Just hear me out.

January 23, 2020

Remember the days where I wrote on here somewhat regularly? I mean, they were the early-​​to-​​mid 2010’s, and blogging has certainly gone by the wayside as of the past…like…what is it, 3 – 4 years now? I didn’t stop writing because the trend began dying down, though. I stopped writing because of TRAUMA *throws glitter bomb* While I do still post on my…

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Cruelty in Christ

February 25, 2019

I’ve long defended evangelicals and fundamentalists alike, insisting that if they could only understand the harm they’re perpetuating, they would change.

But I can’t continue, in good conscience, telling my non-​Christian, queer, non-​white, disabled, and trans friends to give evangelicals in their lives another chance. 

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Haikus With Dani: Existential Edition

May 16, 2016

I’ve been rather existential lately. I mean, I usually am anyway. But back to the “it’s hard to explain in anything except shards of thought” kind of existential. So. The contents of these haikus will likely turn into blog posts at some point. But for now, I serve them to you as the fragments they are. 

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The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture and Shame.

April 1, 2016

I had a very eye-​opening conversation with my mom recently.

We were talking about my marriage to my ex, and she asked me if her hunch was correct that I’d have married him anyway if my parents hadn’t given us permission. (You see, in our iteration of purity culture, even as a 22-​year-​old adult, I needed my parents’ permission to marry.)

I thought a moment and answered honestly: yes, I would have still married him. Then I clarified, “I honestly thought I had to.”

You didn’t get that from us!” Mom responded in astonished confusion. “You don’t have to marry someone just because you slept with them.

Let me state up front: that’s an entirely true statement. I agree with it 100%.

And yet it was my turn to be shocked.

Because that statement flew in the face the entire narrative of my first 20+ years of life..

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The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture Edition

February 18, 2016

Purity culture prepared me for a world that doesn’t exist. The world that does exist is both so much better and so much worse than I was led to believe. 

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When I must be “The Bad Guy.”

February 1, 2016

I could explain my thought processes for every step of these various journeys. I’m very prone to explaining and dissecting and hoping beyond hope that I can just <i>make you see why and how,</i> make you see cause and effect, connect dots for you, connect dots for me. I want to feel justified, validated. I don’t want to be The Bad Guy. I don’t want to accept that to so many, I am petulant and over-​sharing and running away from problems that could be fixed if I would just try harder. But I can’t change, even if I tried. Even if I wanted to.* And so…here I sit. The Bad Guy. It’s not comfortable. I don’t like it. But if this is who I have to be in order to be <i>me</i>, then so be it.

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Great expectations: basic human decency.

October 5, 2015

In short: the lowest common denominator in all relationships ought to be basic human decency.

When Christians tell me that it’s not fair for me to expect them not to trample on my boundaries or treat me with disrespect for my autonomy as a human being, all I can hear is, “You can’t expect basic human decency from me or my people.” More than that, I hear, “You don’t even qualify as human enough for us to consider treating you differently.”

Christians? This is a problem.

How will the world know you as loving if you refuse to act lovingly? How can you say you possess the love of Jesus Christ when this is how you treat unbelievers? You claim that you’re no better than us, yet treat us like you’re the Designated Adult and we’re the naughty children you must put back in our places. You insist that for me and other unbelievers (or even liberal believers!) to write and live and share our authentic selves is a direct attack on you, and so you try to control us through silencing tactics and what you must think are counter-​attacks. You can’t see the difference between someone being honest about who they are and someone exerting control over a person? How can you not see the disrespect of that? How can you not see the condescension? How can you pretend to be sharing Christ’s love when you refuse to see the image of God in anyone but those who look and think and act like you?

Despite being an atheist, I do think the Bible has a few nuggets of wisdom here and there. And one of those nuggets is this: “Let us not love in word…but in deed and in truth.” In other words, don’t tell me that you love me while showing me that you don’t.

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The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015

There had always been a disconnect between what I was taught and what I observed and experienced, between blind faith in invisible things and repeatably testable evidence. But as a child, as a teen, even into early adulthood, I wasn’t given the words to recognize the disconnect, or even the tools to inspect or deconstruct my beliefs to see if there was any merit to them outside of wanting them to be true. 

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Observations about relationships in Christianity.

May 8, 2015

What kind of foundation forms a lasting friendship, then? I mean, friendships are a pretty personal thing. There’s lots of aspects that are difficult to pin down, usually including compatible personalities, shared experiences, outlooks on life, mutually enjoyable activities, etc. I think those things are a given, no matter whether you’re a conservative Christian or not. But in my experience, the ingredients that point to longevity seem to be a pretty equal mixture of mutual admiration, respect, and trust. The Christian friends I have now who have been friends of mine for years weren’t my friends just because of our once-​shared faith. We became friends through discovering and indulging in shared interests, sure, but we did it while demonstrating respect for each other’s individuality and personhood. Our personalities do click, but we also work hard to be empathetic, trustworthy, respectful people. We care about each other, what demonstrably makes each other’s lives more meaningful and fulfilling, no ulterior motives. 

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For the well-​meaning Christian: the rightly divided word.

May 1, 2015

Conservative Christian men approach what I say in the exact same way they approach what the Bible says.

I know that’s quite a claim to make, but the more I reflect on how I was taught to approach the Bible and observe how these men approach my words, the more pronounced the parallel becomes. What do I mean, exactly?

  1. They isolate our words from the context in which they were written.
  2. Then they insist that neither context nor authorial intent can meaningfully affect a “plain reading.”
  3. Finally, they assert that any other interpretation is intellectually dishonest.
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Perceptions, boundaries, and relationships.

August 26, 2014

Am I worthless to you now that I’m not a Christian? Am I somehow less-​than-​human, without feeling, without morality, without any good thing? Does my lack of belief mean that I am the darkness with whom you can have no fellowship? Am I completely lacking light just because we disagree? 

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To make it abundantly clear: why this atheist is invested in Christianity.

August 20, 2014

Part of me says, “You’re not a Christian anymore, so just ignore it. It’s not like it affects you anymore anyway.” But that’s not really true. There are lots of things about Christianity that deeply affected me for over 20 years, and when Christianity also tends to play a role in U.S. politics, it sure as hell affects me.

And the thing is, when I stopped believing in God, I didn’t stop caring about people.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: An Introduction.

August 6, 2014

I thought that the hardest thing about being at BJU was going to be just learning how to follow an amazingly ridiculous set of rules — and frankly, I thought I had that covered. I grew up in a conservative Christian school where BJU groups visited for recruitment purposes. I was usually one of the good kids, so I thought BJU was going to be a college-​version of my high school. No big deal.

Boy, was I wrong. 

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Learning to trust myself: intellectual honesty, appealing to authority, & deconverting from Christianity.

April 8, 2014

The reason I don’t have a concrete answer to how I deconverted is that I feel like I still am deconverting, that it’s a process I’ll go through for many years. But the turning point (I wouldn’t say the starting point) is that I couldn’t manufacture belief anymore, despite spending my whole life up until that point fully dedicated to Christ. I had to let it go in order to preserve my intellectual integrity.

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Halloween as a deconverted former fundamentalist.

October 13, 2013

Michael and I went into a Halloween shop today.

I’d never been in a Halloween shop before, and it was an eye-​opening experience.

I was really surprised to see so many little kids everywhere — and not a single one of them crying or scared. These kids…they clearly could separate fiction from reality in a way that I couldn’t at their age. In a way that I couldn’t as a young adult. I envied this ability they had that I’m still working on developing. I envied their lack of fear, their pure delight, their reasoning skills. 

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Because I can’t not: writing in community.

September 3, 2013

Since publishing the admission of my deconversion from Christianity, I’ve been questioning myself an awful lot (to put it quite delicately).

Maybe I shouldn’t have written it. Maybe I should have kept playing along so I didn’t hurt anyone. Maybe I should have kept it all to myself for the rest of my life. Maybe the timing was bad. Maybe I should have consulted with anyone who would have been upset about it before publishing. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

I keep coming back to the same answers. I had to write it. Lying to everyone for the rest of my life would have been more damaging to us all than telling the truth has been. There was never going to be a “right time” for it. Consulting with those who would be hurt by it would have only served to delay then intensify the pain, because their displeasure wouldn’t have kept me from publishing.

That leads me to two questions that apply both to that post in particular but also to my entire blog:

  1. Why did I write it, and why do I write in general?
  2. Why did I write it publicly, and why do I write in public?
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Random thoughts and fears in the wake of public deconversion.

July 31, 2013

Maybe I should have just kept pretending to be a Christian. You know, for the rest of my life. Because lying forever can’t possibly go wrong. 

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Strange and unprepared.

July 26, 2013

This is a conversation I don’t know how to have.

How do I write about no longer identifying as a Christian in a way that won’t turn my entire world upside down?

I guess I’m doing it something like this. But I’m not holding onto hope for keeping my world aright.

The language of Christianity is still my mother tongue. The culture of Christianity is still my hometown. I don’t know anything else.

This is a strange place for me to be. 

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I want to believe.

December 27, 2012

I want to believe, but at the same time I have to find joy even when I don’t. I have to know that it’s okay not to believe. Good things happen, good things exist, even in doubt and uncertainty. And if they exist in doubt and uncertainty, they will exist still in belief. 

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