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Denial and Jealousy

By Mark2pt0 ~

Do you have a Christian friend that seems genuinely intrigued by the fact you have walked away from Christianity? Perhaps there are even a bit jealous because they have thought about doing so and just can’t seem to do it. Have you ever wondered why those people can’t just take that next step?

I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons, but I have a Christian friend who has given me a new perspective that I believe is probably much more common than we realize. I think it not only explains why some people can’t allow themselves to make that change, but I believe it also explains why so many Christians get mad at those of us who walk away. Let me tell you the story.

When I first announced to those closest to me that I was an atheist the responses I got from nearly all my friends and family were all very common ones, except for Bernie. Bernie was curious. He had lots of questions, but none of them condescending. As time went by it seemed as if he was more interested in my atheism than his God.

Eventually I couldn’t help myself. I asked him how he was able to live day in and day out with the questions and misgivings. I wanted to know why he still never considered giving up his faith when he had such huge doubts about it. I wasn’t expecting the answer I received.

He looked me directly in the eye and said, “I’ve donated untold hours in service to God. I’ve given more money than I care to think about in tithes and offerings to my church. It is easier to live with the doubts about my beliefs than it is to think I wasted all that time and money.over the years. If I were to suddenly believe there was no God that would mean I could have spent more time with my family as opposed to spending my time dragging them to church. If I were to suddenly become atheist that would mean I could have used all that money I gave to my church to do more for the people I love and care about. You see the bottom line is that to give into those doubts is to admit I was conned for all these years. It means I was a sucker.”

"To give into those doubts is to admit I was conned for all these years. It means I was a sucker.”I must admit I was shocked. Those words opened my eyes. I went through a period during my deconversion process in which I thought about all the time and money I had given to a belief system and institution which amounted to a lie in my eyes. The difference is it motivated me the other way. Instead of doubling down and refusing to allow myself to even fully consider just how much time and money I had wasted I decided from that point on to never waste my time and money on things that didn’t matter ever again.

I thought about his words for the next few days. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something hidden in those words that perhaps he
couldn’t even admit to himself. It finally hit me. He didn’t come right out and say it, but in my mind at least he viewed becoming an atheist as a tacit admission that he had been selfish. He had used his religion as an excuse to keep from having to ‘get his hands dirty’ by actually bothering to help those in need. He had used his religion as a way to not have to think for himself on everything from social issues to ‘eternal’ issues. It was easier to let a pastor tell him what to think. He had used it to absolve himself of the responsibility of having to teach his children morality. He could just parrot the line from his chosen pastor and denomination and then it was God’s word, not his.

So many of the things Christians say in regards to atheist seem to make a lot of sense in this light. They want to say we can’t be moral without God. They want to believe we are evil. I would venture to guess that they believe this, but not just because they were taught it. I think they believe it because to admit an atheist can be moral without God is to admit they don’t need God. They would have to admit that there is so much of this life on Earth that they have kept themselves from experiencing because of a false belief, and I believe it makes them angry because they are envious of the freedom they see in our lives.

There are countless examples of how this line of thought makes sense. The bottom line is I think this is perhaps a big reason so many otherwise rational Christians can’t allow themselves to even consider walking away despite their doubts.