I am deviating from my normal routine of cleaning up posts from my Tumblr and copying them here, and am going to be writing about the daily prompt word- “controversy.” I feel that what I write about on here- primarily regarding deconversion/leaving religion- is highly controversial. I live in the U.S.A., which, despite not necessarily being a “Christian” nation, is highly influenced by Christianity socially and in areas of government. Everyday Feminism wrote a great article about Christian privilege that I think sheds a lot of light on how Christianity reigns supreme in this nation.
Many Christians- but especially Evangelical Christians- tend to think of their religion as “sacred”, “holy”, and “absolute”- while other religions are thought of as “dark”, “Satanic” or “dangerous.” Christians are taught to be “in the world, but not of the world”, separating themselves on some level from the rest of society. A primary goal of many Christian denominations is to gain as many converts and followers as possible. Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark sum up the Christian mission quite well;
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:15-16
The “gospel” or “good news” as expressed by the Apostles’ Creed comprises a few main facts about Jesus;
- Jesus was born of a Virgin
- Jesus is fully God and fully man
- Jesus came to save people from their sins
- Jesus died, and was resurrected three days later
- Jesus ascended to heaven
- Jesus will return to establish God’s kingdom on earth
There are other beliefs about Jesus as well, namely that when he ascended to heaven he made it possible for believers to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit- a spirit from God that enables Christians to live the Christian life. Some Christians also believe that the Holy Spirit enables believers to experience the healings and miracles that Jesus and the apostles were said to have performed in the Bible.
Studies show, however, that traditional religion in the U.S. is dying. A growing number of people- myself included- do not think that religious adherence is what makes a person good or bad. I do not believe the morality consists of believing a certain set of “facts” about a religious icon. I do not think that it is necessary to be a part of a church to live a fulfilled life. In a country where we have prayer- often to the Christian God- at all our Presidential inaugurations, people swear on the Bible in court, and our coins say “In God We Trust”, this can be considered a radical viewpoint. Our Christian tradition in this country runs very deep.
With the demonization of other religions and cultures by some Christian cultures, it’s no wonder that people feel threatened when you begin to talk about leaving the faith. It’s common for more radical family members to take your rejection of their religion as an attack on them personally. I have personally experienced this with some members of my family and it can be disheartening. Even so, I am not going to change my position about my beliefs, even if rubs some people the wrong way.
That being said, I am still open to learning and exploring other peoples’ perspectives- even if they are religious ones. I know that I don’t have all the answers, but traditional religion with its rigid definitions was not working for me. It has once been said that “the more you know, the less you know that you know”. That’s pretty much where I am right now.