I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

Late­ly, I’ve been think­ing a lot about the con­cepts of agency1 and auton­o­my, how nec­es­sary they are for a ful­fill­ing life…and how impos­si­ble they are when con­sent is ignored. I’ve been real­iz­ing with a grow­ing sense of anger and frus­tra­tion that I had no grasp of those con­cepts as a Chris­t­ian. Real­ly, as I came to under­stand what basic respect, pri­or­i­tiz­ing con­sent, and hon­or­ing the auton­o­my of my fel­low human­i­ty looked like, I real­ized that Chris­tian­i­ty as I knew it had no place for those things…and there­fore had no place for me.

Don’t get me wrong. There were many things that played into my decon­ver­sion — this wasn’t the only thing. But it was cer­tain­ly an eye-open­ing dis­cov­ery.

You see, I grew up with the knowl­edge that I wasn’t my own per­son. Oh, no. I belonged to many peo­ple.

I belonged to God, because He made me.2 In fact, I belonged to Him even more because He saved me and I was a Chris­t­ian.3

I belonged to my par­ents (who thank­ful­ly were good, won­der­ful, trust­wor­thy par­ents who loved me with all their hearts and took great care of me). But in my cul­ture, I belonged to them and was expect­ed to for­feit my auton­o­my in favor of sub­mis­sion to their author­i­ty in my life, up until the moment my dad gave me away to my spouse on my wed­ding day.4

I belonged to my hus­band,5 whether I was cur­rent­ly mar­ried to him or not.6 What I want­ed or need­ed, phys­i­cal­ly or emo­tion­al­ly, was irrel­e­vant, because my pur­pose was to serve him.

It nev­er occurred to me to inves­ti­gate this claim that I didn’t belong to myself. None of these things were ever a ques­tion for me. It nev­er occurred to me that I could do things because I want­ed to do them. The thought was always, “Is what I’m doing going to glo­ri­fy God, fall in line with my par­ents, and hon­or my future hus­band?” After all, I could’t for­get the acronym for joy and what it meant.7

As a girl grow­ing up into a woman with­in the Ply­mouth Brethren move­ment8, not only did I not belong to myself, I also had lots of peo­ple to answer to. Lots of author­i­ties who could offer input into my life when­ev­er they pleased. Lots of peo­ple to sub­mit myself to: all the elders at my church,9 all old­er Chris­tians,10 all men.11 Even peers were encour­aged to “exhort” me to bet­ter, more Christ-like behav­ior.12

We assem­bly folk were an extreme­ly bib­li­cal­ly lit­er­al­ist13 bunch. While high­er edu­ca­tion in the­o­log­i­cal or bib­li­cal mat­ters was gen­er­al­ly frowned upon (you only need the Holy Spir­it and a group of like-mind­ed believ­ers, don’t you know),14 we prid­ed our­selves on our abil­i­ty to think clear­ly, com­pre­hend and apply the truths of Scrip­ture to our lives, and make sure that our emo­tions nev­er, ever ran away with us. After all, emo­tions are fleet­ing and untrust­wor­thy, but the Word of the Lord is for­ev­er.

Words were often rede­fined, like love and joy and peace. Love was a choice, nev­er a feel­ing, because feel­ings could change but love wasn’t allowed to.15 Joy was sim­i­lar­ly not based on cir­cum­stances like its shal­low­er sis­ter, Hap­pi­ness, but was to be found in the knowl­edge of God.16 Peace, whether it was tru­ly felt or not, was ours because God promised to give us the peace that pass­es under­stand­ing.17 Even doubts were explained away as unre­li­able feel­ings, because we had God’s Truth so there could nev­er be doubt if we were claim­ing the Truth for our­selves.

Inten­tion­al­ly or not, the result of grow­ing up in a sys­tem that taught such things was that I con­stant­ly under­mined my own emo­tions and feel­ings, see­ing them as less than, as an ene­my I had to squelch. After all, if my expe­ri­ences didn’t line up with what the Bible said, it was me and my expe­ri­ences that were wrong. Always.

All cor­rec­tion from any num­ber of peo­ple, no mat­ter their rela­tion­ship to me, was to be accept­ed with­out com­plaint. All per­ceived pun­ish­ment, born with the knowl­edge that I deserved it. All trau­ma, expe­ri­enced with a joy­ful heart that I got to suf­fer for the Lord and an under­stand­ing that pain wasn’t a big deal com­pared to the glo­ry await­ing me in heav­en.

No mat­ter what hap­pened, I knew beyond a shad­ow of a doubt that my thoughts, my wants, my needs were of no con­se­quence. I didn’t mat­ter. Only God and those He put in author­i­ty over me mat­tered, and there was no bound­ary I was allowed to set that would allow me any amount of auton­o­my.

Like when “god­ly” peers and author­i­ties alike proved them­selves to be untrust­wor­thy, manip­u­la­tive, even preda­to­ry, and my friends and I had no recourse because we instinc­tive­ly knew their author­i­ty meant our com­fort didn’t mat­ter.18

Or when I told a friend about being sex­u­al­ly assault­ed in col­lege and he replied, “Praise the Lord!” because like me he was taught suf­fer­ing for God was the great­est thing that could hap­pen to us as Chris­tians.

Or when I was forced to sign a state­ment say­ing I agreed with all 80 pages of the BJU rule­book under penal­ty of expul­sion19 (and when that forced agree­ment was brought up as proof that I’d con­sent­ed then bro­ken my “con­tract” with them when I was expelled).

Even when I became sui­ci­dal after hav­ing sex with my boyfriend,20 because I was so ashamed that a healthy, heal­ing con­sen­su­al sex­u­al expe­ri­ence some­how meant I dis­hon­ored God, my par­ents, and my future hus­band. My enthus­ti­a­sic con­sent meant noth­ing, because those peo­ple not involved in the sit­u­a­tion at all didn’t want me to. To dri­ve this point home, a friend at the time said I’d proven I could no longer be trust­ed to make my own deci­sions so she and anoth­er friend would be mak­ing them for me.

Then there’s the time when I final­ly talked about my sex­u­al assault,21 depres­sion,22 and PTSD23 pub­licly for the first time and Chris­tians seemed to pri­vate­ly rush to tell me to be qui­et, that talk­ing about such things or dwelling on them was dis­pleas­ing to God and dam­ag­ing to oth­ers.

And of course when I final­ly decon­vert­ed and told my Chris­t­ian friends that I under­stood their pain and con­fu­sion but asked them to respect me and my beliefs by nei­ther scold­ing me nor try­ing to con­vert me,24 and those requests were ignored en masse to the point that I had to delete an entire tox­ic, hate­ful thread and block peo­ple who took to pri­vate mes­sages to lam­bast me for dar­ing to have a pub­lic opin­ion in such oppo­si­tion to the one I was sup­posed to have.

This isn’t some­thing that’s par­tic­u­lar to my for­mer brand of Chris­tian­i­ty, either. By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run roughshod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.25 The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn’t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that’s a mas­sive prob­lem, enabling (and at times com­mand­ing) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less peo­ple.

In fact, I’d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent prob­lem.

When God’s love is offered freely to everyone…unless they reject Him, at which point He’ll sub­ject them to vio­lent, painful, and — oh yeah — eter­nal pun­ish­ment, Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When gen­er­a­tions are taught they don’t belong to them­selves because God made them2 and paid for them by killing His Son3 so now they’re lit­er­al­ly His slaves,26 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When it’s taught that believ­ers are dead and thus no longer alive, but Christ lives through them now27 so they lit­er­al­ly no longer exist and every­thing they do must align with the desires of a being oth­er than them­selves, Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When peo­ple are con­stant­ly28 com­pared29 to30 mind­less31 sheep32 who need a shep­herd33 because on their own they can’t sur­vive, Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

Come to think of it, I’m pret­ty sure Tan­gled is one giant metaphor for decon­vert­ing from Chris­tian­i­ty and escap­ing the abu­sive con­trol of a manip­u­la­tive author­i­ty fig­ure.

When Chris­tians con­stant­ly evan­ge­lize those who want to be left alone because of course they know bet­ter than those poor hell-bound sin­ners,34 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When Chris­tians want to be free to live how­ev­er they please,35 but also want to use the gov­ern­ment to force the coun­try to live under “bib­li­cal” laws,36 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When believ­ers pry into each other’s lives and shame each oth­er for per­ceived moral fail­ings that tend to be absolute­ly no one’s busi­ness under the guise of exhort­ing each oth­er,11 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When women are expect­ed to give men a chance whether they want to or not,37 because men have more god­ly author­i­ty than women so we ought to trust them, Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When peo­ple, mar­ried or not, are taught they don’t have author­i­ty over their own bod­ies3 because they belong to their their father (if unmar­ried)4 or their spouse5 (and of course ulti­mate­ly with God), Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When divorce is for­bid­den38 even in emo­tion­al­ly, phys­i­cal­ly, or sex­u­al­ly abu­sive cir­cum­stances,39 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When women are forced to car­ry preg­nan­cies to term against their will,40 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When chil­dren are seen as the prop­er­ty of their par­ents and treat­ed like show dogs to train and show off, praised when per­form­ing well and beat­en (oh, excuse me, spanked) when they “mis­be­have,”41 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When chil­dren are told to respect and hon­or their par­ents, no mat­ter what abus­es were rained down upon them in the name of love or oth­er­wise,42 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When you are told to lean not on your own under­stand­ing but in every pos­si­ble way sub­mit to God and His author­i­ties in your life,43 Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When core ten­ants of the faith dic­tate that your own heart is deceit­ful above all things and des­per­ate­ly wicked and no one can know it,44 and in the next breath you’re taught spir­i­tu­al author­i­ties in your life are to be trust­ed more than your own intu­ition45 and obeyed even against your bet­ter judg­ment (because of course you can’t even have bet­ter judg­ment, don’t you know that your heart is deceit­ful and des­per­ate­ly wicked?), Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

When the lib­er­als, athe­ists, non-Chris­tians, LGBT+ com­mu­ni­ty and all oth­ers that Chris­tian­i­ty by and large decries as sin­ful and repro­bate are the ones who teach love, accep­tance, respect, and com­mu­ni­ty bet­ter than West­ern Chris­tian­i­ty as a whole ever has, Chris­tian­i­ty has a con­sent prob­lem.

There are indi­vid­ual excep­tions to this, of course. Cer­tain groups with­in Chris­tian­i­ty who are dif­fer­ent, tru­ly respect­ful and lov­ing and inclu­sive. I’m unend­ing­ly thank­ful for the Chris­tians in my life who tire­less­ly work to make their reli­gion a bet­ter, safer place. Peo­ple who strive to teach that you are your own,46 in fact, and fight against the awful lie that we’re dam­aged goods,47 and lead the charge of lib­er­a­tion for the oppressed.48 I’m equal­ly thank­ful for oth­er for­mer Chris­tians like me, who write about our expe­ri­ences in the faith and out­side the faith,49 offer­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty to oth­er for­mer Chris­tians in an over­whelm­ing Chris­tian­ized nation,50 pro­vid­ing valu­able cri­tique51 of the frame­work of Chris­tian­i­ty and how to live as an actu­al­ized per­son when you’ve real­ized that every­thing you’ve ever known is no longer avail­able to you, and fight­ing to make sure that the church and state remain sep­a­rate for the good of all in our coun­try.52

I can’t tell you how free­ing it is to real­ize that I belong to me, and no one else. I get to decide what hap­pens to my body, what kind of inter­ac­tions peo­ple are allowed to have with me, and what sort of peo­ple and activ­i­ties and pos­ses­sions I want to have in my life. I’m my own per­son, and I get to decide who that is.

And until Chris­tian­i­ty as a whole takes a good look at its refusal to rec­og­nize or hon­or the bound­aries of oth­ers and work to change their ram­pant ten­den­cy to con­trol the lives of all they can in the name of God, con­sent be damned…Chris­tian­i­ty is not a safe place for any­one. And more and more peo­ple like me will have to leave it to find any sort of free­dom, respect, and dig­ni­ty.


Thanks to Amy, Suzan­nah, Abi, Christi­na, Blair, and Josh for help­ing me brain­storm for this, and also to Sarah, Dian­na, Jes, Lind­sey, Paige, and Michael for being my extra sets of eyes.

28 Comments

  1. Sheldon Cooper on November 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Some­one said “praise the Lord” when told about your sex­u­al assault?

    What. The. Fuck. ?

    I want off this plan­et.…

    • Dani Kelley on November 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      I know he meant well. Like, there wasn’t even a hint of ani­mos­i­ty. Which is part of what made it so dam­ag­ing. Most of the peo­ple who start­ed pri­vate mes­sag­ing me when I start­ed talk­ing pub­licly about var­i­ous trau­mas and men­tal health issues weren’t mali­cious at all. They were gen­uine­ly con­cerned about me. But they sim­ply had no con­cept what­so­ev­er of what was appro­pri­ate to say or do, and even less con­cept that they didn’t have the right to do and say what they were.

      • Eliza10 on October 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        Yes, they like­ly meant no ill at all, but sim­ply had no con­cept of what was right. Being told how to think for too long inhibits the abil­i­ty to rea­son nor­mal­ly, I do believe.

        I expe­ri­enced my hus­band hav­ing an affair which broke up our bad mar­raige. The good thing was no more verbal/emotional abuse in close prox­im­i­ty, but a new bad thing was a new first for me, and what bad tim­ing: expe­ri­enc­ing grave finan­cial insta­bil­i­ty, while sin­gle par­ent­ing. 🙁

        So in my new dif­fi­cul­ty I was resent­ing my ex’s para­mour, who hap­pened to make out QUITE WELL finan­cial­ly in this sit­u­a­tion she was a major play­er in. So in order to receive com­mu­nion worthi­ly I con­fessed this resent­ment of her and of my hus­band with a par­tic­u­lar local priest, who was not par­tic­u­lar­ly known for his holi­ness or piety. (He was con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed and not some­one whose advice I would have sought — I was just seek­ing the Sacra­ment) He said, “Actu­al­ly, you should wish them both hap­pi­ness” — which did NOT go over well with me, you can be sure!

        Yet, in SOME respect, there is at least a GRAIN of truth to that, as well as what you were told. Because we CAN praise God in our dif­fi­cul­ties… even­tu­al­ly. Now, years for­ward, I can look back on the long bad mar­riage and the bad end­ing with thanks­giv­ing. Because I can see that for me it took those dif­fi­cul­ties for me to know and trust God in this new whole and sure way. I so val­ue that know­ing and that trust of our lov­ing and mer­ci­ful God that if i could do it over I would choose the same road again. I am even THANKFUL for the dif­fi­cul­ties!

        But I think in the aver­age case for us aver­age folks you just can­not con­clude such high­er things till much lat­er. Cer­tain­ly not in the thick of things!

        A book, “Don’t For­give Too Soon” gave me more imme­di­ate per­spec­tive. Before you for­give, you have to tru­ly acknowl­edge how you were hurt. You prob­a­bly have to go through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, all of them, before you can know that hurt and before you can for­give. Like anger, you need to expe­ri­ence true anger about the tres­pass against you, and even stay with it awhile, in order to tru­ly per­ceive it, before you for­give.

        If instead you deny the tres­pass, or try not to think of it, make your­self “be thank­ful” for it, or just hur­ry and and “just for­give”, before you have worked through the nat­ur­al feel­ing-stages that God designed us to have, its like­ly not a real worth­while act of for­give­ness, as you nev­er internalized/realized what you are for­giv­ing.

        Hope that makes sense. Its been awhile since I read it. The bot­tom line is, a per­son needs to work though all their feel­ings. Telling an offend­ed per­son they ought to for­give — wow, you have to be care­ful about that. You have to real­ly deeply know them and their sit­u­a­tion to know if this is an appro­pri­ate sug­ges­tion, if ever. We all need to focus on our own areas of need­ing to for­give because we all have them. When anoth­er per­son is hurt­ing, we are NOT called not to tell them how to think and act, but to mourn with them. NOT tell them to get over it. Or to rejoice! 🙁

    • dagobarbz on December 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      I want THEM off this plan­et. You can stay. 🙂

  2. Emily R on November 16, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Well done. Seri­ous­ly. Extreme­ly well writ­ten and incred­i­bly true/insightful.

  3. Faithless follower on November 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Real­ly nice work Dan­ni. I think my wife and I vic­ar­i­ous­ly live through some of your posts. We feel almost exact­ly the same way. Yet the strings of life cur­rent­ly bind us to a weak Chris­t­ian con­for­mi­ty despite the caus­tic­ness of the faith.

    • Dani Kelley on November 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      I know that feel­ing well. I think it’s okay to do what you have to do to cope — you’re the best judge of what’s right for you to do. I hope that you find strength and encour­age­ment and peace.

  4. Neil Carter on November 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    This is bru­tal­ly good. Thank you for work­ing so hard on it The amount of thought put into this is obvi­ous, and was well worth it.

  5. […] World With­out Con­sent” by Jeff Eaton. “I Belong to Me: Learn­ing Agency and Con­sent Out­side Chris­tian­i­ty” by Dani Kel­ley Sarah Moon‘s series You Are not Your […]

  6. Alice on November 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you, this sum­ma­rizes the con­sent issues in Chris­tian­i­ty real­ly well. It’s some­thing that has trou­bled me for a while now. Espe­cial­ly since learn­ing that a per­son can­not mean­ing­ful­ly con­sent to a rela­tion­ship when the oth­er per­son holds a great deal of pow­er over them and there could be seri­ous ram­i­fi­ca­tions to say­ing no. Chris­tians talk about hav­ing a rela­tion­ship with God, but a deity-human rela­tion­ship would be the ulti­mate imbal­ance of pow­er.

    • joshuauptosomething on February 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      You’re say­ing that the only pos­si­ble response are either vio­lent dis­place­ment or mutu­al dis­dain? That is no solu­tion. Assum­ing “The God” who made the Uni­verse is a Per­son, and that Person’s nature is reflect­ed what the sages and mys­tics have seen, you have a “Pow­er” which seeks to ele­vate you towards equal sta­tus with [them]self.

      West­ern Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian­i­ty doesn’t espouse this view, but they are hard­ly any­thing like the peo­ple who were first labeled “Chris­t­ian” in any case.

  7. […] whole “set and respect bound­aries” idea isn’t some­thing that con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians are real good about teach­ing and mod­el­ing. In fact, peo­ple who come from a puri­ty cul­ture back­ground were prob­a­bly taught the exact oppo­site. […]

  8. Let me hide myself. - Dani Kelley on March 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    […] I belong to me: learn­ing con­sent and agency out­side Chris­tian­i­ty. […]

  9. […] whole “set and respect bound­aries” idea isn’t some­thing that con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians are real good about teach­ing and mod­el­ing. In fact, peo­ple who come from a puri­ty cul­ture back­ground were prob­a­bly taught the exact oppo­site. […]

  10. The rightly divided word. - Dani Kelley on May 1, 2015 at 10:21 am

    […] As I’ve said before, the Ply­mouth Brethren are a par­tic­u­lar­ly aca­d­e­m­ic bunch. They pride them­selves on their abil­i­ty to right­ly divide the Word of Truth, while often squelch­ing any emo­tion that might con­tra­dict the per­fect Word of God. (In fact, that was a praise I was often giv­en as a Chris­t­ian: I always tried to do the right thing, no mat­ter the cost to myself. I didn’t let my emo­tions car­ry me away. I tried to make sure I was invis­i­ble so all you could see was Jesus, and I always had a bib­li­cal expla­na­tion for big deci­sions in my life.) […]

  11. […] not very uncom­mon, par­tic­u­lar­ly when you con­sid­er the prob­lem Chris­tian­i­ty has with bound­aries and con­sent. Con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians often declare them­selves The Des­ig­nat­ed […]

  12. The journey in and out. - Dani Kelley on May 15, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    […] dis­cov­ered that I’m not bro­ken. That I’m not prop­er­ty. The sto­ries I’d always believed about myself, how depraved and unwor­thy I was, were the […]

  13. poetrymafia on May 24, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I know this is a pret­ty old post, but I feel the need to send you a quick thank you. I just decon­vert­ed from Chris­tian­i­ty this year, and it’s a bit like breath­ing fresh air and feel­ing sti­fled at the same time. Your sto­ry is like mine in some ways, although I didn’t go through the same abuse and strict­ness you did, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that some­one else has gone through it and found life on the oth­er side! So thank you. Thank you, thank you.

  14. Ahab on September 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    This was breath­tak­ing. It rang true in so many ways for me as an ex-Chris­t­ian. Thank you for post­ing this.

  15. […] whole “set and respect bound­aries” idea isn’t some­thing that con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians are real good about teach­ing and mod­el­ing. In fact, peo­ple who come from a puri­ty cul­ture back­ground were prob­a­bly taught the exact oppo­site. […]

  16. […] short, they assure me they respect and love me — all the while try­ing to con­trol me. The expec­ta­tion they seem to have about how they’re allowed to treat me involves attempt­ing […]

  17. […] World With­out Con­sent” by Jeff Eaton. “I Belong to Me: Learn­ing Agency and Con­sent Out­side Chris­tian­i­ty” by Dani Kel­ley Sarah Moon‘s series You Are not Your […]

  18. […] [Read “I Belong to Me: Learn­ing Agency and Con­sent Out­side Chris­tian­i­ty“] […]

  19. Darcy on April 27, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I just dis­cov­ered this arti­cle and I’m blown away. I feel every word of this. I didn’t know I was ful­ly, tru­ly my own until I was almost 30 because of being raised with these teach­ings. Thank you so much for so elo­quent­ly putting this strug­gle into words. So many don’t under­stand. “Why didn’t you just do what you want­ed?” I get asked all the time. Thank you for explain­ing the why.

    • Dani Kelley on April 27, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      You’re quite wel­come! I hate that ques­tion, as well. When your entire world is focused on a set of beliefs that deval­ue your very per­son­hood and dis­miss the valid­i­ty of your own expe­ri­ence of your own life…you just lit­er­al­ly have no vocab­u­lary for ana­lyz­ing or even real­iz­ing what’s wrong.

  20. Maryflorence on April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Wow just wow. My hus­band and I are sit­ting here dis­cussing and just in awe that you so elo­quent­ly cap­tured what we both feel and think and why we choose not to raise our kids in church. I am still a believ­er but i choose to live it out­side of orga­nized reli­gion. Thank you for writ­ing. We have been look­ing into anti trau­ma type read­ings about leav­ing the faith and this is excel­lent. How long have you been away from church? I am curi­ous how long it took you to gath­er your thoughts and feel­ings? Espe­cial­ly because this didn’t read with bit­ter­ness or con­tempt to me.

    • Dani Kelley on April 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I stopped going to church with any reg­u­lar­i­ty in 2011. I’d been pro­cess­ing the tox­i­c­i­ty of fun­da­men­tal­ism since ear­ly 2010, and had a few years where I would have days that I was a Chris­t­ian and days that I was an athe­ist. I’m not sure how else to describe it: some days I believed, and some days I didn’t, and I could make myself go one way or the oth­er. I final­ly real­ized in 2013 that I would nev­er be a Chris­t­ian again (not with­out lit­er­al divine inter­ven­tion that pre­sent­ed in a quan­tifi­ably demon­stra­ble way). I’m still pro­cess­ing so much of how I was brought up, the beliefs and the impact those teach­ings have had on every aspect of my life. Thank you so much for your kind words — they mean a lot!

  21. 6/25 | Life is Action & Passion on June 26, 2016 at 2:10 am

    […] I belong to me: learn­ing agency and con­sent out­side of chris­tian­i­ty http://fat-girl-living.com/i-belong-to-me/ […]

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