Last week, I finished reading "The Alphabet Vs. The Goddess" by Leonard Shlain. It was a very good book and it caused me to reconsider a lot of things about my journey away from the faith. I wrote an essay about my journey. I wanted to share it with my former mentor. She and I have had our falling outs over the past year or so. Last week she emailed me and we had a minor row about her not respecting my boundaries (not going into that here).
Anyway, I was very excited about this essay. It really put me in a new frame of mind. I wanted to share it with her so that she could understand what I was seeking during my time as a believer and why I never found it. Why I left and why I've chosen not to return despite all of the reasons why I could/should. It is the first thing I've written about in regards to the faith that wasn't seething with rage or dripping with atheistic sentiment and logic overkill.
I texted her yesterday afternoon to ask her if she wanted me to email it to her. No response. Until about an hour ago. Basically, her response was: "Don't be offended, but I don't want to read your essay. I don't care why you left the faith. I'm trying to stay positive because I have a lot going on right now. Ttyl."
So I decided to write an email to her. I haven't sent it yet. Thought I'd post it here first. I think maybe I am overreacting and should just let the friendship die peacefully, with each of us drifting our separate ways. Maybe not. Here's the email:
I really wanted to share my essay with you. It saddens me that you automatically associate my writing with negativity merely because it is about my journey away from faith. Then again, nothing can ever compare with Jesus, so I'm not surprised or offended. Hence the shrug in the subject line.
I wrote my essay to clear some things up in my life. I wanted to share it with you because I have shared most of my life with you for the past 6 years. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I want your approval, or at least your interest. I'm not a child, so I don't NEED your attention, per se. But I still value you and sometimes I wish that we had the connection that we did before the shit hit the fan. I wanted to ask you why you lost hope in me. I think I know the answer though. I'd rather not get into that mess today.
I just wanted to let you know that I didn't give up my faith without a fight. Thing is, I never believed as you believe. I didn't want the same relationship with the Trinity that most people are seeking. It took me a long time to realize what I did want and that is what my essay is about. Also some other things as related to history, speculative theory and Judaism, but those are secondary.
I too am going through some things. I haven't shared them with you because I think that we are past the point in our friendship where the happenings in my world matter. It makes for some fairly one-sided conversations, imho. I don't have the energy to debate or defend these days and neither do you. So let's skip the pleasantries from here on out.
I'm glad that you were straight up with me in your message. You knew I would be offended and you're right about that. I'm not offended because you don't want to read my essay. I'm offended because you've been rejecting a relationship with me every since I told you that I didn't believe anymore. Why is it so necessary that I share your preferred mythos in order for us to have a relationship? I'm still the same person and so are you. The same heart still beats within me. I still care a great deal about you. Does my care mean less now that I am no longer praying it several times a day?
I am not angry. I made choices and one of the consequences (unbeknownst to me in the beginning) is that our friendship had to change. You only want to be around positive (read: Christians, fellow believers) people. I am not a Christian any longer, and that makes me a negative person because I'm not praying, quoting scripture and blowing smoke about a loving God who will see us through every trial. You believe in a loving God and his wonderful Son and the Spirit and that's great because it works for you. I would never want to crap on that, so to say.
All I can really say is that I hope things are ok with your family. I hope you enjoy being a grandma. My hope is all I have and I think that honest hope given from a loving friend is far more meaningful than bland and often insincere well-wishing overlaid with scripture quotes.
I think that is pretty damn PC considering that this woman has said some pretty petty and just plain mean things to me in the past. I care too fucking much about her. I hurt a lot because of some of the things that have happened in my life. I don't go around sympathy whoring though because that's not who I am. I don't like to end friendships. I invest too much in people and I take relationships seriously.
Other people, especially believers...well, they fucking suck. If you don't share their Jesus fantasy, you might as well not exist. You are worthless, more worthless than the baby rapists and meth heads of the world. Because at least there's hope for baby rapists and meth heads. They can accept Jesus and have their sins washed away. But an apostate? The ones who reject the so-called Truth? You are doomed.
You chose to reject God. You love your sin. You'll rot in Hell. (Or wander in the desert of Eternal Separation™, as my former church teaches). I suppose I could invite Him back into my heart, but why should I? Why should anyone cower and prostrate themselves before a misogynous murderous dictator who talks out of the side of his mouth? I need more compelling reasons to believe than the whole "forgiveness of sins" bit and that's all that is on offer at my old church.
See, Messianics are pretty hard-assed about forgiveness. They don't believe that forgiveness is just a heart thing. No, Messianics take the doctrine of forgiveness very literally. Action is required. If you are truly forgiven, your actions will show your gratitude for His holy forgiveness. Your heart will be changed, but your actions reflect this change to your church "family". Without action, there is no evidence and no reason for them to accept your acceptance or His forgiveness of your sins as legit.
It is a very legalistic thing, but also very common sense. It seems like a good way to counteract hypocrisy. Everyone is putting their money where their mouths are so to speak. However, it is harsh in practice. Your fellow believers feel righteous when they "bear fruit" of His forgiveness and they are proud of it. Some of them lord it over others, especially the long-timers over the newbies. Messianics also have sindar. Sindar is kinda like gaydar. They think that they can sense when a person is "holding back" or "choosing sin". They feel that a righteous believer is Christ-like and they use this Christ-likeness as a platform to call other believers out from time to time.
It's very frustrating and makes you feel claustrophobic after awhile. Or at least that is how I felt and still feel whenever I deal with my mentor or any of my old friends from church. I ping their sindar and they are always subtly digging at me. They shut me out and they are brazen and righteous in doing so. They want to claim this doctrine of a loving and accepting God and His awesome Son who died for our sins, but they are the first ones to jump on top of any perceived fuck up like a dog on a rawhide bone.
I suppose reason #99 why I no longer believe is that I've found believers to be hypocrites who wouldn't know what forgiveness or acceptance was if it bit them in the ass five times and then once in the middle of the forehead for good measure. They judge all day long or live by a motto of "Ignorance is bliss." as long as they are on the right side of things.
Note: I may post my aforementioned essay on the forums. I need to edit it before I do so and I'm not feeling up to it today.