As many of you may know I met a Young Earth creationist last week, I wrote about it here:
There was something in the conversation I had with him that really struck me as one of the big reasons why Christianity was not right for me, and why it might feel a little more right for some people.
Before I'd told him a thing about where I grew up, he said, "Remember when you were small, and you did something wrong despite having been told not to, and your parent corrected you lovingly? I'm not talking about them beating you up over small things, but a loving correction that fits what you did. God does the same."
Obviously he wasn't talking about hell at the time (heh), he was talking about Christians who are in God's guidance, and what kind of things God does to guide them and help them grow.
You know, my problem is that I don't have such a memory. My father might have done that kind of thing yes, but I only remember those talks from when I was a bit bigger. He was mostly dominated by my mother, who had crying, screaming rage fits over the strangest things. She scared me and my brothers into running out of the house to hide when we, or something else, had upset her. She didn't hit us, but she was screaming in our little faces and sounded like someone else altogether, her voice had this odd singing-type tone to it. When we'd been hiding a while, she'd come outside looking for us, asking "Why are you crying? What happened to you?" and even "Did I say something wrong?", and she'd have bread and bun baking in the oven and the kitchen cleaned up.
It was so scary and so out of our control that I couldn't wrap my little mind around it. I started trying to be so good a girl that when I'd reach the tipping point of being good enough, I could stop her rage and everyone would be happy and safe. I wanted to feel that I had some control in it. Obviously enough, it failed miserably, as a pre-school kid can not possibly understand a psychotic adult who refuses to get help.
So when it comes the time that the Christian creates the loving, parent-like God that brings you hardships to make you think and help you grow, and who is close to you like a parent, what did I create?
I created a God I both wanted and feared. I created a God I couldn't understand, a God who says strange and violent things but it must be that I simply don't understand "yet". I created a God I wanted to please, and was shaking in anxiety when I wasn't sure which choices I make would please him most, desperate to get the "Don't be afraid" type message from someone's mouth or a coincidence.
I totally made this God based on my childhood relationship with my mother. The fun thing is that the Bible had so much in it to support it, too. Just like it supports many other people's versions of God as well, as there are so many different and contradictory things in it.
This also explains one very big thing that happened to me when I deconverted. I may have mentioned it before.
For my entire adult life, I was guilty that I couldn't make my mom live a better life. She's still sick and miserable, lonely too as everyone who can escapes her rage, and the only person who couldn't do that died in her arms. She lives in a horrible moldy house far away from everything. For so many years I tried very hard to take care of her, and when I moved too far away to do it whenever she asked, I carried the guilt that I wasn't available and thought it was somehow up to me to make sure she exits this world humanely, since she brought me to the world.
The guilt went away when Jesus went away from my world. If she wanted to be happy, she could have worked towards it herself years and years ago. It's not my responsibility. It really is not.
Okay, her illness has taken the best of her ability to reason why a life change would make sense, but that's not my fault either. It's sad and awful, but I don't need to hate myself over not being able to force her to change. She thinks she's doing the right things and that anyone who says otherwise is "jealous" of her. Who am I to fight that?
Just like I don't need to hate myself over God not taking away my filthy thoughts or my sloth (which I now understand to be a part of my own health issues), or worrying that if, for a second, I don't repeat "Thank you Jesus for everything ever" kind of stuff in my head, I'm caught as an ungrateful girl who's just greedy for being pampered.
Heh, if the Christian guy knew how much new self-confidence I have after handling the discussion with him without panicking, and how my own life makes so much more sense now. He probably expected to help me in quite a different way, haha.
I almost want to say that if there was a God (not a Biblegod but a some kind of all-seeing creator being), he could be patting me on the back right now, saying "Good girl, all thinking with that nice brain I designed, all standing on your own feet, knowing you don't need me anymore."
But I don't need there to be a God for this to make sense. I'm raising myself into an independent adult, finally - that's it.