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All or Nothing

By RaLeah ~

When you grow up in a fundy home of Bible literalists, they tell you it's all or nothing.

Ken Ham spoke at my church to raise money for the Creationist Museum, and he made it clear that questioning the literal seven day creation of the world was the first step on that slippery slope to total disbelief in God and going to hell.

There was no in between, no purgatory. So you had better get it right. There's no room for doubters.

Let me first say that my parents--my whole very Christian family--are super kind people. They absolutely practise what they preach.

But I needed to know for sure whether it was all true--the most important thing in life, or utter nonsense. Should I devote every waking moment trying to warn people about hell and helping them get to heaven or renounce it all?

And yet... I felt guilty for even wanting proof. I told myself my quest would bolster my faith. If it were true, it would easily stand up under rigorous scrutiny.

To be clear, I didn't want to doubt it at all. I didn't mean to. It's just that, well, things kept popping up. A science report had me questioning the age of the earth. Meeting a gay person at my first restaurant job had me puzzling over the condemnation for their morality when she told me it didn't feel like a choice to her at all. I put a pin in those things, promised myself I'd do research once I was grown up, out of my parents' house.

And so I did. And then I saw very clearly how much information had been suppressed in my Christian school and in my church. I felt betrayed. And worse... unintentionally for the most part. The people passing the lies on to me, they really whole-heartedly believed those lies themselves. I couldn't even be angry with them. Not really. I could only feel sad that they would never accept me being a non-believer. And they could never be non-believers themselves.

I'm free now as an atheist, and to their credit, two of my siblings are more liberal Christians than I ever imagined they would grow to be, and I've been able to tell them who I am without judgment. They don't think I'm going to hell; one doesn't even believe in hell anymore.

But it reminds me of the joke where the wife smacks her husband on their anniversary and says, "That's for 25 years of bad sex," and he hits her back and says, "That's for knowing the difference."

Because you aren't supposed to question your faith THAT hard in the first place. You must have had the sin of doubting if you allowed yourself to be de-converted. And they dare not.

I did dare. And I'm not sorry.

I'm only sorry they can't.