One of my greatest fears as a newly de-converted agnostic is that if and when I begin to let people know of my newfound unbelief they will say something akin to, “Well you were never a Christian to begin with” or “There is no such thing as an ex-Christian” My husband kindly tells me all the time that I worry too much about what people think, but this goes deeper than that. Christianity was the core of my identity for almost three decades. It colored everything I did and said for most of that time and led me to do things that I am not proud of. By someone stating that because I am “backslidden” or no longer claiming to be a Christian, I never was one...is akin to telling me that I didn’t exist.
I was a Christian. I believed everything I was taught and sought more knowledge at every opportunity. The Bible, creationism, apologetics, revival. On a Sunday night you could find me on my face at the alter, weeping as I sought comfort from a deity that I was assured, existed and loved me. My faith led me on missions trips around the world where I readily proselytized, assured in my understanding of the universe and my place in it. I spoke out against abortion and gay rights. The modesty culture was drilled so deep into my head that even now, I question myself when I wear a dress that is shorter than knee length or dips a bit in front. On my wedding night, I was a virgin. As a kid, I was actively involved in ministry, moving easily into an assistant for children’s church, and even leading my own Bible studies for teens. I went to youth conferences, retreats, domestic missions trips, served in soup kitchens, volunteered at the battered women’s shelter, delivered food to the needy. All of this because I devoutly believed that this is what God had called me to do as a Christian. It was something that all Christians were to do. (I still feel like most of this is important work, but no longer use religious reasoning as my motivation) I did Bible studies like ‘Experiencing God’, a program where I was expected to read large chunks of the Bible over a few weeks and answer workbook questions in order to become closer to God. I also felt like something must be wrong with me when I didn’t feel closer to God, but that is another story. My friends were and still are, mostly Christian. I shied away from people that seemed like a bad influence or liked to do “wordly” things like drink, party, smoke (anything), watch horror movies, or listen to rap or slasher music. When my friends went through a rebellious stage in their late teens and early twenties, I held my head high knowing that I was doing what was right in the eyes of God.
If you had told twenty year-old me that I would be agnostic thirteen years later, she would not have believed it. At all. You would be the equivalent of a demon trying to trick me. I would have prayed against you and your demons and would never have anything to do with you again. What a crazy notion. Everyone knows that non-believers are secretly devil worshippers who spend most of their time analyzing religions in order to try and trip up believers. It never occurred to me that some of those non-believers knew so much about the Bible because they used to be believers too.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.