Fat Girl,

The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015 5 Comments

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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Let me hide myself.

March 30, 2015 3 Comments

I was 15 years old, sit­ting in the front row of the church, star­ing skep­ti­cal­ly at the woman who was preach­ing to us. This wasn’t my youth group, of course—the assem­blies would nev­er allow a woman to speak like this. I deter­mined that per­haps she was like Balaam’s don­key, and did my utmost to pay atten­tion to what­ev­er word of the Lord she might iron­i­cal­ly speak despite her unfit­ness for lead­er­ship.

She walked over to her pro­jec­tor and held up a trans­paren­cy sheet. “This rep­re­sents you,” she said sim­ply. “Your lives.” She picked up a few dif­fer­ent mark­ers and start­ed doo­dling on the sheet, explain­ing that our sins and deci­sions and actions were like the marks on the page. “Every­thing is here—from the clothes you wear, to the words you say, to what you do in your every day life. They all show up here.”

The speak­er placed the sheet back on the pro­jec­tor and turned on the light. “This light is Jesus,” she con­tin­ued. “Notice how you can’t see him through the ink, only through the clear parts?” I stirred in my seat, aware of how it seemed the Spir­it was mov­ing with­in me.

She took an eras­er and slow­ly began mov­ing it across the mark­er draw­ings. I watched, mes­mer­ized, as the marks dis­ap­peared. “This is what the blood of Christ does”—she point­ed to the now-clean sheet—“so that all that can be seen through you is Jesus.” She spent the rest of her time with us explain­ing how impor­tant it was to make sure that our trans­paren­cies remained clean, that our deci­sions and words and lives were so clean that we would only reflect Christ to those around us.

As I got in the van with the car­pool that brought me to church that night, I was deeply con­vict­ed to start chang­ing my life so that I would bet­ter reflect Christ. It occurred to me that this meant becom­ing a dif­fer­ent per­son. But wasn’t that what Chris­tian­i­ty was all about to begin with, becom­ing a new cre­ation in Christ?

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No more faith: the whys and why nots of my deconversion.

December 31, 2014 22 Comments

It’s real­ly rather rare for peo­ple to ask me why I decon­vert­ed from Chris­tian­i­ty. Like, real­ly rare. It’s far more com­mon for them to assume they already know, whether they’re talk­ing to me while they’re express­ing this assump­tion or not. How­ev­er, in a sin­gle week, I’ve had two sep­a­rate unaf­fil­i­at­ed peo­ple ask me a vari­a­tion of the same ques­tion about the role fun­da­men­tal­ism had in my decon­ver­sion. Of course, I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure this out for myself on a less-spe­cif­ic scale for the bet­ter part of two years, though much of it has been in my own head. Per­haps it’s time for me to work out of my thoughts here with you.

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Black lives matter.

December 24, 2014 1 Comment
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Introspection: the impact of religion on personality.

December 11, 2014 10 Comments

When I first took the Myers-Brig­gs per­son­al­i­ty test, still thor­ough­ly embed­ded in the fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion of my youth, I scored as an INTJ, rather than an INFJ. In ret­ro­spect, it’s no won­der I skewed more heav­i­ly to Think­ing rather than Feel­ing, since I was taught to fear and dis­trust feel­ings. Feel­ings were often con­sid­ered sin­ful, bring­ing guilt and shame, where­as Log­ic (Accord­ing to the Word of God) was holy and true, bring­ing sta­bil­i­ty (sup­pos­ed­ly). I didn’t under­stand that divorc­ing feel­ings from think­ing the way I had been taught to do was utter­ly dam­ag­ing both to myself and oth­ers, not to men­tion rip­ping con­ver­sa­tion­al rhetoric out of its con­text and real­i­ty.

The thing is, I could nev­er total­ly erad­i­cate my Feel­ings.

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Online as in person: basic etiquette, boundaries, & choosing your own team.

November 26, 2014 1 Comment

With the advent of social media, I’ve found that such inter­ac­tions are no longer rel­e­gat­ed to hol­i­days and reunions, but are now part of our every­day dig­i­tal lives. What sur­pris­es me more often than not, though, is the atti­tude with which peo­ple approach social media. In recent days alone, I’ve heard that block­ing some­one on social media is nar­row-mind­ed, pri­vate walls are pub­lic forums where all opin­ions ought to have equal air time, and online inter­ac­tions aren’t <em>real</em><em> life</em> so every­one needs to just calm down. Per­haps I’m a bit a biased, con­sid­er­ing the sheer num­ber of friends I’ve made through online-only inter­ac­tions, but in my expe­ri­ence and from my obser­va­tions, <strong>online life <em>is</em> real life.</strong> It’s an unavoid­able part of life in the 21st cen­tu­ry, and it amazes me that some seem to think online inter­ac­tions sud­den­ly stop hav­ing mean­ing because they’re hap­pen­ing on a screen rather than face to face. It’s as if being phys­i­cal­ly removed from a per­son gives one license to ignore bound­aries and assume a far clos­er rela­tion­ship to peo­ple than actu­al­ly exists. This sort of thing is incred­i­bly famil­iar to me, hav­ing spent 25+ years in <a href=“http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2014/11/i-belong-to-me/” target=“_blank” rel=“noopener noreferrer”>a cul­ture that total­ly ignores bound­aries and consent</a> in per­son (let alone online). This fur­ther solid­i­fies in my mind that the same basic eti­quette you ought to show to some­one in per­son is how you should treat peo­ple online.

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Grieving as the only atheist at the funeral.

November 23, 2014 1 Comment
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I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

November 15, 2014 28 Comments

<p>By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run rip-shod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.<sup><a href=“http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2014/10/15/your-love-is-toxic/” target=“_blank” rel=“noopener noreferrer”>25</a></sup> The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn&rsquo;t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that&rsquo;s a <i>massive</i> prob­lem, enabling (and at times <i>commanding</i>) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less people.</p> <p><b>In fact, I&rsquo;d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent problem.</b></p>

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Sad pandas, boundaries, and relationships.

September 10, 2014 0 Comments

I’m a real­ly big believ­er in bound­aries and respect­ing the choic­es, expe­ri­ences, and desires of indi­vid­u­als. I think peo­ple get to decide how oth­ers are allowed to inter­act with them, and that the onus is on oth­ers to real­ly hear what that per­son is say­ing (yes, even when that per­son is silent. Silence is an answer, after all, and that answer is “I don’t want to talk to you.” Respect it!). I’m just afraid that my post didn’t reflect these beliefs as clear­ly as I’d like it to have.

No one is oblig­at­ed to remain friends with me. Hav­ing been in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances, but on the oth­er side of the sit­u­a­tion, I real­ly under­stand how uncom­fort­able and even painful it can be to remain in con­tact with some­one who has aban­doned a core com­po­nent of your rela­tion­ship. I have no wish to cause oth­ers pain, and I hon­est­ly have no real ani­mos­i­ty towards those who have decid­ed that I’m a tox­ic influ­ence in their life and they’ll be hap­pi­er and health­i­er with­out my pres­ence. I think they they’re the best expert on what will make their lives hap­py and healthy (even if I dis­agreed), and I try to save my ani­mos­i­ty for those who are open­ly dis­re­spect­ful and/or big­ot­ed. But, I mean, I 100% sup­port the deci­sion of peo­ple who don’t want me in their lives. Tru­ly.

In fact, it’d be pret­ty shit­ty of me to insist that they must remain my friend, to con­tin­u­al­ly insert myself into their lives, to con­stant­ly try to manip­u­late them into a rela­tion­ship they want no part of. That’s not an okay thing for me to do, and I do my best to be respect­ful of their wish­es.

But it still hurts.

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Perceptions, boundaries, and relationships.

August 26, 2014 5 Comments

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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