4/08/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Age of Reason ~
My wife's reaction to my recent personal revelation surprised me...but, then again, I really kind of expected it. Blogs from this site, as well as others, had pretty much told me what to expect from those still inside the cult. Still, it stung enough to make me somewhat defensive. I'm not sure why I felt the need to defend my early, incorrect beliefs, but defend them I would...
I had been a "fundy" for almost 20 years. I'd raised all of our children under the weight of the "good" book. I had been a trustee, deacon, and a Sunday school teacher and at one time had considered the ministry. Some months ago, I had set myself upon a quest...a quest I was quite sure would strengthen my faith. My quest was to figure out why I believed what I believed. It was simple, really, or so I thought.
I suppose what I had going for me was the desire to know truth...as if I were discovering it for the first time...with no preconceived notions. No agenda. That's tough for anyone to do, much less a fundamentalist Christian. I wanted to know WHY I believed what I believed. Not necessarily what my pastor said...or my parents...or apologists. I live in Missouri, the "Show Me State". That's what I wanted God to do...show me. So, I veered away from the prescribed books that someone with my "condition" is steered toward. I thought I would start with a book that most Christians had never thoroughly read, myself included.
I read the Bible...
all of it...
including the difficult parts. The parts that no pastor in his right mind would preach on. I read the "fulfilled prophecies" in the new testament, and cross referenced them with the scriptures of the old. I read the passages about rape, and slavery, and murder. I read the contradictions...all the while becoming more and more disheartened by my past, but more excited about my future. This world started to make sense for the first time in my life...
I read Bart Ehrman. I read mythology from around the world. I read the works of the early church fathers. The quest is still on...but my days of believing are over. Thank god!(Lower case "g" on purpose.)
In defense of my past faith to my dear wife, I made an almost "fatal" error...I compared my belief in Christ to my belief in Santa Claus. OOPS!
"One believes based on what we know...or think we know", I said.
"When I was young, I believed in Santa Claus. My parents told me Santa was real. I would leave cookies and milk for him by the fireplace, and in the morning they would be gone. I asked my Dad once why some of the toys said 'Made in China' on them, and he informed me that Santa was so busy, sometimes he outsourced his toys. I had no reason to doubt. Everything that I was surrounded by seemed to prove that there was a Santa. Nothing you could say would have changed my mind."
I could see that she hadn't made the connection, so I continued.
"Now, as an adult, I know that Santa is a myth. Nothing you could say would change my mind. If someone stood with a gun to my head and threatened to pull the trigger if I didn't profess that Santa was real, I still couldn't believe. I could 'say' that I did, but that wouldn't be the same, now would it?"
My wife replied, smugly, "Well the difference is...Jesus is REAL!"
Needless to say...Christmas sucked at our house this year.
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