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Less than a Christian

By Tania ~

I am mad at some of the people in my life who claim to be “believers” (whatever that means), followers of Christ, godly people, and so on.

Because these people believe easily – with the faith of a child, without asking big questions, without daring to think outside of the box – they do not understand what it is like to think like someone like me. What a lot of them don't understand is that we have arrived at this place of being agnostic/atheist/non-religious, not necessarily because we wanted to, but simply because we can no longer accept and follow the teachings of Christianity. We do not all reason the same way. We do not all have the same experiences, the same acquaintances and friends, the same thought processes; therefore, our journeys of faith may look very different than those of Christians who have never wandered out of the box.

Somehow, some Christians consider me to be “less than,” because I do not pray like they do. Somehow, I am “less than,” because I think that some things are coincidental - not miracles from God, not answers to prayer, not “part of God's plan,” but simply life unfolding as it will, with or without some grander purpose. Somehow, I am “less than,” because I question Jesus's authority, I question whether God is real, I see more than one way to heaven (if there is a heaven), I don't believe Peter and Paul were more than ordinary men, I don't think the Bible is God-breathed.

Some of these people think that no matter what I do, how I think, what I say, I will still fall short of living a good life and having a good death, because I do not believe with my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord.

I am angered that my life is considered by some to be less “worthy.” In the same way that a friend of mine a few years ago commented that my job wasn't "important" - I worked as a housekeeper at the time, and she is a teacher - some people make it pretty clear that my doubts, disbelief, and deconversion make my life less “worthy.”

These are people who see themselves as “called by God.” Many of them think that their Christian beliefs make them superior – like they have it more figured out and they should be the ones influencing everyone else to be like them.

I used to think that the closest friends I would ever have would be from the church. Over time, I've learned that they are no better and no worse than other friends outside of the church, outside of the fold, outside of God's family. I've learned that supportive, forgiving, comforting, non-judgemental friends can be found outside of the church; and I've learned that friends within the church do not always listen well, do not stand by me at all times, do call me hurtful things, do hold my shortcomings against me for far too long.

Along the way, I've learned that I cannot in fact always depend on God, that I cannot trust all that I've heard about him from leaders in the church or well-known Christian authors, and that my doubts about Him may very well be more than my just my own weaknesses or my own sinfulness.

I know that I make mistakes, that I'm not perfect, that I do not have it all figured out. But when it comes to this whole Christian thing, I know that even if I distance myself from it even more than I already have, it does not make me “less than.”