8/07/2010 | Share this article: View CommentsBy darklady --
During my days as a Christian, I often found myself in a position where my ideas were not in sync with the rest of the group I was with. While I didn’t think I was particularly wrong in my thinking, I often felt that I was missing some important piece of information that would make it all make sense.
Image by mtsofan via FlickrAsking penetrating and difficult questions is often met with stony silence or a brick wall. There was little reasoning to be had behind any opinions. A good example of this is the abortion debate. No matter where you end up standing on the issue, to get there some serious thought and discussion of all the issues, ramifications and parameters should be had. When does life begin, what is life, what is viability, how should outside circumstances effect any decisions, etc all should be explored and thought about.
Under fundamentalism there is only black or white. Gray areas do not exist. Too often fundamentalists believe that ‘if you are not for us you are against us’. Issues like abortion, euthanasia, sexual orientation divorce, etc are all closed for discussion. The position is already decided. Not being in agreement with the prevailing viewpoint within your fundamentalist group is very uncomfortable and dissenters either end up agreeing with the group or move out. This tends to reinforce the fundamentalists view point of being right. Without open discussion and the ability to agree to disagree, new ideas get buried and lost. The opinions of individual fundamentalists often came via the church leadership, based on their particular interpretation of the bible.
Exploring of ideas has always been important for me, and while this attribute was not a direct cause of my deconversion, it certainly was a part in it, especially when I went to University and was involved with a group of people that actually wanted to discuss a variety of ideas, explore new avenues of thought and were not afraid to look beyond their own belief system.
A pastor once said me that there was a danger in letting our young people go to university, as this was the time they often ‘fell away’. I am not surprised. The taste of freedom can be very enticing.