In August, 2010, Anne Rice came out and said, “I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-science. I refurse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being a Christian. Amen.”

I couldn’t have agreed more with her decision. For quite a few years, I’ve spent time deconstructing my own faith and came up with a very similar conclusion.

I can no longer call myself a Christian.

Ironically, I think this is a very “Christ-like” decision, since I don’t think modern Christianity represents Christ and the teachings of modern preachers seem to me very unintellectual, simple, and money and power hungry. I think if “Christ came back” he’d say WTF?!

But, I don’t blame the state of the Church on preachers themselves. I think each individual who accepts the teachings of pastors also has some part in the state of the church. Accepting the state of the church as anti-gay, anti-science, anti-feminist is something I did for years. I became a reverend in that state. I didn’t question the under educated pastors who were passing on terminology and ideas that hadn’t been well-thought out or deconstructed. They hadn’t been doubted by them, or criticized. They just slopped it into my bowl and I drank from it.

I resigned from being a reverend in 2003. I still continued to do ministry until 2005, and there I started attending college. A secular college. The deconstruction of my faith came during my college years, but not necessarily because of them. Immediately after leaving my cult, the slop just tasted terrible. I started recognizing that most of it was b.s. and I’d questioned it BEFORE Master’s Commission, and needed to revert back to that time before I entered into a mind-control environment. It was hard to get in touch with who I was before Master’s and the ministry, but I did it. I found a girl who was guilt-free, lacked a constant condemnation, and thought a lot about everything. That girl was normal (for the most part), listened to secular music, watched Rated R movies, and read all kinds of different books. I resumed my life there.

I’m not a Christian anymore. I didn’t lose my faith. I decided to get rid of it.

My faith was cumbersome to my personal growth, to my well-being as a human being, and to my desire to be a compassionate person who loved the world as it is.

I was wrapped up in fundamentalism for years. Someone said:

“Fundamentalism is a form of organised anger in reaction to the unsettling consequences of rapid social and religious change.”

I don’t believe fundamentalism is representative of all Christianity or all Christians, but what I believe doesn’t coincide with either belief system.

What I believe now is that there is no heaven or hell. Those are scare tactics taught to us by pastors around the world to pressure us into a relationship with God. Sometimes this is for their own “number game.” Sometimes it’s so that they can say their church is growing and the Holy Spirit is moving. Sometimes it’s for the perpetuation of something they learned was “right” and just kept doing without questioning whether it was right or godly or not.

I believe the Bible is not inerrant. It’s complicated. It’s a historical document, filled with interesting stories and myths. Did God create Eve out of Adam’s rib? Probably not. In fact, that’s the exact type of thing I’m talking about. That myth perpetuates the idea that Eve is less than Adam. She also tempted Adam and caused them to get kicked out of the Garden. Those early Genesis teachings are anti-women and reinstate patriarchal power structures that are harmful to male and female alike.

The Bible is also filled with the promotion of slavery, more oppressive language toward women, gays, and it can be a dangerous tool in the hands of fundamentalist Christians inciting violence and war rhetoric (the “army of the Lord” fighting against the “ungodly”).

I don’t believe America is or should be a Christian nation. First, there are a lot of Christians who disagree on things such as abortion, gun control, the environment, etc. I believe the United States is a nation of Jews, Muslims, and multiple other religions, ideologies, and beliefs. America also contains a group of citizens who are anti-theist, atheist who are not “heathens” or “evil” or even wrong. They’re human beings. They’re not going to die and call out to God on their death bed. They’re satisfied with their lives.

I respect science and scientists. I believe evolution is more plausible than any of the other theories of why we exist today. I think it’s necessary to learn and educate ourselves about how we’ve evolved as a biological being and anthropologically.

I believe that women are not sub-human to men. We don’t need to submit. We are not superior, but equal to men. I disagree with men and women who oppress women using the Bible, political and cultural ideologies, etc. This use of the Bible to promote the “gentle-spirited” woman is harmful for women; it doesn’t consider us individuals capable of being wild; and it’s oppressive to men, promoting the idea of a “manly man” as the only ideal of a godly man. These teachings (explicit and implied) harm people’s confidence in themselves, pervert individual traits, and control sex and gender roles.

On that note, I’m strongly against patriarchal religion. I don’t believe that God or gods are a Father. I don’t think God is a Him, and this language and idea oppresses women and men.

I share all of this with you because I’m ready to come out as Anne Rice did. I’m tired of putting on pretenses that I am someone I’m not. I’m proud of how I’ve evolved into the woman I am today, the relationships I have with people who support me (and a pretty awesome family who loves me through all of this) and like me for who I am rather than what I believe or don’t believe. I’m also really excited about drafting the plans to my own life, following some and discarding others based on what I think is right, not what someone tells me is right (or God’s voice). My life has become a journey filled with heartache, and pain, growth and critical thinking, and embracing the wild and exciting part of myself.

I’m happy with my quirkiness, my ability to make people laugh, and the unique way I form a thought, feel things deeply, and care about people.

I like me.

 

Lastly, in the style of Reddit, please feel free to ASK ME ANYTHING.

Views: 130

Tags: Christian, atheist, secular

Comment by Reggie on February 5, 2011 at 3:32am
Congrats!
Comment by Albert Bakker on February 5, 2011 at 4:50am

That is indeed a very eloquent elucidation.

However I get the impression this is more an objection to the ethical retardation, the inherent misogynistic character of especially the Abrahamic religions and traditions, and maybe I read between the lines, addresses present day Christianity as maybe still a correctable aberration, than it is a wholesale rejection of religion on purely intellectual grounds and the irreconcilability of the God(s)-idea with that of a naturalistic universe. Is this correct?

You make a point of objecting to the gender of "God" because you seem to think that because within Christianity this ill defined concept is referred to as a "Father" and thus a man, therefore Christianity is misogynist. Do you think things would be much better if Christians referred to "God" as their "heavenly Mother" I mean Catholics for example refer to Maria as the Mother of God, the entire collection of their churches (not necessarily every perverted thing that happens in it) as the Mother Church.  Greek Orthodox do the same. The half baked protestants of the Church of England ditto.  US Baptists have no better idea either.

The ultra crazy Moonies go even further and call theirs the "Bride of Christ." Moon Sr. thinks he is God himself and the successor of Christ, but in his defense it must be said he thinks his wife is too. Not that she plays much of prominent role besides doing a very convincing impersonation of one her husbands ribs.

They officially believe God is both male and female. But it doesn't seem to do them any good, when it comes to opening their minds. God himself aka Moon Sr. holds it for self-evident that homosexuals and fornicators are like dirty dung eating dogs

(Very entertaining read actually.)

It should be said that for those who actually do read scripture, it is undeniably homophobic. You have to synthesize impossibly difficult

Comment by Albert Bakker on February 5, 2011 at 4:53am

hey, where did the rest of my text go?


Comment by Snowcrash on February 5, 2011 at 5:32am

Gratz and welcome to the light :)

Someone asked if you came out to your family yet, if they are understanding it will probably hurt a little but they would understand, but if they are deeply religious i would be cautious, they are your parents after all, and i'm sure you would like to keep a good relationship with them.

Whatever you do, don't feel pressured into something you might regret later on, you have got all the time in the world :)

--------------------

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony"

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 5, 2011 at 3:21pm

 

Lovely Girl,


First, it seems you want to be a follower of Christ but throw off the baggage of "Christendom". That is commendable. I'd just hope you don't throw out the Baby with the bath water! What goes on in Christendom and what Christ taught (commonly called Christianity) are often at odds as you point out.

Secondly, a commitment to follow Christ and embrace his claims is a commitment to what he taught. And he taught heaven and hell. Not as a punishment/reward system, not as a scare tactic, but as a reality resulting from our separation from God. Christ, as you know, came to remedy the separation problem. Hell is the ultimate separation from God. Heaven is the ultimate fellowship with God that God intended.

Secondly, the Hebrew word for "rib" can mean "part of the side". God could have created Eve any way he wished but typically acts in symbolic ways for our enlightenment. The side indicates equality.

The Scripture is clear that Adam and Eve both are responsible and fully represented all humankind in their fall. Apparently, the "Serpent" (not a "talking snake" but an intelligent being of some sort) was used by Satan (whom Christ also taught exists) to attack a spiritual sensitivity innate in woman knowing it would exploit something innate in man. The "spiritual sensitivity" is God-given and precious. But precious things are often very vulnerable!

The Scriptures report subjugation of women but does not promote it. Quite the opposite! Jesus placed women on a level of respect in total reversal of attitudes in that culture! Paul taught that there is a spiritual hierarchy for the church, based upon how God has wired us, and in light of the vulnerabilities I mentioned. "There is neither Jew nor Greek...male nor female... all are one in Christ". Submission in this sense is not subjugation. (More on this later if you wish).

Thirdly, slavery in the ancient Near East was nothing like early-Ameri

Comment by Albert Bakker on February 5, 2011 at 5:08pm

Ah, there seems to be a maximum limit to response length. So I'll keep it short.

There's no baby in the bath water. Just water and scum.

And speaking of scum, if you actually do read Scripture you can read Paul teachings about unity in Christ. Only some are more unified than others it seems. In true spirit of Paul's constant highminded defense of religious tolerance we can read in Romans 1:26 for women and 1:27 for men the crimes for which the deserve death. Please do.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 5, 2011 at 5:34pm
Getting rid of god is reaching a new level of maturity as a person. As you say “Faith is cumbersome to your personal growth”. People using faith do not think clearly about the bigger questions in life because they already have all the answers and whenever they have doubts they put god into the gaps. Now that you have shed that skin you can use Reason and logic to search for answers. You have already discovered that it makes more sense. No stopping you now that the baggage is gone.

We are all unique. However not all of us realise that. Being aware of your own thought process is great. Enjoying it and the other traits that make you “You” is something to embrace. I think the fact that religion stifles the inner quest that makes us human and says that doubt is not to be tolerated is one of the worst things about it. Many are happy to remain sheep in a flock and are secure in their blind faith that god is the answer to all doubts and fears. (cue replies about how “my faith is not blind”) lol.

Whatever happens in life, be it good or bad, is managed better or enjoyed more as a person who can see the world as it actually is. There are beautiful things to be discovered that religion hides from us.
You wrote a good post – thanks it was enjoyable to read. The clarity of thought is refreshing after 4 hours debating 2 Jehovah Witnesses. Hopefully they will snap out of it soon.
Comment by LovelyGirl on February 5, 2011 at 6:13pm

Becky:

You asked if I've come out to my friends and family yet.

 

Yes and no.

 

I wrote this blog post for my personal blog, www.mycultlife.com, which my family and friends read. Since writing this, I haven't had any friends or family admit they've read it or ask me any questions. I'm sure this topic will come up, but this was my way of coming "out."

 

Also, I'm in the beginning stages of synthesizing and processing what it means to be non-religious. It's taken me time to come this far and I've taken baby steps toward coming out this vocally and publicly. I'm sure in a few more years, I might even be more open than I am now, but I'm just happy I'm no longer indoctrinated with a lot of Christian bullshit.

 

Others:

To explain a little background on me and why I felt it was important to do this online--I'm a former reverend and spent seven years in full-time ministry. I discipled young adults, and preached sermons, etc. To walk away from ministry helped me realize many things--including that Christianity is (to me) very dangerous if interpreted literally. It also helped me realize most pastors are bullshit and idiots. Lastly, it helped me realize that the ministry I was part of was extremely controlling and abusive, and had more in common with a cult than a church (or are they the same? I still wonder that).

 

I have to be mindful of my audience on my blog, and I try to speak my mind as openly as possible without insulting hundreds of people I personally know. They're mostly Christians who read my story, and I feel it's important to respectfully educate them about the dangers of a cult and the dangers of reading the Bible literally. They say you win more bees with honey, but who knows.

 

I think it's extremely important to try to take my knowledge of the "inside" of ministry and talk about how I have changed my mind, because man

Comment by LovelyGirl on February 5, 2011 at 6:21pm

Albert Bakker,

I couldn't agree w/you more!

 

I've heard "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" several times now from "friends" on Facebook or readers on my blog.

 

I have four responses to people who say that:

  1. What baby? What bathwater? So, you're saying that the bathwater (the church/Christianity) is dirty and contaminated and needs to be thrown out? I agree.
  2. If something or someone is abusive, causes you not to think critically, shuts off all avenues that allow you to function fully as a human being (if you want to follow your heart, you can't in Christianity, because it's "evil"; if you want to follow your intellect and logic, you can't in Christianity, because you're called a "fool" and following "false wisdom."), then I think most rational people who aren't interested in being repeatedly abused or oppressed would leave the object or in this case ideology behind and move on toward something healthier for their physical and mental well-being.
  3. I consider the church, Christianity, and the Bible abusive, violent, oppressive, and contrary to personal growth. I don't want anything in my life that fits those characteristics.
  4. To be unable or unwilling to listen to, analyze or interpret criticism of a religious organization or ideology is morally and ethically irresponsible. We must be allowed to think for ourselves and disagree with what we don't feel comfortable with, or what we don't feel is adding to our life or intellectual growth. Countless stories and historical documents exist where people were murdered, ostracized or beaten due to "heresy" or disagreeing with the church. Additionally, there's text in the Bible that calls for Christians not to doubt "God" or their pastors teachings. I think this is really dangerous.
Comment by Violet Chartreuse on February 5, 2011 at 6:28pm

Congratulations and Welcome.

Wishing you all the best on your new journey!

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