Monday, January 16, 2017

The Middle Finger Analogy

For many deconversion or apostasy is something to stay far away from. It is inherently contentious because the apostate is denouncing and turning his back on the religion of his parents, his ethnicity, and his culture. And for those who deconvert from religion altogether and became atheists or agnostics it is tantamount to giving the middle finger. People's identities are woven with their religions and god beliefs. So when their beliefs come under attack, even in the smallest of ways many people are offended and become defensive. 
This is true of all religious differences. In Islam people have been killed by their family for converting to different religions or to different sects. In America there are cults that force complete banishment.  Any major or  minor changes when it comes to religion can be taken personally as well. When I shifted from Arminianism to Calvinism this was taken very personal by family and friends. I even had to have meetings with various pastors and almost got kicked out of seminary over a minor theological difference. This indeed was tantamount to giving the finger. So imagine what it must be like to say that it is all bullshit. This is big fat middle finger to all religions. 
Of course, I need to be painfully clear here, I am not trying to insult you. The very nature of religion makes it seem that way, but I must assure you we can still be friends, and no I am not sticking my middle finger at you. Keep in mind that we are all guilty of doing this exact thing. There are subtle ways all people are guilty of metaphorically giving the bird.
First, religions give the middle finger to other religions! This is an important distinction. When relatives, family, and former church member see my Facebook profile or see these blog posts, they must keep in mind that there are always two sides. Part of telling my story is too show them my perspective. And to the world, religion as a whole is one big hate orgy. My religion has it right and all the other religions are wrong, this interpretation is the correct interpretation and all others are heresies. And my version of the holy text is the correct one all other versions and texts are perversions. Keep in mind, this is not just an issue with the fundamentalist or the extremist - who want to collect Harry Potter books and burn them ( I was one of these nut jobs ) or the ones who want to fly planes into buildings ( I am not comparing the two, just drawing a contrast).  But even liberal theists can still be very enthusiastic about their religion while disdaining all others. Of course there are exceptions. But as a whole, religion is a force that divides and it in itself is one big middle finger to the world.

I want it to be said from the outset, that I am not trying to offend anyone. Of course offense will be taken, this is unavoidable. I just hope that you  can understand that I mean you no harm personally. Calling religion stupid is not the same as calling you stupid. Many theists will do the same to the atheist and say that we are fools, because of Psalms 14:1. There are some atheists who take this very personal,  but I do not take it personally. Instead I try to understand the argument, and while I may think it is shallow and weak I do understand it.  You may think I am foolish, but I also think you are foolish. And here many fights can be break out.  Instead of focusing on the perceived insult let us discuss the reasons why we think each other is foolish. And that is why I am setting up this blog, as a place to show how I changed my mind and to give reasons why. Feel free to comment and to add your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

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