10/17/2011 | Share this article:By Positivist ~
I am not angry as I emerge from the debris of a super-fundamental Pentecostal charismatic Word of Faith life. The main reason for my lack of anger, I think, is that I can’t blame anyone but myself for staying tied up in this mindset as long as I did.
Image via WikipediaSurfing ex-christian.net today I stumbled upon http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/21830-phases-of-deconversion/, in which “Hammurabi” articulates commonly observed phases in deconversions posted on this site. Being acquainted with the transtheoretical (stages of change) model, Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, and my own experience in deconversion, I was curious about Hammurabi’s perceptions on the phases of deconversion. Phase 4, according to this theory, is anger. What concerns me, and has for some time, is my apparent lack of anger as I emerge from fundy-land. Is my anger perhaps niggling just under the surface, like an abscess waiting to explode? Do I have an unresolved anger problem that I’m burying, to the detriment of my health?
Is anyone else worried about this potential problem?
I do have a history of anger. Growing up female in a fundy family, free-thought and anger were the two cardinal sins in our household. As a young adult I was accused of being “mad at God”, which to me seemed like a horrible thing. Looking back, I was angry because it seemed that the one true male God hated females and had no place for us in the Kingdom. Women in my church weren’t even allowed to vote in church matters or serve communion. This felt wrong and yet I felt powerless to act, because those simply were the rules that God had made. In my thirties I came to a crisis of faith. The cognitive dissonance by this time was roaring in my head with the volume of a jet engine at close range. My experiences and observations were not aligning with what I believed and read in my Bible. During this time another friend told me I was angry because I expected something from God, and God is no maker of deals and owes us nothing, so pony up the attitude. This was confusing to me because what I read in my Bible is that he was more generous than the most loving human parent. Are there not some expectations to be had?
So, I am acquainted with anger. I have come to believe that anger is a healthy emotion that occurs when personal boundaries are encroached upon and/or expectations not met. In the midst of my crisis of faith, when I was still a believer, I started to ask myself, “Is it not possible that I am pissed off because something is wrong?” I began to wonder if I shouldn’t just deal with the dissonance and anger head on. And that’s what I did, and I am finally at peace.
All this to say, I realize that I would be justifiable in my anger towards former ‘prophets’, woo woos, house group leaders, and pastors. I could be angry at my family and friends for not trying to save me from a cataclysmic charismatic catastrophe—they did try, but I wouldn’t hear of it because I was acting on special revealed knowledge (God had a special plan for my life!). I can’t be angry at the nut-jobs that led me astray—they too were led astray; we all fell into the same delusional vortex called “faith”. And at the end of the day, I made the best decisions I could with (what I thought was) the best available evidence. I still feel pangs of regret at my losses, but it sure made sense back then. I really thought I was onto something.
Does anyone else find it hard to be angry? Should I be?