No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)
This will be a series of posts where my thoughts wander in and out and all over, and it rambles, but there is a point or two behind it.
Since I’ve been in a faith crisis the last couple of years, somewhere between being an agnostic and a Christian, I have noticed I don’t fit in anywhere. I reside in No Man’s Land.
(Even before then, when I was a total, committed Christian, and politically, I was, and am, right wing, I still didn’t fit in at most blogs and forums, including political ones, and including ones for right wingers!
I tend to be one of those personalities who annoys or angers everyone, even those on “my side” of an issue, except a small number of people, who are either on my side of a topic or not, who “get me” or who appreciate where I’m coming from – again, this is true for even the ones who disagree with me on whatever topic we are discussing.)
I am in this really weird place now, where I am critical of some aspects of conservative Christianity, and see where conservative Christians get some doctrines and other things wrong, but, too, I am not fully on board with militant atheism (I find the New Atheists to be arrogant, vile, hateful and rude), and I don’t even care for lukewarm atheism.
Nor am I in the camp of anything and all things liberal Christianity, except where I think they get the occasional point correct (such as their rejection of gender complementarianism).
Since drifting away from the Christian faith more the last few years, I more often began frequenting forums or blogs for and by atheists, ones by liberal Christians, ones by ex Christians, or by Christians who were abused by a former church who remain Christian but who dropped out of Church, or who now are on a crusade to expose abuse by preachers or the absurdity and harm of current evangelical gimmicks.
THE MILITANT ATHEISTS
A clarification: when I say I have been visiting atheist forums and blogs more often, I am very picky about which ones I regularly visit.
I do not like the frothing- at- the- mouth, extremely bitter, biased- against- Christians- type atheistic communities.
The bitter atheist groups sound like a bunch of irrational, hate-filled loons who reject Christianity for emotional reasons, but who lie to others and themselves and say, “Oh no, it’s purely intellectual.”
But their unrelenting, insane amount of hatred at any and all things God and Christian, is just a total turn-off to me, so I try to avoid such sites.
These angry, always-ranting atheists are really nothing more than Fundamentalist Atheists or Taliban Atheists. They are just as dogmatic about their atheism as Muslims are in their Wasabi Islam or Baptists are in their Neo Fundamentalism.
Really, those types of atheists are just as bad as the religious groups they claim they hate, but they don’t seem to spot that they are. It’s ironic – and it’s hard to stomach the day in, day out anger and hatred, so I try to avoid their sites.
HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS VS NON HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS
Also, you have to be honest with yourself, which I do not find militant atheists to be, by and large: not every single Christian is a hypocrite, jerk, idiot, dullard, or complete jackhole.
I say this as someone who is very fed up with Christianity and Christian persons myself these days.
But your average militant atheist will never admit that some Christians are in fact okay and not being hypocrites.
I have known and met a few Christians who were sincerely trying to live the Christian faith out, such as my mother, who is now deceased, and her mother before her (my grandmother).
I’ve met a few honest, sincere Christians online who do help people and show compassion to the wounded.
So it’s not fair to completely dismiss the entirety of Christians and their faith or treat them all like jerks because some are liars, mean, or abusive.
Which is not easy for me personally, because at the same time, I do keep noticing that a lot of self-professing believers do NOT live out what the Bible says.
Many self professing Christians today, for example, do not protect victims, such as young church members who have been sexually molested by preachers.
Nor do many church goers today hold accountable preachers who bilk their church goers out of millions to buy big mansions and jets.
These idiots, these lemmings, actually defend their greedy pastors online, which I’ve written about here: (Link): Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why.
Then you have a conservative or evangelical culture, which claims to care deeply that people preserve sex until marriage, but if you actually find yourself 40 years of age and still single – and therefore still a virgin, such as myself – these same churches and Christians do not offer you any support.
You either go ignored, or preachers and talking heads of such groups “run down” and insult celibacy as well as older, celibate adults. Churches treat single (and especially celibate) adults as though they are flawed, lepers, weirdos, or losers.
Churches wrongly counsel abused wives to return to their spouses – this is particularly true, again, of churches or Christian groups who buy into “biblical womanhood” (aka “gender complementariansm”) or “patriarchy.”
Churches and average Christians also remain ignorant or callous about matters pertaining to mental health issues, from P.T.S.D. to depression and anxiety attacks.
Some Christians wrongly and insensitively teach that “real Christians” can never get depression or other mental health maladies.
Or, some Christians believe and teach that prayer, faith, service to the poor, or Bible reading alone can cure one of mental illness.
Still other Christians (or the same type) will shame and guilt suffering Christians for using anti-depressant medications, or for seeing secular or Christian psychiatrists and therapists (see this link for more, “Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness”).
Yet other Christians are incompetent at, or unwilling, to provide more ordinary, “every day,” run- of- the- mill comfort to other Christians who are hurting, such as a Christian who is stressed out over a job loss, someone who is in mourning for a deceased loved one, etc.
Christians are dropping the ball in numerous ways.
And this failure, this huge failure, causes life long Christians like me to look long and hard at the faith and wonder if it’s true at all.
It causes even someone such as myself to ask if the faith is true, because
it doesn’t appear to be working,
it doesn’t make a difference in people’s life who profess it,
most who claim to follow Christ don’t actually do what he taught,
and some Christians refuse to hold Christians caught in bald faced sin accountable but excuse them for the sin,
~ and it makes you wonder “what is the point, then.”
I find this discrepancy between confessed belief and actual practice shocking, because I myself sincerely tried living out the faith since childhood.
Also, my Christian mother was a role model for me, and she genuinely, consistently lived out and by biblical teachings, including getting up off her ass and actually HELPING people (giving them money if they were in a bind, cleaning their homes for them when they were sick, listening to them cry and rant about their problems for hours without judging them or interrupting them, etc).
I am not seeing most other Christians do any of this. They say they believe in those things but then they do not do them.
BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR SPIRITUALLY ABUSED OR THOSE HURT BY CHURCHES
Before I actually get into this topic (which I discuss more in Posts 2 and 3), here is some background leading up to it.
As far as the sites I have visited by liberal Christians, ex Christians, atheists, as well as sites by Christians for the spiritually abused:
By and large, these have been wonderful, supportive sites and groups to visit (the ones run by Christians for hurting Christians).
I have noticed, though, that there are problems even within these types of communities, and I don’t entirely fit in at them, either.