Tuesday, April 3, 2007

100th post!

7:50 PM Posted by: M., 7 comments

Honestly, it is so nice to have virtual friends here to talk to about this stuff (I only say virtual, because I only know everyone though my computer screen--I guess "digital" might be a better term). I really can't imagine trying to do all my questioning without access to discussions and other viewpoints. I want to say thanks for the responses to my last post--it is nice to hear that it is okay to slow down and really think about things.

I think it is hard to slow down when dealing with these big questions because when I try to talk to someone who is christian about this, they usually ask me a million questions and try to prove to me that I still am a christian by trying to quiz me into oblivion. The truth is, I don't know all the details of why I do not believe, I am not able to quote a laundry list of biblical inconsistencies, write long proofs about morality, or chart the complexities of darwinism off the top of my head. Christianity is an easy place to get into, but a hard thing to get out of--I feel like I signed up for America Online and they wont let me cancel my membership ("but you purchased the lifetime membership contract!")


Ed Lynam said...

This post reminds me of a parable I wrote a couple of months ago: The Parable of the Kitchens

There is a big house with lots of kitchens. As you come along the hall, the first kitchen has a door with a sign, "Entrance, You Must Be This Tall To Enter". On the inside of the door is a sign saying "NO EXIT, ALARM WILL SOUND". Inside are a bunch of people eating and two chefs, Sunni and Shia, who are always arguing. But they agree that their recipe book must be kept the same, and each recipe followed exactly every time. The food served in the kitchen is always Arabic, but there are a few people who sometimes ask for Turkish.

Next down the hall there is a kitchen with no door. Inside, there are scraps of paper with recipes in hundreds of languages. There are some original Hebrew and Greek recipes, but they are old and well worn. But the variety of foods they employ and the possibilities of the dishes produced seem endless. However, it is clear that the recipes are not the main attraction in this kitchen. No, that would be Rabbi, who doesn't actually do the cooking but he keeps running around helping the people in the kitchen to make their food and get it better, so they can eat and feel full. Around the kitchen, it is not tidy like down the hall. There are signs of burnt dishes from days past. There are little children trying their hands with their own "special" creations. And Rabbi keeps running out into the hallway inviting people in. The people have a great time, and they especially brag about the great bread and wine.

A little further down the hall is the Atheist kitchen. There are no recipes and there is no food cooking. No, the atheists have gotten into the liquor cabinet. They keep insisting that food is a non-sequitor, and that recipes have no meaning, and that they aren't in a kitchen.

Paul Moment said...

Marie, I get the mental image of people like yourself who are making a transition from "sacred" to "secular", or maybe vice versa, as civilians trying to cross an ancient no-man's-land -- trying to stay alive while running through a hail of bullets with both sides yelling "come over here and you'll be safe!" even though they're all still shooting.

Admitting to your doubts puts you smack-dab in the middle of everyone's opinions, but don't take all the quarreling personally. It's been going on for centuries, and the arguments and condemnations and debates aren't really about you -- it's about people trying to prove they're right, trying to win the war, and you just happen to be collateral damage.

Like the commentors in the last post said, just take it at your own pace and trust where your spiritual nose leads you. If God is real, if Christ cares about you, or if the whole thing is baloney, time and patience will reveal it. Take the time to feel the grief of your loss of surety and the heart-stopping sensations of not knowing what's true. It's not an easy thing to let go of something you thought was the foundation of your being.

When my wife and I first had our faith de-constructed in college, it was horrendously disorienting. I remember feeling physically dizzy the first time I really truly considered that my faith the way I knew it was flimsy and built on neurotic ways of looking at spirituality, and wondering if I should leave everything my community believed to be something else -- Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, who knows. It's taken me probably 15+ years to find Christianity in a way I could commit myself to, live for, die for. And some people never come back.

Personally, I don't think that trips God out in the slightest. I believe God is happy with us when we use our good sense and follow our desire for authentic truth, and deeply desires for us not to be flippant or automatic about what we believe.

So, from my chair here, I'd say take it slow and don't worry about proofs and rhetoric and counter-arguments, blah blah blah. That's usually a smoke screen people use as a way to express their deep down desire to encounter something so transcendently true that it captivates them, captures their heart and emotions for the rest of their lives. Look for that truth, and like Christ said, you'll find it.

Sorry for the long screed -- I guess I just like the sound of my clicking keyboard... :)

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Congratulations on your 100th post, Marie! I've enjoyed reading your posts, and I've appreciated all the dialogue we have shared online throughout our truth-seeking. Have a great day!

Heather said...

**I believe God is happy with us when we use our good sense and follow our desire for authentic truth, and deeply desires for us not to be flippant or automatic about what we believe.** I agree. One of the commands that Jesus gives is to worship God with all of our mind. So doesn't that mean that part of understanding God and being able to worship Him requires the use of said mind?

And I'm glad you have people to talk with about this. It makes the journey less lonely.

Becky said...

you make me laugh I liked your metaphor (I think that is what it is called) about signing up and can't end the membership.


true Christianity brings freedom not shackles

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi Marie!

I just found your blog via the comments section at Debunking Christianity. You said over there that you recently deconverted. Wow!

I remember my deconversion. It was quite a rollercoaster, and quite traumatic. But I wouldnt take it back for anything. Ive never felt freer than to be living my life without the fear of a cosmic big brother watching me a la 1984.

Ive just read through your archives, including most of the posts where you lay your process of doubting out for all to see. This is very brave and admirable of you, so congrats. Also, it looks like you still have much of a journey ahead of you, and probably nobody can say for sure where it will end up.

Where do I personally hope you end up in? Atheism. Humanism. Rationalism. Those things seem crazy at first, especially considering where your path started (Christianity), but if you follow your thoughts honestly, and think for yourself (a big Biblical no-no: lean not into thine own understanding) I think its just a matter of time before you come to a conclusion very close to atheism.

I understand your family fears. I came from a very Christian family as well. Some of my family members still dont know that Im an atheist. Fortunately for me, my Christian mom didnt disown me for my failure of faith. But as for you, I hope your family wont go nuclear over you calling yourself a non-Christian.

Anyway, I like your blog, and I figure Ill stop by from time to time to see how youre doing. Keep up the great blogging! :)

HeIsSailing said...

"Christianity is an easy place to get into, but a hard thing to get out of--I feel like I signed up for America Online and they wont let me cancel my membership "

great - thanks for the laugh! I never thought of it that way, but this is true. Part of me still wants to cling on, Marie. Part of me still wants Christianity to be true - and part of it is just the fact that I have lived it all my life, and it is really the only paradigm that I know. I have told few old church friends of my very serious doubts, but I don't really want to debate and argue.

My advice - when you get pressured to defend yourself with a million different questions, just stop and ask them with all sincerity "don't ask me why I don't believe. Tell me why you believe." Just listen to their answer (if they give one) and see if it makes sense. Can you believe for the same reasons they do? If so, then great! You have learned something new. If not, then don't worry about it anymore.