They See Me Rollin’, They Trollin’! (Fun With A Religous-flavored Troll)

So I got me a troll on an old post of mine: Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away. I was responding on the post itself, but then I thought: why waste my fun on a post lost in my archives, and deprive everyone else of some Sunday night amusement?

FYI: The troll engaged in some righteous proselytizing and condemnations, so if you’re not up for that, come back when you’re in the right headspace to deal with it.

Ready? Here we go!

You said : “Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?
Simple: Christians.”

Don’t generalize Christians and use others actions towards you to shun God.

Oh, honey. I can do whatever I want, and I shall. If the shoe fits, I will say so. Besides, if the behavior of Christians didn’t represent you, then you’d call them out on their bullshit, rather than concern troll the people Christians have hurt. Since you ARE pulling the “we’re not all like that!” card, something struck a nerve.

You may run into a few that are not of God. When you accept Jesus Christ you must understand your life is going to be difficult at times. It’s never easy for me being a Christian, I get flack from my gay friends and atheist think I’m stupid and one even made jokes at work openly but I deal with it because I understand serving Jesus and agreeing with his laws takes away alot out of my life and the world. Being a Christian in these times are NOT easy at least over here.

Jokes. Some coworker of yours makes jokes. Oh, and your gay friends call you out on your religion’s bigotry (and probably your own, too), and your atheist friends are critical of Christianity. All the tears, hon. All the tears. Matthew Shepard has nothing on you.

Where did I say you were weak? Rebellious and angry spirit against God you might have yes because things are not your way and jumping to tarot cards and other forms of spirituality looking for answers you know the answer to.

That whole “You left Christianity, but I would NEVER let anyone get between me and GAWD! thing. I’m a writer. I know how to analyze a text and pull meaning from it. Please to not be playing stupid with me.

And see, I was right. You didn’t read the post. Fail, my dear. Fail. Go back and read it again.

You need someone to tell you the truth and not sugarcoat this. I never comment but I wrote to you being in a similar situation. How can I come off so judgmental admitting to having the same feelings and experiences.

I wrote an entire series on the topic. You mentioned it in passing in your opening sentence as a lead-in to proselytizing and threats. Your comment was dripping with judgment–though I’m baffled as to why you’d think I’d care, Anonymous little Christian.

Don’t ya’ll just LOVE how this snowflake thinks she’s the first one ever to say anything like this to me? Everyone ever is just sugarcoating and lying to me. What a brave Crusader.

As for my comment on one day something bad is going to happen I am not trying to curse you if you don’t want to go to church fine, you don’t like religion practices fine nobody is forcing you you have a mind of your own. Anything God tells us is just for our own good and betterment it’s not to hurt us. We as Christians just care because we know the end result living that life and turning away.

I don’t believe in curses–at least the sort you’re referring to here. I’m a big fan of fuck. It’s a very versatile word, and it has such power. Makes everybody pay attention, don’t you think?

Wait. Are you claiming to speak for your god, here? Big step, little troll. Big step.

I do care about your soul and see myself in you a little bit and don’t want to see you fall into Satan’s grip. Again I am not trying to make a “come to Jesus” moment just rethink real hard about that decision because did you really love God or just wanted to use Him for your personal gain? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? Remember the key is all this is temporary and one day everyone will have to answer Him. Also checkout Romans 1:28 on depraved minds, peace.

Yeah, that little girl-child was totes out to use god for her own gain. I mean, how else was she gonna get to stay up past her bedtime?

I am DEPRAVED, YA’LL. How depraved do you think I am?

Christian Cries Wolf at LGBT Community’s “Intolerance”

So I came upon this trite today. To spare you, in the midst of some blathering about modernism, there was a whole lot of whining about the “intolerance” of Christians on the part of the LGBT community.

Here we go again.

First, a few points:

Christians and the LGBT community are not two mutually exclusive groups. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two, actually.

Attempting to place Christians, as a group, within the societal model of “modernity” while at the same time, placing the LGBT community outside of it, or, generously, failing at it–is one of the most laughable ideas I’ve heard all week. Not to mention–this framing of the LGBT community as outsiders, as Other, or left behind as the world has shifted into modernity does give a wee bit of credit to the accusations of bigotry that the author is trying so hard to discredit.

This passage:

“To the extent that a society becomes “modern,” then, it will be packed with people who hold to widely divergent beliefs and values, any of which may be questioned. And the glue of this system is not that we all agree with one another but that we make a commitment to not always equate disagreement, or even disapproval, with bigotry.”

I notice how carefully the author has avoided making any mention here of just what is in dispute here, or rather, who.

What is being disputed here is the very existence of the LGBT community, and their rights as citizens in this society. Christianity, as the author has identified it here, has opinions on the LGBT community, and has, is, and will continue to try to structure our society so that the LGBT community is marginalized, unequal, and without protections, so as to be in agreement with Christianity’s beliefs.

That flies in the face of the pluralism, modernity, and tolerance the author is writing about. What Christians believe about God, their ethics, and their own behaviors are Christians’ business. What Christians believe about other people, the LGBT community, and their freedom, rights, and protections are everyone’s business.

You don’t get to believe things about other people, try to impose them on everyone, and then cry intolerance when you’re called a bigot. And, you know, intolerant.

The author got the first part right. A modern society is a plural one, and one in which the ideals and values of individual groups get to be questioned. He got the second part so very wrong. The glue that holds a modern society together is not that we don’t refrain from calling bigots, bigots, but that each different group respects the others, and that our society does not elevate one group over the other. The glue that holds a “modern” i.e. pluralistic society together is that we co-exist peacefully. That our structure is neutral, that all groups are equal, having the same rights and protections. That individual groups keep their traditions, their beliefs, their values focused on themselves.

And the minute one group tries to impose itself on others? They can expect push-back, self-defense, and yes, being called bigots.

Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away

In the beginning, it was just too painful. I’d been hurt so badly. I was also dealing with a great deal of stress from the three-year long divorce of my parents, along with stress from big changes in my life: a move across town from where I’d grown up, shifting from homeschooling to public school, and it was time for me to figure out what I was going to do after high school.

I was depressed. I was lonely. I was isolated. And I was worn out from trying to be strong for everybody for so long.

I simply could not deal with church. I couldn’t handle trying to find another church–another huge change. And so, on Sunday mornings, I slept. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I took refuge in my bedroom, cuddling with books, or reaching out online.

I needed friends, family, and mentors who would be strong for me. I needed a support system that was nonjudgmental. I needed comfort. I needed love. I needed to feel safe. I needed someone to listen to me, someone to confide in, that wouldn’t run to the family court judge, my parents, or rat me out when college and military recruiters called.

In other words, I needed to be as far away from Christianity as I could get.

I found safe spaces. I found comfort and love. I found safety. And I promptly broke. Everything I’d held in came gushing out in a hot, ugly, blubbering, bleeding mess. Once it started, I couldn’t stop it–I had to suffer until the wounds had finished gushing.

I became very self-destructive. I did a lot of stupid shit while I was breaking down. My support system was a boy I met through Civil Air Patrol. First him, then his family. I spent a lot of time at their house. First hours. One day, I stayed so late my friend’s mother called my father and asked if I could stay the night. Soon I was spending my weekends at their home. Eventually, I stopped going home. This family homeschooled as well, and I took lessons with my friend. They took me in as their own.

I spoke of my problems primarily with my friend. The rest of his family just loved me. I felt so safe when I was there–so free. His parents didn’t prod–they waited until I was ready to talk to them.

They took me in without ever asking why.

They simply saw I dreaded going home, and let me stay.

I will forever be grateful to them.

I will forever love them as part of my family.

My friend had become fascinated with different religions. All things spiritual, he researched. I became fascinated, too. We spent hours at his computer reading. We huddled over countless books from the library. So began my spiritual journey.

All too soon, this happy period of my life came to an end. The family was moving across the country. I dreaded it. When my father found out, he called me home, afraid they would take me with them. They weren’t going to, despite it being my heart’s desire at the time. But still. They didn’t want my father to press charges, so they took me home.

Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?

Simple: Christians.

Not so much the overtly hateful ones–they were easy to spot, and I avoided their toxicity like the plague. I avoided a lot of Christians.

No, it was the Christians who claimed to be different. The ones who claimed to love as Jesus did. The ones who were so quick to condemn their overtly hateful, judgmental brethren.

At first, they’d befriend me. They’d love me. They’d support me. They’d listen. They made me feel safe.

But there was always the inevitable betrayal.

Sometimes it would be by trying to draw me back into the church.

Sometimes it would be by pulling the “unequally yoked” card.

It was all conditional. If you can’t love me as I am, how can you love who you want me to be?

I have to say, the “unequally yoked” card broke my heart.

You broke my heart.

You stabbed a knife right into my heart, and ripped out a piece of my very soul.

The Christians who claimed to be different were so much worse. They waited until I loved them to tell me they hated me. Worse, they pretended still that they loved me. For a while, anyway.

Before that night, I’d found a new spiritual path that fulfilled me and made me happy. Afterwards? Nothing, no spiritual path, no religion could ever do that again. That part of me is dead.

My incense rots. My beautiful crystals sit in a bag in a drawer, untouched. My books lay unopened. I haven’t meditated in six years. My pretty tarot decks lay next to the crystals in the drawer. I can’t touch them. It hurts too much to do so.

Every spiritual path that existed for me, and could possibly exist, has grown over, been blocked by trees, and eventually fallen into the ocean, never to be seen again.

That is why I can’t go back.

How I Left Christianity Part Five: From Love to Condemnation

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”

As a child, I was taught at church that Jesus loved me. Over and over again, this was the message I got.

Once I hit puberty, that all changed.

“You look like a prositute.”

“You’re leading your brothers astray. You need to dress more modestly.”

“What were you doing in the choir room alone with him? Were you messing around?”

Once I hit puberty, this is the message I got. This is what I was taught, over and over again. It wasn’t so much about love anymore. It was about my own depravity-my inheritance of sinful temptation that I received from Eve. I was to cover my body in layers of cloth. I was to change my behavior and cut off friendships that had existed since early childhood.

I wasn’t a loved child of God anymore. I was a filthy agent of Satan who had to be reined in at all costs.

“Jesus loves me! He doesn’t care what I wear! He loves me for who I am! He saved me despite my sins!”

I couldn’t say how many times I said some variation of that to my church. They never got it.

I felt like the church was dumping buckets of mud on me, and then telling me I was dirty, and it was all my fault. All I wanted was to go about my business: worshipping my Savior, talking to Him, and fellowship with my brothers and sisters.

Once I hit puberty, I was never allowed to do just that.

The adults in my church were so obsessed with the body parts I didn’t have, and didn’t know existed. I hadn’t developed breasts yet. I didn’t know I had a vagina. I seriously thought I peed out of my anus.

I had no interest in real boys. I loved the Backstreet Boys because I loved their music and I thought they were cute. But the boys in my life?

“Me? Kissing them? You are out of your mind. That’s weird. And gross. Ew. Pervert.”

I was so tired of it. How could I convince these adults to leave me alone?

I tried dressing more modestly. But it was never enough.

“Those pants hug your bottom. That’s inappropriate.”

“You shouldn’t wear tshirts with sarcastic remarks on them. That’s inappropriate.”

“Button up that shirt. I can see skin. That’s immodest.”

“Button that shirt up. No, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing another underneath. Boys will think it’s not there, and that you’re naked. Button it all the way up.”

“Don’t let that sweater hang off your shoulders. Take it off, or wear it properly.”

I, along with the other girls, eventually took to wearing baggy pull-over hoodies and jeans. Of course, then there was bemoaning over the disrespect our generation showed to God because we weren’t dressing up.

I begged my mother to buy me more clothes. Of course, my parents didn’t have the money to purchase a new wardrobe to accommodate the ever-changing standards of proper modesty and dressiness of the church leaders.

You would have thought the song went something like this:

“Onward, Christian soldiers, to demean those teenage girls…”

It hurt me, deeply, to be treated this way by people I loved and admired…and trusted. I could never be good enough. I wasn’t a person. I was simply a tainted body.

When I took the purity pledge, I earned a brief respite from the constant barrage of insults and condemnations. It wasn’t long, though, before that was used as a weapon against me, too.

Why couldn’t I just be? I knew that I deserved better. I fought for it. I struggled to understand why it was so difficult for the people in my church to just let me be.

All of this? Once I ventured out into the world, once I had a taste of respect, of simply Being, I had no desire to go back to this.

How I Left Christianity, Part Two: Family

The most common means of conversion to Christianity and subsequent membership of a church is through family. Many Christians are converted in childhood, and/or raised in the religion, and I was no exception. As I mentioned in my last post, my aunt and uncle were the conduit that drew me in to the church. Family was the foundation that begun my journey into Christianity, but it was also family that laid the foundation for me to leave.

Let me explain. My intermediate family, my parents and brothers, did not attend church. Because of this, I was free to ask questions. When I saw something at church that I didn’t find fair or right, I was able to come home and vent. I spent many an hour, in fact, in the kitchen with Momma Beemer talking about my various frustrations at church. For instance, the obsession with women’s clothing and the way that male-female interaction in the youth group was treated.

When I felt someone had gone too far, I had a reliable authority figure that would back me up, defend me, and if needed, withdraw me from the situation. Having that single source of validation meant that when I got that feeling that something was wrong, it probably was wrong. I was able to trust myself, my own internal moral compass. Unfortunately, all too often, Christians (particularly young ones) don’t have that authoritative source of validation. Rather than learning to trust their instincts, they’re shamed for questioning church doctrines, practices, or behaviors of authority figures within the church.

While my family did not attend church, my parents might have identified as Christian at the time. (I can’t know this for sure, especially in regards to my father.) Momma Beemer was very open-minded however, and extremely protective of her children. While others might have felt safer had their confidant not been a Christian in any fashion, it was enough that my mother listened to me without judgment, and backed me up when she felt someone had gone too far. My having a safe haven was absolutely necessary, looking back, for me to have been able to withdraw first from the church, and then from the religion altogether.

In a Christian church, especially fundamentalist, evangelical ones (my former church identified as both) conformity is vital, down to smallest and most insignificant of doctrines. Questioning anything was grounds for panic, which could result in counseling or ostracization, depending on status, length of membership, and your relationship to others in the church. (An important member or family could not be made to look bad by being associated with such a sinner.) The goal was to either draw you back into perfect harmony with the church, or to drive you away to prevent others from being “led astray.”

As it was, I was not completely in the fold. Having my intermediate family within the church would have ensured that I had continuous pressure to conform, to believe, to stay on the path. It would have made leaving much more difficult, because I would have had to choose between my own spiritual unhappiness or familial harmony. I might have even had to choose between my family or my spiritual freedom. But I didn’t–my intermediate family was a space for me to breathe, to question, and to nurture my own internal moral compass.

I never would have thought it at the time, but my family’s ambivalence when it came to organized religion laid the foundation for me to leave.

How I Left Christianity: Introduction

It has been several years since I left Christianity. It’s been a long journey–and an incremental one. After all, the church had been a very large part of my life for a very long time, socially and psychologically. Naturally, it wouldn’t be something that I could leave behind all at once.

Like I said before, the church was a very big part of my life. How big? Well, I began attending this church around the age of five. It encompassed the vast majority of my social life–most of my friends and mentors attended. I spent a great deal of my time there–several days a week, in addition to outside-of-church socializing and outings with members of the church. It influenced my development–I learned many skills while there, as well as it having a huge influence on my morals and ethics. Church taught me a lot of things about the outside world–framing current events into a Christian worldview, influencing how I’d react and process the world for years.

There were many events, learning, and people who contributed to my decision to leave Christianity. I didn’t meet these people, learn these things, and experience everything all at once. As each of these things happened, it moved me one step further away from the church. Like I said, it was a long journey, and it’s one I want to share. But it’s far too long of a story to put into one post, so I’ll be sharing, but one experience, one piece of knowledge, one person at a time.

Some quick background:

The church was small–less than a hundred members. My parents had been married by the pastor, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin attended this church. The church community was pretty tightly woven–it was a close community, but there were power differentials–wealthy members, deacons, members with many relatives attending, and influential community members had much more influence and authority than those without those things.

This church’s chosen methods of recruitment and fundraising *cough* was through musical productions, and Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children. Also, food. This was a Southern Baptist church, you see, and Southern Baptists will have food at every possible church activity. People jokingly tossed around the phrase “Baptists eat like Catholics drink.” I find it a rather apt and useful descriptor here. Eating was the main social activity, or “fellowship” at this particular church.

In the next post I’ll write about the events that started it all.

Should You Base Your Support on a Candidate’s Religion?

Earlier today, I was thinking about a question I’d like to ask some of my Christian friends:

“Should a Presidential candidate’s religion really be a factor when deciding who to support?”

My answer? No–one should not base one’s decision on a candidate’s religious beliefs. But then I turned the question around: Should I choose a candidate based on their identification as a feminist?

That was harder for me to answer. There is, of course, a difference between the two identities. Feminism is not a religion–it’s a set of ethics, a political ideology based in equality. Religion is based around one’s beliefs in God, or gods, and the afterlife. Ethics are a part of religion, but they are not central to the identity.

There is another difference–in American politics, a candidate isn’t viable unless they identify with a particular religion: Christianity. Not so with feminism. In fact, it is likely that a candidate’s feminism would interfere with their viability.

I would dearly love to have a feminist President–however, I cannot base my support on a candidate’s identification with a certain group. I certainly couldn’t realistically, since there are so few openly feminist politicians in the first place.

When it comes down to it, the identification isn’t what’s important in a candidate. A person’s ideology could be feminist without that person adopting the label, after all. (That would be another difference from the religion question.)

What’s important is the candidate’s position on policy issues, their beliefs on the purpose and scope of government, and their ethics.

That’s what makes so much of the primary races so troubling–too little focus on policy, and a lot of the candidates’ various Christianities, whether they’re the right “kind” of Christian, and the degree to which those Christianities influences their daily lives and their policy positions.