The other day I had a text exchange with my brother. He asked me if I’d be interested in writing a short book on why I left Christianity from an atheistic perspective, and he’d do one from an autotheistic perspective. I gave him a cynical response after asking what brought this on. It was a little flippant of me.
My chief objection was that I’ve experienced the lack of thought provocation apostasy spawns. Sure, there are a few stories out there about reasoning away from the Christian faith that don’t condescend. A few of them might have inspired various people to rethink their beliefs. There’s no telling what changes those beliefs have wrought. I could be okay with someone going from the deep end of belief to the shallow end. I don’t think I could live with myself if I just fed into someone’s hyper-religious worldview.
Even if everyone in the world read it, I’d be guaranteed a few people would do the thing I’d be afraid of.
But what I’m really saying is that I’m a big fat coward who can’t live with the fact that people will hurt themselves over his words. It’s not a fun thing to watch someone get livid or abusive because I won’t agree on the origins of the Bible or whether the deity behind it all even exists. It’s also not fun watching those people go and threaten others with imaginary torture. It’s agony knowing that they might have small children who will get on the receiving end of a tirade just because a parent doesn’t want a non-believing child.
I think it’s the lack of control that gets me. I don’t intend to malign people of faith. However, I remember what it was like to have my identity questioned. Most criticism can feel snarky and misplaced if you try hard enough. For me to be persuasive, I have to control for that, and there’s no control for that.
It’s not my place to be everyone’s intellectual babysitter. I write stuff to give people relief over what plagues them. People who don’t like what I write don’t have to read it. They can dismiss it without even knowing what I had to say. But maybe, just maybe, someone will read it and think about it. I’m not trying to kidnap Jesus or make similar demands that people give everything up to follow my blog.
What I need is for people to sit and consider for a moment that not believing in deities is okay. Beyond that, I’m not going to do any thought provoking with my apostasy. Or at least I don’t think I will.
On that, I haven’t made up my mind yet.