6/02/2010 | Share this article:By Amy --
This site has been an amazing resource of information and support. There is one common sentiment that is expressed here that I do not share, however. And I thought I might put together a little rant about it.
“I am angry at the years wasted on this phony myth called Christianity.”
While I certainly understand this anger, and can absolutely empathize, especially for those who had such terrible experiences within the faith, I just don’t share it. I by no means wish to belittle the anger, or label it a wrong, but I thought I might offer my differing view. Perhaps it will encourage those who left the faith on amicable terms, like myself. Perhaps it may frame the Christian experience in a different light, and provide some healing for those who feel anger still. Most of all, I like to hear myself speak, and just cannot resist getting my two cents in.
Image by tj.blackwell via FlickrFive Reasons Why I’m Glad I Was a Christian
1. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone
Freedom. I know for certain I would not cherish my right to free-think, my freedom from oppressive religious dogma, the wonder of being master of my own domain (me). Just as Christianity plays up the “Those who have been forgiven much, love much” mantra, I ironically feel similar. Except my mantra would read “Those who have been enslaved much, love freedom much”. Hmmm, a little awkward, but I’m going with it. My immense appreciation for living life freely could not have been so profound had I not experienced the shackles of religion.
2. It ain’t all bad
My time as a Christian shaped my moral compass. And while a lot of that “shaping” was misguided, some of it is very helpful. Kindness, humility, honesty and forgiveness are all values I will carry with me as a legacy of my Christian upbringing. I am in no way implying these cannot be learned without Christianity, but I know that my time in the church fostered these values, and I intend to keep them. There are other attributes of Christianity I will try very hard to discard, like being judgmental, narrow minded thinking, guilt and shame. Very specifically, to rid myself of the bad legacy, I will focus on the good legacy.
3. Just Think About It
It is an interesting paradox that it was the search for “truth” that Christianity promoted, that finally led me to the truth. I had been taught at a very early age to critically think about what I heard, read and saw. Of course, this was meant to be done with the Christian Goggles securely in place, and the aim was to ensure I would discard all wayward teachings. But ironically, this push to critically examine all that isn’t Christianity inevitably led me to critically examine Christianity itself. And this skill of questioning, examining and researching has led me into a fascinating job, has served me well during times of media frenzy, and continues to propel me to a life that is lived with eyes wide open, and never on autopilot.
4. The voices tell me I’m OK
Prayer. Ah, what a waste. Or was it? I went to a seminar at work about health living, specifically looking at stress management. They laid out evidence based guidelines for successful coping strategies. They included: making an effort to be thankful every day, reviewing the day’s events (whether by journal or just mentally), laying out goals for the next day, positive self talk. Does this sound familiar? It sounds a lot like what we did in prayer. OK, maybe not the last one so much, but the point is, prayer made us look internally as well as externally, and that is a very valuable skill to have in life. So now, I continue to make time for introspection. I am journaling, I stop and talk to myself if I am getting too worked up about something, I remain thankful for much and optimistic in my life goals. The only difference is the inner voice now tells me I’m OK.
5. You just don’t understand!
But we do understand, don’t we? We have been on the inside, been part of the cultural phenomena known as Christianity. We lived it, baby! We have the privileged position of knowing (really knowing) the mindset of Christians. So we can help. You all know this better than I, clearly, but don’t lose sight of how incredibly valuable and important your perspective is for people like me who have just freshly been Born Again Freethinkers. Athiests, humanists and agnostics who have never been on the inside do not understand the reasoning of a Christian mind. They don’t understand how hard it is to leave. And they don’t know how to comfort and guide those who have left. It is a bit of an exclusive club, and we all belong. We all understand each other in a way that only a shared experience of deep meaning can accomplish.
So, there is my rant, or anti-rant maybe. Cheers!
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