2 to 5. Today, I hover around 6.
I still struggle. My family remains ultra conservative. I cannot come out of the closet, but not because I may be shunned and excommunicated. My family is actually much too loving for that. But their genuine love, coupled with their steadfast belief in the Bible, would mean torture for them, knowing to the core of their spirit their son is going to hell. So silent I must remain.
That said, thank you for resources like these. And don’t ever lose heart in what you do here. If statistics ever frighten you, please know there are many, many others like me, who count themselves as religious in census and polls, but who are still stuck in a closet for various reasons, whether they be of cowardice or compassion.