Yesterday I was thinking about how, when I was a Christian, one of my concerns was that my children would be able to maintain their Christian faith, once out in the heathen world. I believed, back then, that one of the ways to insure their safety was to keep them away from “nonbelievers” for as long as possible. The goal was to have them strong enough in their faith to resist the onslaught of anti-Christian propaganda. I truly believed that was where the danger was—in the non-Christian world.
The funny thing is, that is not where the perceived danger was at all. The enemy was hiding in plain sight. I just didn’t allow myself to see it. As I think back on my journey out of Christianity, it was not the secular world that influenced my exodus, not at first anyway, it was those within the church that gradually sent me searching for something real, something secure, something that made sense.
As I thought about it, the chipping away of my faith began many years ago, long before I actively sought answers from the secular world, but probably the reason why I did:
- My church-going grandfather who stripped away my innocence before I even knew what innocence was.
- My Christian father who raged against and abused us.
- My God-fearing mother who was complicit
- The pastor who befriended my violent ex-husband and tried to get the restraining order against him lifted, all because he had accepted Jesus.
- My Christian brother-in-law who cheated with my sister’s Christian best friend and left my sister when she was 8 months pregnant.
- The pastor who later married the two and welcomed them back into the church
- My married pastor who told me I was beautiful and grabbed me while I was alone in the “sanctuary.”
- The elders that left me twisting in the wind when I came forward about it.
- Our respected youth leader that had been being “inappropriate” with young boys for 30 years and was forgiven while everything was swept under the rug.
- The youth group that rejected my daughter because she brought kids from all walks of life to church and that made them uncomfortable.
- The youth group leader who said she wanted to spend time with my daughter to really get to know her, and then never called.
- The Jesus loving girls in the youth group who said they loved my and then disappeared from her life when she needed them most.
- My pastor that prayed and sang hymns every morning during his personal devotions, yet stood at the communion table and told lies, destroying his flock, of which I was one.
- My God-loving sister who cheated on her husband, more than once, and then turned her back on me when my husband did the same, telling me it happened to me because I didn’t love Jesus.
The secular world did not lure me out of Christianity or tempt me to turn my back on God. The Christian world showed me long before that, that being washed in the blood, filled with the spirit, and loving others as Jesus did, is bullshit, plain and simple.
Yes, dear friends, it isn’t us, the unbelievers–the ones that are honest and upfront about our lack of belief–that are a threat to the Christian faith. It is the God-fearing, God-loving, born-again believers that are the true threat. Their behavior makes the strongest case for no God, no Jesus, and no Holy Spirit that changes people.
It seems I owe them a debt of gratitude. Thank you Christians for ushering my children and me out of the Kingdom.
All those years I spent fretting over my kids leaving The Church but it was The Church that had been the true danger all along.