Friday, September 20, 2013


I still follow a few evangelical Christian sites/people on social media. Why? Well, for the same reason I follow some Catholics, Hindus, Pagans, etc.: I enjoy hearing things from other people's perspectives. I certainly don't agree with everything I see, but I understand that only listening to the people you agree with is dangerous. You can't get the big picture from one view point. And, without the big picture, it is easy to slip into "me and mine are the only ones who matter" ideology. Religious fundamentalists tend to promote/exist in this way of thinking, which is why they are often referred to as cultists. I personally refer to such existence as living in a bubble.
I spent the first 21 years of my life living in one bubble or another - attending church and the school run by the church, working at a religious summer camp, living on-campus at a religious college. Bubbles promote circular reasoning and shun new, outside-the-bubble influences; a lot of really silly (or terrible) things continue unchecked in this sort of atmosphere. The most disturbing aspect of bubble ideology is thinking that you are the only one/ones who are right and know the truth. Many Baptists I've known believe they have a monopoly on true joy (joy is supposedly different than happiness, because joy only come from knowing Jesus). I held that belief as well, until I got outside the bubble and met very happy/joyful people who were not Christians. Anyway.
Today I read a post written by an evangelical Christian who was so thrilled that she had been able to witness to a Hindu man on a plane. She and the man had a nice conversation discussing the differences between their faiths and then the man asked her to pray for him. The Christian lady was so very excited over this fact because, to her, it clearly meant he was considering converting. I don't know exactly what was said during their conversation, or why the man asked her to pray for him, but I do know this situation looks very different from another perspective. Hindus, in my limited experience, are very wonderful people who are happy to discuss their beliefs with you. They aren't out to make converts or change the world - they just want to live good lives and be good people. Also, people of many faiths are very comfortable asking someone of another faith to pray for them. Many people hold interfaith beliefs or are at least able to accept the views of others without judgment. Most fundamentalists won't attend the religious services of another faith, let alone ask a non-Christian to pray for them. Because of this rigidness, the fundamentalists I've known have always assumed any non-Christians who asked for prayer were either wanting to convert or knew that they should convert.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Article: 15 Things Not to Say to a Recovering Fundamentalist

Defeating the Dragons has written another post that I must share; read it here.

I have been told most, if not all, of the things she lists; I find them equally as infuriating as she does. Perhaps the most infuriating phrase on her list is, "You were never really a Christian." To have someone else decide  your personal beliefs weren't sincere enough or real is very insulting. Most Baptists I know have no trouble saying that to/about anyone who left the faith. Another phrase that stood out was, "If you are truly seeking God in this time, he will lead you to the Truth." The assumption that Christianity, particularly the fundamentalist version of Christianity, is absolute Truth (to the exclusion of everything outside of it) fuels so many un-Christian thoughts and actions. I'm so thankful I no longer hold to a belief that is so exclusive.
13. “Be careful you don’t lose your faith.” — Hännah

People are genuinely concerned about us, and just want to make sure that we’re ok. However, the concept that we could be “ok” without religion, without Christianity– it’s a little bit too far outside the box for a lot of Christians. To a lot of the people I know, living without their faith would be pretty unthinkable. Thoughts like “I don’t know how people survive without Jesus” (which is a modern remix of “you can do all things through Christ”) are pretty common among Christians– and they mean it. To be honest, I’ve said that sort of thing on more than one occasion. But, let me assure you: we are just fine. For a lot of us, “losing our faith” was the best– and hardest– thing that ever happened to us.
It's certainly been one of the best things I've ever done.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Article: Goddess with Us: Is a Relational God Powerful Enough?

A very interesting approach to the concept of an omnipotent divinity. Read it here.
Previously, I had never heard of a relational divinity. The beliefs I was raised with taught that the God of The Bible was omnipotent, and, if he were not then he would be a sham not worth worshiping. Indeed, I found him unworthy of my worship because I could not accept him as both good and omnipotent.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Article: why “talk”? Why not just get married?

This may help you understand some of what is said in my previous post.

How IFB Has Shaped My Life: Part One

My IFB background has shaped every aspect of my life thus far. I used to accept fundamentalism's dictation of my actions without question. Those days are long gone, of course, but fundamentalism is still doing its best to shape my life. Being raised in a lifestyle that involved attending church three times a week (and more if there were revival services), attending church-school five days a week (K-4 through 12th grade), and being heavily involved in the church and school as a family did an excellent job of instilling IFB principles into my very person. I attended and then worked at a summer camp run by Baptists; I then went on to a Baptist college where IFB principles were further entrenched into my thinking. When I made the decision to leave IFB and Christianity as a whole, I did not fully understand how much my former beliefs would continue to impact me in the future. Perhaps the largest way it has impacted me is in the areas of relationships, love, and marriage.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Meditation used to be something I misunderstood and viewed with a mixture of skepticism and awe. Some Baptists/Christians say meditation is too New Agey and invites the Devil in... or something silly like that. I think they say such things because they don't actually understand what meditation is. See the definition here and/or allow me to sum it up for you.
To meditate is to focus on something, particularly something spiritual.
Prayer is meditation. Thinking about Scripture (as commanded in the Bible) is meditation. Mary meditated as she "pondered these things in her heart" after she found Jesus in the temple speaking as a learned adult rather than the child he appeared to be. Quoting passages like The Lord's Prayer or the Twenty Third Psalm is meditation. Meditation is Biblical.
Anyway. Growing up I viewed meditation as some weird thing Asian monks did. Pastors and teachers warned against the evils of meditation, yoga, and anything else "New Age" so I saw these things as negative. Negative and mysterious. Fast forward to my post-Christian days as I explore forbidden fruits and discover the truth about them. In looking for ways to help myself heal from and cope with chronic illness, I read a lot about meditation and guided imagery. What was this nebulous thing called mediation? How did people sit and think about nothing for hours upon end? Was it just craziness? I looked into it some, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I came to understand meditation.

Interview with an Ex-Fundie: Meet Ashlee

Meet Ashlee, a young woman who is an ex-fundie, happily married, and a Christian. Thank you for sharing your story, Ashlee!

What do you consider your current worldview/religious beliefs to be?

Christian - Having a relationship with God and not the church. Politically, I would consider myself moderate.

How did you become involved with Christian Fundamentalism?

I was born into it. Until I moved out of my parent’s house I had no choice with what I wanted to do. My parent’s controlled everything.

What sort of church(es) did you attend while in fundamentalism?

IFB – very conservative

How did Christian Fundamentalism affect your home life (relationship between parents, relationship between parents and children, relationship between siblings, discipline methods, lifestyle choices, etc.)?

I think it caused tension between my parents and me because I was always afraid of getting in trouble. Being a PK I always had to play the part of being the good Christian girl. I didn’t have the same thinking as my parents. I felt like I couldn’t be true to myself. I felt more like a fraud. Moving out of their house I feel like now I can be authentic. With the control they had over me I couldn’t think for myself. It was either the Bible way or the highway with them.
Was patriarchy (male headship) present in your home, church, or relationships with other people? If so, how did it make you feel at the time? How do you feel about patriarchy now?

My dad was head of the home and also the church, so I got strictness in both the home and church. I do not agree with males feeling like they can dominate the female. Being brought up in the IFB the men teach you that they have control over you. 

What were you taught about sex before marriage or sex in general?