I grew up in an environment where science was scoffed at and ridiculed. My textbooks were full of factual errors concerning biology, chemistry, astronomy, and physics. In this environment, the word theory was thrown around like a put down, a young earth creationists go to when combating evolution in any form. We were taught that a theory meant guesswork. That anything with the word theory attached to it meant that it was false and untrue, the work of charletons trying to deceive the true believer.
Which is why I may have jumped all over my husband the other day when he said that Evolution was "just a theory." Now, I know that my husband is by no means a young earth creationist. Exceptionally intelligent, he understands and believes evolution to be an explanation of how things happened. He, unlike me, went to public schools where he was taught real science and learned about evolution. He, unlike me, accepted it as truth years before I would ever dare to question my upbringing. I know all of this, but that statement...just a theory...triggers something in me in relation to religious people. I see it as a dismissal. He saw it as an acknowledgment that although there is a lot of evidence in support of evolution, it is not a law and is currently scientists best guess as to how things happened. In his mind, acknowledging it as a theory is not dismissing anything and is in fact verifying what it is and isn't.
"These are your hangups," he told me. "You have to figure out a way not to get all emotional whenever something from your childhood is triggered. You have to learn how to lessen those triggers and not be so sensitive about it."
From the outside, this may seem like the usual male statement of you-are-being-too-emotional. What you should know is that I normally consider myself to be a very analytical, rational, and logical person who tries to not allow emotions to cloud my decision-making processes or my interactions with other people. My husband knows this. This is something that he loves about me. What he is also seeing is that, despite my rational mind, when it comes to topics of religion, I am raw and emotional when I don't need to be. My loss of faith has become like an invisible bruise, sensitive to the touch and deep under the skin. My husband, because I live with him and talk to him about almost everything, has grown wary around this topic because he is never sure when he will press too hard and set me off.
It's a lot to think about and I'm not entirely sure how to make myself be less emotional about this topic. It's not as if my past can be erased. I was raised how I was raised. The most I can do is acknowledge when I am triggered and try to not let it impact in the same way going forward.
A good thing that came of this conversation was that I got to finally tell my husband that my deconversion was not because of how I was raised nor because of issues with the church. I explained that I rejected my parents version of religion when I was around eighteen and had pretty much become a liberal Christian by the time I was twenty-three. I understand that not every Christian believes the way my parents did/do, because I was a Christian who didn't believe like they did for almost a decade. (as he knows) I also reminded him that the church, even with all it's issues, was not a reason to quit being a Christian either. At least not for me. No, my loss of faith stems directly from the Bible. I cannot continue to believe in something that I see as inherintly false. A mixture of history, myth, and pure fiction that has been used to control people for thousands of years. I explained that when you reject Adam & Eve, Noah, Joseph, Moses, and King David, there is nothing left to believe. Jesus believed in Moses and King David. But if I am acknowledging that both men were most likely myths, and at the most real men who made up a lot of shit, you just can't keep believing that Jesus is any kind of savior. And once you go there, you can't be a Christian anymore. I think he actually understood this time. Yes, my parents were fundamentalists, but it isn't why I'm not a Christian anymore. It triggers me to be sure, but my lack of faith is rooted firmly in the thing that my faith was based on--the Bible.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.