It’s a stretch to think

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.

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3 responses to “It’s a stretch to think

  • C Woods

    I understand that for those who are slowly awakening from religious superstitions, Dawkins and Harris may be too much, too soon. I often recommend one of two books by Dan Barker: Losing Faith in Faith or Godless. Dan, a former evangelical preacher, is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. At the website (www.FFRF.org) you can read a little about him (under Getting Acquainted) and listen to podcasts of weekly radio broadcasts. Dan has also written a children’s book: Just Pretend

    I always figure that if a doubter can see that even a minister who devoted his life to religion can have doubts and eventually give it up —not without problems, pain, and/or family rejection —-that anyone can do it.

    Also, there are a lot of web sites for doubters, skeptics, and non-believers, including yours and mine. Currently on my blog, I have a list of 185 links (and I have at least 100 more I haven’t had time to add.) I haven’t had time to visit them all, but some are for those who are into philosophy, finding Biblical contradictions, slamming Christians, etc. But by searching, one can find some middle ground —such as your site.

    I started doubting at sage 12 and had to keep my thoughts to myself. Once I left home for college and was exposed to Letters From the Earth (Twain) and Why I am Not a Christian (Russell) and other writing, I was already ready to hear what they had to say. In my teens, I don’t know that I ever even knew atheists existed —and it was such a relief to find others who were, at the least, skeptical about religion.

  • smudge

    I found this blog when Googling on black and white thinking in Christians…

    I can relate to all you have written in this one, including the help that reading Brian McLaren has given..

    and also the last para…which I did after 20 years of adult faith/attendance/service/mission etc [almost 7 years ago]

  • smudge

    P.S. because I haven’t really read all of your journey [and having read the comment above], I want to make clear that I have not walked away from Jesus himself, nor am I disillusioned by Him [infact I appreciate Him more than ever now I have more space away from the rat-race of religiousity and church [building] attendance
    my disillusionment is of the Church, and sometimes myself too, as part of it.

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