Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Out From Under the Umbrella

16 Comments

It’s been three years since I acknowledged, out loud, my doubts about Christianity.  I began reading many of the blogs in my blogroll long before I gave credence to them.  First it was just my particular flavor of Christianity I questioned – Southern Baptist.  It wasn’t long before I attempted to embrace a more progressive, liberal, Christianity.  I made a brief stop there before ultimately realizing none of that was satisfying either.

It had been a year before that that I filed for divorce from my husband of nineteen-and-a-half years. People who know me would say that I’ve turned my back on God because of that – that I’d become an agnostic atheist because of the bad circumstances in my life.  That I was running from God and that I just wanted to live like there isn’t a God because that’s easier. I didn’t like God’s rules and so I ditched my faith.

Those arguments are tired and they show a lack of knowledge of the journey that I’ve actually been on.  In fact most people wouldn’t know that immediately after filing for divorce I became even more fundamentalist than I had been before.  Ugh, the flashbacks of the insanity of it all.  I remember sitting in my closet with the door closed, head covered(like a good Christian woman), praying silently, crying out to God for answers, and obsessively reading my Bible.

In my quest for truth I began asking lots of questions; wondering why the Holy Spirit had so many different answers to the same questions.  I queried a woman of faith of whom I had deep respect.  I told her I had questions and that I was experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul.  She had no answers either, only condescension and lofty admonitions. She and others gave me stern warnings about such questions, telling me, “I know you have questions and you’re seeking out the answers but I’d hate to see you fall out from under the umbrella of God’s protection.”

At the time I didn’t have a good answer to that.  I was confused and my world seemed to be spinning at a break neck pace.  My reply was, “If this is God’s protection, He can keep His umbrella.”  The thing was I hadn’t abandoned my faith, I was just trying to figure out, within Christianity(of course), which one was true – which one was right.  I had no idea what path that would lead me down.  The more I sought, the more I was told what a slippery slope I was on.  And they were right.  I slipped right down the slope to freedom. At first I was very afraid but eventually I learned to just breathe, to just be in the moment, to enjoy the ride.  I’ve come a long way in these last few years.

I have a better answer to the admonition now:  I can stay under the imaginary umbrella and get drenched or I can step out from under it and play in the rain.  I choose to play in the rain.

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16 thoughts on “Out From Under the Umbrella

  1. Beautiful sentiment! I feel for American evangelical Christians, the religious brand is very deep and that makes rational thought quite difficult from what i understand. I’m Australian, raised Catholic, Catholic education, and leaving religion (and jettisoning all concepts of the gods) was about the easiest, least fantastic thing I’ve ever done. Religion simply doesn’t penetrate Australian culture. It’s a private affair and that is where it must remain. We recently just had our first atheist Prime Minister (an unmarried woman, no less) and nothing, not a single word was said during the election about her non-belief.

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    • I wish it were more a private affair here! It’s such a huge thing. The conservative right filters everything through the lens of their Christianity. While that should be true of their own lives, that shouldn’t be their expectation of everyone else. Everything seems so extreme here. I used to be on the extreme right spectrum and have found myself somewhere closer to moderate now. I’m pretty financially conservative and socially liberal.

      “I’m Australian, raised Catholic, Catholic education, and leaving religion (and jettisoning all concepts of the gods) was about the easiest, least fantastic thing I’ve ever done.”

      I’m not sure if the reason leaving my religion was so hard had anything to do with social pressures. I’m sure that was part of it. But it was mostly because I really did believe it all. It turned my whole world on it’s head. Suddenly everything I knew to be true wasn’t.

      I do keep my deconversion under wraps. Selfishly, I just don’t want to deal with the fallout over it. Not only that, but I’m an accountant by trade. It seems extreme, but, I’d lose clients if they knew that I wasn’t “one of them”. They never ask if I am. That’s a foregone conclusion. If you live around here and, aren’t plain, white, trash, you surely are a Christian.

      I think I might have to write a post about that.

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      • Seth (the Thinking Atheist) had the exact same problem. He was actually a Christian radio DJ and owns a media company. For a long time never came out for fear of losing clients. His site looks very different now, but at the time (2 years ago) he was writing a lot about this problem and what happened when he did “come out.” Don’t know, but there might be something there for you.

        http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/

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      • Thanks, jz. I don’t think I’ve visited the Thinking Atheist before. I’ll do some perusing later.

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  2. Very well written.

    Whenever people ask me what my “beliefs” are and I tell them that I’m an atheist, they always want to know what terrible tragedy befell me to cause me lose my faith in god. And when I tell them the only tragedy that befell me was being enslaved by my family and society under the yoke of some sort of man made mythology that was supposed to direct my life, they are aghast.

    “How can you question the bible and the word of god?” they would ask. “How can you not?” I would answer.

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  3. Hello D’ma, I hope you are having an excellent New Year!

    I read a good number of your biography posts and could so relate. Anyone who walks away from an abusive mate and/or a restraining religion is NOT a quitter. You owe no explanation to those who harshly judge you.

    I’m glad you are out of both toxic relationships!!!!!!

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    • Thanks, CHope! And I’m sorry you can relate. That’s not a life I wish on anyone. I feel rather stupid for having stayed in it for so long now. And it’s not a thing I’d ever tolerate again.

      I haven’t come right out to anyone and said that I don’t believe anymore, but I have become more outspoken about what I do believe. I think they’re getting the idea without me even having to say it.

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      • Yeah, D’Ma, I was treated horribly by my parents and church leaders for many years. All six of my sisters and their families spent Christmas with our folks this past Holiday and I was so sad not to see them. I couldn’t go because their time together was at my parents’ house (who live 500 miles away). I refuse to accept my parents continual manipulation and self righteousness. I have severed all my ties with my parents and do not wish to reconnect. I have been trying to maintain a relationship with my sisters, I find it difficult to do so with the dynamics of our family, especially with two of them living with my parents.

        I know that you really struggled to leave your husband, you didn’t want a divorce. You stuck around for two decades and tried so hard to “make it work”. No one can say that you’re selfish or didn’t care. I’m glad that you realized just how much you matter. Your mind, emotions and body are significant and you shouldn’t allow anyone to damage you in any way, particularly someone who should love you unconditionally and look out for your over all health. I am proud of you for leaving. I celebrate your amazing courage, strength and freedom!

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  4. I love this and your new banner photo and blog title!

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  5. Good question. All I know is that when it is – 0 something (in Fahrenheit), that is cold. Temps in the 40’s & 50’s when it’s -0 and lower with the windchill at home, 50 is balmy and only temporary. My body and my mind seem to prefer humidity. I think anything around 100 and up would feel the same though. When it comes to the cold, I notice.

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