Fear or Self Preservation?

I’m noticing a trend.  Those of us who have or are in the process of de-conversion have many things in common.  We are thinkers, we question even when it causes a stir (I believe we actually thrive on the stir). We are strong, once we discover something we have a hard time keeping it to ourselves and it seems many of us are teachers; if not by vocation, definitely by nature.  While reading the blogs…oh, that’s another thing, we write like demons—no pun intended.  Anyway, while reading the de-conversion blogs, I’ve discovered another trend.  As strong as we are, we become almost disabled at the thought of coming out with our de-conversion.  I know that there are those who have done it and have gotten through it, but it still seems to be a scary thing for most of us.  Those that have come out, for the most part, have done it by accident or because they were backed into a corner that they didn’t want to lie themselves out of, not because they just had to let the world know of their new life.  At first I thought it could be an irrational fear, you know, the worst case scenario kind of fear, but I have discovered as of late that that isn’t it at all.  It’s a matter of self preservation.   I believe this fear is based on the reality of what will happen when we come out with our beliefs or non-beliefs.

If you read my other posts, you will see that I have not come out to anyone outside of my family.  I was actually starting to think that my old friends, even though they called occasionally inquiring about how I was doing, had actually gotten used to the idea that I wasn’t going to church anymore.  Evidently, I was wrong. Either there was a recent sermon at church that implored believers to confront their friends “in sin” or I have reached my time limit of “taking a break from church,” because the email and phone call campaign has begun.  There have been a couple of doozies and I will blog about each one separately as to keep this post as brief as possible. 

As I have mentioned before, I find myself desiring to come clean completely.  I want to write back and call back and say, “Gosh, thanks for your concern, but you need not worry yourself with me.  I am doing great.  I need to let you know, though, that I no longer embrace Christianity.  After much study and yes, even prayer, I have concluded that it is no more valid than any other religion and I can no longer be a part of it.”  That is my fantasy as of late, but I know it will not be fulfilled any time soon.  I know that my de-conversion will become known only as I am put in positions that I can’t do anything but state the truth.  Judging by the way I have been treated just because I am not going to church, my skin is going to have to get a bit thicker before that happens and I am working on that.  It has helped practicing on my sister.  Although our relationship is tenuous at best right now.  (She avoids me like the plague)  That is a relief sometimes and at other times a tremendous heartbreak, but in the end I think we can find some middle ground.  I’m optimistic and I have to say that in spite of the difficulties, it feels amazing to be out of the Fundamentalist Christian box—truly.  I look at life so differently and I am making new friends that are my friends just because they like me and for no other reason, and I am friends with them for the same reason—what a concept.   

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lorena
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 02:21:30

    Hey! I didn’t know you had a blog. I shall add you to my blog roll.

    Yes it is hard to come out. Why? I don’t know. I was writing my coming-out story yesterday, then I decided to put the links to my previous church affiliations, so I when to the websites.

    A lot of feelings came back–all good. The feeling of belonging, the eating together, the going on retreats, the singing, the lunch after church, the crying on each other’s shoulders. The avalanche of feelings was unbelievably strong.

    Perhaps we don’t want to come out because it means to cut off a big part of our lives–huge part of our lives. It is like making a divorce official. It actually is painful, because it is so sad that we are too darn smart to believe the fantasy.

    I feel like we are no different from people who had a leg amputated because gangrene was threatening their lives. They are alive, but now they have to live without their precious leg.

    It is a painful journey. I am glad we have each other to share it with.

    Reply

  2. rebecca
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 04:06:50

    Hi there Notabarie,

    “I believe this fear is based on self preservation.”

    I like this, in a positive way. So often we think of “fear” as a negative, but fear while standing in front of an oncoming train is good fear and standing in front of hard-core believers is like facing an oncoming train.

    Reply

  3. Lorena
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 06:38:03

    standing in front of hard-core believers is like facing an oncoming train.

    Love that!

    Reply

  4. The Baby of the Family
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 02:05:38

    I do feel for you and your difficulty in expressing your true feelings. I mean, there are even certain people in the family who you can’t talk to. I didn’t have the same problems “coming out” as you did because I got away from everything and everyone after my divorce. My stint in the military, traveling the world, and going to school gave me the opportunity to make new friends outside of those people who knew how I was raised and knew thought that I was still following the “Christian Way.” I still remember talking to mom and dad’s friends, and the first question out of their mouths were “What church are you going to?” I would tell them, “I’m still looking for the right one,” which was true, I guess, if you count the different movie theatres I went to for a Sunday matinee. But living far away from where we grew up has given me the freedom to be myself without anyone questioning what I believe. I hope that you can strike a balance between moving away from it all (I do have a nice futon) and standing up to those whose whole lives are based around a church and its doctrine. It’s almost like they’re Amway salesmen who don’t take no for an answer. In my mind, if your friends abandon you now, they weren’t your friends to begin with.

    Reply

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