I was having a conversation with a friend today, and one thing has struck me from it – that most Christians cannot see beyond the limited faith perspective enough to question what they read and hear. Their belief in their particular view of God limits their vision so much that any challenge to the perspective is met with a sharp defense. My friend mentioned that she has many Christian friends who she cannot share her own beliefs with for fear that it will destroy their faith.
That’s the challenge – do you share what you feel is liberating, or allow others to continue in delusion so that they may avoid the inevitable pain that can follow discovery of superstitious belief? There has got to be a middle ground. Unfortunately, I went through a very dark time to arrive at what I understand at this point in time, and I do not wish such an experience on anyone. Pain is a normal experience, at least the grief of loss, but should not be any more uncomfortable as a child realizing that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are fantasy. In both cases, there is an expanded awareness and understanding of the world. This could be well described as ‘growing pains’.
A middle ground which would have softened the blow for me would have been to have friends that either had gone through the journey themselves, or were at least open-minded enough to be able to guide my confused and troubled mind into clarity and peace. If I were to try to bring someone to a more expanded awareness or shift in consciousness, I would do so gently rather than with any force. Dawkins or Harris really will not do at this stage. I think there is a big lack in quality resources to facilitate this process. Brian Mclaren was responsible for my initial shift, but beyond him the only vestige of support was in liberal Christianity, which offered very little that I could confidently grasp.
Walking away from the security of a church where community, warmth, and joy are regularly experienced is unquestionable for most. It was relatively easy for me given that I experienced none of these things. What I long to see is community that is both open-minded and open-hearted. Such is rare, and such is beautiful.