Some time ago, I posted my Christian testimony.
Since then I have read over it a few times and come to the conclusion that it’s sort of meh, bland, boring, ho-hum…
Not saying my testimony isn’t an effective way to personalize my experience and get a conversation about Jesus going but I sometimes wish it were a little more dramatic, like the one this guy shares.
But why? Why would I wish my personal experience was different than it is?
Because this is something we all, on some level, and at least secretly, wish because we know that what sells, gets sympathy, and gets people talking are remarkable stories of things that simply don’t happen to average people.
Think about this in terms of your own life for a minute. If someone were to make a movie about your bland existence, would it sell as many tickets as movies about Chris Kyle, Marcus Luttrell, Solomon Northup, Oskar Schindler, or Louis Zamperini?
Of course it wouldn’t.
Not that this means your life is bad, or you haven’t made an impact, or you are a failure in any sense of the word. It just means that you are as white bread uninteresting as the vast majority of humanity is, which isn’t, although I wouldn’t sit by the phone waiting for someone interested in making a reality show about you to call, an inherently bad thing.
Anyway. The reason I am writing about this is because my testimony made me wonder if people who supposedly “deconvert” from Christianity ever feel the same way I do, specifically about their own religious stories. You know, could they more effectively “sell” their new found disbelief if their own tales were more compelling?
I have been a Christian for more than 20 years, have a Christian wife, have raised Christian kids, have Christian friends, have taught Sunday School in Christian churches, am active in Christian organizations…pretty much your standard big, fat, Christian life and everything that one would expect goes along with it.
That being said, if I had some sort of sudden epiphany or a gradual “intellectual awakening” that caused me to question my faith to the point I could no longer sincerely believe, I would simply walk away from faith without fuss, guilt, shame, controversy, endless talk, therapy, blogging…In other words, I am absolutely certain my “deconversion” story would be the most uninspired and boring tale ever told. And that is something, I think, many evangelical deconvertees who take up arms against God are not OK with.
Because when lack of belief is stripped of its pompous proclamations and arrogant allegations, its naked soul is seen for what it really is: weak, illogical, unscientific, and worthless nothingness that doesn’t produce any new science, new philosophy, or new ideas to back up what is at its core, nothing.
And how do non-believers “sell” that? How do they win souls to that? How do they gain the support of their friends and family for that?
Seriously. How does a person convincingly justify, even to themselves, why they walked away from purpose and meaning to embrace Richard Dawkins’ premise that “The universe we observe has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good…nothing but blind, pitiless indifference?”
In my opinion, and with increasing frequency and effectiveness these days, the dark, hopeless, and pitiless indifference of atheism is sold, in the minds of deconvertees themselves, and to all who listen to them, by shifting attention off of the logically absurd and hopeless lack of belief in God and on to fantastically dramatic, and probably embellished, deconversion horror stories that attempt to make Christianity out to be a faith everyone with any sense of decency should run from.
After all, the two obligations, whether they’ve thought about it or not, evangelical former believers all have are to constantly rationalize their own lack of belief to a conscience and heart that tell them they are wrong and to encourage believers to question and subsequently reject their faith.
Since neither can be accomplished with logic and sound reasoning against an infinitely valid and reasonable belief system; drama, emotional appeals, and horror stories are all that’s left.
Stories not told to blow your mind, by the way, but stories that are told to get you to change your mind.