Rachel Held Evans.
This must be number 8 or 9 of my posts that took off from one of Rachel’s. I’ve referred to her in another 1/2 dozen at least. She doesn’t know me but I owe her a lot of thanks. Altho we share a compassion for other humans above mere ideas, she is after all a committed Xian and I am unrepentant Unbelieving Scum, so we are diametrically opposed on the whole belief thing. I have applauded her daring honesty many times before in grappling with the questions that are paramount in young Evangelicals and many Xian’s minds of every stripe as well…the homophobia, moralizing, science denial, the misogyny inherent in the Bible and modern Xian practice to varying degrees. She embraces evolution and rejects homophobia, and is working on how to reconcile findings of modern science such as our expanding knowledge of prenatal development and embryology with long held ideas about souls and personhood in the womb in the abortion debate. My previous post on her getting hip to it is HERE.
But she certainly hasn’t let go. Not that I would chastise her or any other Xian raised especially in a very Conservative Xian setting, the “Xian cocoon” as I call it, for not letting go. It has got to be tougher than quitting smoking. You really cant expect anyone to just chuck it all one day. Some few are able to do that but for many dropping religion takes years, sometimes is a decades long process.
Read Seth Andrews, Jerry DeWitt, or Dan Barker especially for excellent examples of going from hard core Xian to unabashed atheist. It usually don’t happen overnite. Letting go ain’t EZ.
So one of Rachel’s recent blogs, earlier this year covered that very subject:
Post Evangelicals and Why We Can’t Just Get Over It.
Once again Rachel’s heartfelt no-nonsense yet endearing way of letting you into her head and her heart explains why she at least and I suspect many questioning religionists, just can’t let go.
A few tidbits and my comments are in order, but do give it a read. Her blogs are always well worth it. It’s not lengthy and Rachel always manages to be genuine without trying it seems. A gift, really.
“I’ve been reading articles lately about how people like me need to just get over it already, either suck it up and embrace evangelicalism or pack up and move on….
But when you grow up believing everyone outside evangelical Christianity is going to get spewed from God’s mouth at best or cooked for eternity in hell at worst, when the people you love most in the world belong to the evangelical community and want you to belong to it too, making a deliberate step out of that tradition is a big deal. When you grow up believing that your religious worldview contains the key to absolute truth and provides an answer to every question, you never really get over the disappointment of learning that it doesn’t.”
Aint that disgusting? Teaching little kids the “others” will be “cooked for eternity in hell…”
“… And it was evangelicalism that first told me that being a woman limited my potential, that science was not to be trusted, that democrats and gay people and Episcopalians were my enemies, that asking questions about these things was wrong.
It was evangelicalism that told me who I was and it was evangelicalism that told me who I wasn’t. You don’t just get over that. You don’t just trash it all and walk away.”
“And yet I glommed on to the label, to any label really, because a label means you’re not alone. A label means you can be classified along with species of a similar nature. A label gives you a family, an order, a name….Seems like we’re all a little post-something….Like it or not, our religious traditions help forge our identities”
I suppose I identify with the Unbelieving Scum, using that term affectionately as signifying a method of reason and tolerance versus religious superstition and imaginary division and snidely at the arrogance of all religions that paint non-believers as less than…
The crux of the biscuit for her, at least in this post is community. Can’t leave the family, the nest, the connection. Understandably tough. Jerry De Witt lost everything when he walked away.
And religion’s other grip, the one that really galls me and exemplifies the Arrogance of Religious Thought:“…you grow up believing that your religious worldview contains the key to absolute truth…”
What a scam, what a lie, what arrogance to smother a kid with. ALL religions live on that lie:
“OUR worldview has the inside track to ultimate truth. The rest are just made up at worst and mere inferior versions of our righteous path to Truth at best. Ha, ha aren’t we just special?”
More and more people, some even in the worst of smothering religious communities, are figuring out a way to let go. Good luck to anyone on that journey. You have a new label. Questioning Scum.
We’re already proud of ya, whether you make it to Unbeliever or not.
Bravo. It aint EZ.
end religion now.