Inaugural Entry

Riven

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This has been a long time coming.

 

I've yet to write my ex-timonial outlining the downfall of my faith, but that's coming. I think it's fair to say that after twenty-five years inside of evangelical Christianity, it's going to take a bit of processing and healing to get it all sorted out enough to write it all down. The best way I can come up with to describe my slow and painful exodus, would be to say it felt like death by a thousand paper cuts. The metaphor works, because any one of the "reasons" I could give, wouldn't seem on its face to be enough to walk away. But over a period of many years, it wore me down. Down to the core of my soul. So much so, that when I finally found the strength to walk away, I felt like I'd been robbed of those years. I was left trying to figure out who I was without the identity of "believer." And in truth, I didn't know. I'm still learning. I can't go back, but I can move forward, living my best life now.

 

These days, I am "closer to fine" than I have ever been. Ironically, I feel free and unchained. Funny, that's what Christianity tells us will happen when we accept Christ. That was even true for me, in the beginning. But what I didn't know, was that Western Christianity also comes with a lot of unspoken and unwritten "rules."

 

In the end, the rule book grew heavy, and the veil that was torn off was the real truth of the Bible: that it's peppered with inconsistencies that most Christians will never hear about in church. We don't have original manuscripts. The gospels were not written by apostles of Jesus. There was political infighting among various church factions that lasted over a century about which manuscripts would be considered "inspired," which was decided four hundred years after-the-fact.

 

As I was beginning to become a student of the real Bible (not the sacred, inspired, "either it's all true of none of it's true" Bible that evangelicals tout), Western evangelicalism decided it was time to get in bed with politics. That was my final straw. That, and the absolute hypocrisy of other evangelical Christians. There is no more discipleship. There is no more open-mindedness. No more quest for truth. The only usefulness the Bible holds for many Christians, is to use it to "proof text" other people. Including other Christians that don't see it exactly how the evangelical does. I left disgusted. I still am.

 

So, here I am. I've found a home at Exchristian. Shockingly, they know how to be respectful when disagreeing. I guess "godless" people aren't so bad after all. Imagine that.



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I agree about being "closer to fine" than ever. (I assume you're referencing the "Indigo Girls" song?)

 

For the most part, I'm in the closet as an atheist. (Long story having mostly to do with avoiding conflict.) But just the fact that I know these people are practicing mythology, and that they really believe it, makes it easier for me to live among it and not let it bother me. I don't have to try to please some invisible deity any more, or figure out what the deity wants based on a book; rather, I just have to live my life in the way that seems most reasonable.

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Yep, I named the blog after the song, because I really do feel like so much got better when I finally let go of the mythology for good. I'm not out either (also to avoid conflict). But yes, I'm doing juuuuuuust fine! Or, closer to fine anyway! 😉

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About a year and a half ago I ended up "going forward" because I had been outed to the elders. I was tempted to say "screw it" and just quit, but I have a son who is a preacher and it would potentially have caused problems with my (and my wife's) spending time with them and our grandchildren, so I went to the front on a Wednesday night and "repented." After that I took my name off of the lists to lead singing, lead prayers, etc. And some time later, one of the elders asked me how I was doing, in such a way that I understood him to mean "how are you doing spiritually?" I answered truthfully: "I'm good!" In my mind I figured I was doing better than he was, because he's still a believer. If you believe in mythology, you aren't doing so well!

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I hear you. I'm attending a United Methodist Church with my husband to keep the peace, and because he wants our teenage son to continue to have that experience. He knows I don't believe, and he knows our son doesn't believe anymore either. But, there is something to be said for keeping family peace. And I guess family traditions. I agree with you, it's easier to keep relationships intact this way. The church we are in is inclusive to all people and very liberal, theologically so I'm OK with it.

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