Saying No to Re-Conversion Attempts

jc1

On a long enough timeline, people who get out of fundagelical Christianity will get some form of re-conversion homework. This can be an offered book, a linked article, or even a petulant demand to reconsider saying no to an entire religion. At times, the attempts can be wrapped in passive-aggressive quips and ignorant tripe, like when Christians tell you that you didn’t meet the real Jesus (and should totally try to meet the right one). The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to say yes, and in fact it’s incredibly important to say no.

This is about setting healthy boundaries.
Demanding that people reconsider their faith with this new whatever is just another attempt to exert authority over a deconvert. There’s a lot of other implications that this entails – like the idea that someone can force another to reconsider a religion – but take those trappings away, and it’s about forcing someone to come to heel. Pretending that the demand itself is valid reinforces this notion in Christians who think they actually are able to sit in judgment over those who don’t believe.

That notion is pretty toxic. Rather than respect someone for being honest about a lack of belief, it means that this is just a challenge for fundagelicals to overcome. Deconverts are simply spiritual notches on the bedpost, to be violated repeatedly until they finally give up. And because a sense of authority underwrites this, it’s a duty for non-believers to be harassed. I mean, a lake of fire (or more passive-aggressive torment) awaits people who reject Jesus’s offer.

Saying no to this treatment and sticking to it is important, because it reminds those of faith that nobody has to share it or even like it. No matter what fits get thrown as a result (and there are plenty of them I’ve seen and heard about), it’s not any deconvert’s job to satisfy the whims of every Christian that decides to be a jerk for Jesus. Non-Christians are still people too, and it’s about time that Christians figure that out.

Until mutual respect is established, whatever faith-based demands can wait.
While I’ve been mentioning deconverts specifically, this also works for everyone who gets approached by people selling religious messages. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re being unfair, biased, sore, or malevolent. All it means is that you are not considering adopting Christianity. Any problems that arise from setting a boundary and enforcing it is purely the responsibility of whoever is trying to do the preaching.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Saying No to Re-Conversion Attempts

  1. My fundagelical brother asked me why I left my faith. I told him my story and gave him many good reasons, ending with a passage from Romans 9 where is says God creates people for Hell. (vs. 22 “What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?”) I told him I wanted nothing to do with a deity that purposely created people to suffer agony for all eternity. When I finished he said, “So…is there a chance you might return to your faith?” It reminded me of a guy who has just been told by a girl that she wouldn’t go out with him if he were the last man on earth and he responds with, “So that’s a maybe?”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What’s wrong with NZ Christians? Apart from the occasional visit (once every year or two years) by Adventists Peddling Watch Tower, I’m never at the receiving end of proselytising. Actually I’d rather enjoy that challenge. I recall a period about 20 years ago when an elder at the church my wife attended decided to make it his mission to “save” me. We spent one enjoyable (well it was enjoyable for me, frustrating for him) evening a week for four months discussing what was wrong with his version of Christianity. He’s possibly still praying for my soul ☺

    Like

  3. It took me a while to stop lmfao at the image at the top. So damn pointed.
    I agree with you that we need to make boundaries. No one has a right to impose what they believe upon another. I venture to offer another perspective, however, on their motives – at least for some of them as I speak as one who once believed it was my obligation of love to share the gospel. It’s shoved down the church’s throat that they’re not good Christians if they’re not fulfilling the Great Commission. For many (as it was for me), it is uncomfortable to say, “This is how you should live your life,” but not to do so is to be among the “cowardly” destined for eternal damnation, one who was ashamed of Christ when He had “done so much” for us and to be a failure to steward the good news to which we had been entrusted.
    You and I know it’s all a bunch of manipulative brainwashing bullshit, but I think there are a lot of well-meaning, self-hating, victims of mass mind control that try to push their views on the ones they love because they believe that makes them faithful followers of Christ. Doesn’t make it acceptable or remove the need for boundaries… just saying, another perspective. Great post as always, SB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the reminder, Shawna. It is just as you said, and most of them truly are evangelizing out of love and concern for us. I try to remember that and to thank them when they make their attempt to reconvert me, while at the same time letting them know the conversation is over, unless they want to know why I left my faith. I’m always happy to talk about that. The ones who insist on bringing it up again and again, telling me the same bullshit over and over as if I didn’t know it to my very core (I had been a missionary, after all) are the ones I eventually have to cut ties with. Time to stop typing–I can feel the anger welling up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like you’re practiced at making healthy boundaries, Jodi, and I really like your approach. It’s a way of showing respect while maintaining your own in practical ways. I don’t blame you for getting fired up when people don’t respect your boundaries, though. I think it shows you’ve recovered the self-respect forfeited by many of that faith.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s