The civil rights movement for gay equality heated up quite a bit when the Supreme Court overturned DOMA. I was a Catholic at that point. I was thrilled with the ruling. I had a dear friend, a colleague, who was gay. Through my friendship with this man, I met so many gays and lesbians and cross-dressers, and I fell in love with them all. The gay culture was fun, exciting and creative. Some of my best memories are from those fulfilling times I had with them all, back in the 70s.
But when the DOMA ruling came down, I was still a Catholic. The Church was freaking out about this, and I could not understand why. If a gay couple decided to tie the knot, why shouldn’t they get the benefits of that marriage? I thought the ruling fell short. I wanted the states that banned gay marriage to have the same reciprocity for legally wed gay couples which existed for straight marriages. I could see my LGBT friends’ faces when that ruling came down.
I decided to look at the community of those in other Christian denominations, who called themselves gay Christians. My first site on the internet was the Gay Christian Network. I was stunned. There were resources which led me to sites which delved into the so-called “clobber passages” in the Bible, which were used to justify anti-gay theologies. There were other scholars with different interpretations of those passages, and I learned more about the cultural context surrounding them.
By the time the Supreme Court ruled in the Obergefell case, I was for marriage equality. I believed the Catholic Church was wrong. My parish priest moaned and maligned the outcome, making sarcastic and unkind words about gay couples. I left the Catholic Church, walking away from eleven years of serving as a CCD instructor, RCIA leader, Extraordinary Minister of Communion and Lector. I considered myself a Progressive Christian.
That decision led to other problems. There is no Progressive church where I live. I interacted with Progressives on websites, and I started reading books by Progressive Christian authors. I had no idea how doing so would shake my entire worldview. I had been raised as a Fundamentalist, but as an adult, I realized that Biblical inerrancy was a false doctrine. It wasn’t logical. I spent decades in many different denominations and ended up in the Catholic Church because I believed the Church was the deposit of “truth” with a capital T. I had no idea if I was following God the right way or not.
I began to wonder if the Bible was even inspired at all by God when I began to explore how the canon came to exist. I found out that scholars did not think Moses wrote the Pentateuch and the escape from Egypt was not a historical event. There is good historical scholarship which puts the very existence of Moses into doubt. The more I studied the origins of the Bible, the less confidence I had about the existence of God. These doubts were scary for me, because if God was not real, then Jesus was not a divine person. I started to read the Bible more often, praying and pleading with God to show me what I was missing.
The end of last year, a dramatic family conflict ended with my deconversion. It is too complicated to go into here, but the problem of divine hiddenness finally caught up with me. Suddenly I realized Christianity was fake. I had never believed in any other god, and therefore I became an atheist. I was 60 years old. That change happened abruptly on January 1, 2016.
I was on my own. I had no information about the prominent atheists who wrote and debated extensively. I did see Christopher Hitchens interviewed on a conservative news channel, but I never read his books. My atheism was the result of exploring Christianity. I found that ironic. I was on my own. I was enormously relieved and excited to learn more about the atheist community. For the first time, I explored science and cosmology and physics with enormous energy. The longer I lived as an atheist, the more joy I felt. It was exciting to learn more about the atheist community. I devoured atheist books. For the first time, I explored science and cosmology and physics with enormous energy. The longer I lived as an atheist, the more I felt truly alive. I felt liberated from anxiety and doubt.
This is a long post, and if you have gotten this far, thank you for reading. Hereafter, my blog will be my views on issues or items from the vantage point of being an atheist. I will likely reference other atheists, which will give you a clue about my reading and exploring habits. My explanation of where I was and where I am is as complete as I wish it to be at this time.
Our paths to becoming non-Christians are very similar. Essentially my final break came with a modicum of learning and listening to intelligent people who bring fact, via archaeology, anthropology, botany, and close reading of the Bible all together to reveal God’s Living Word for what it is: a historical tome that utilizes myth, literary narrative, and reworked historical fact, i.e., the Moses story, as a means for a small nation to maintain its identity in the ancient world. It is a Jewish text– one that Christians have been trying to appropriate as their own for two thousand years. They have failed. The reason the Christian faith has managed to survive this long is that it has relied on its members to remain ignorant while its ministers told them what to believe.
I have moved towards Buddhism and love it. I still read the teachings of Jesus, something Christianity abandoned hundreds upon hundreds of years ago.
Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your posts!
Thanks. I posted one a couple of days ago.
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Our faith is purified in fire. I also am now in the light after many years of drugs sorceries & debauchery etc. Glory & honor be to Jesus Christ the blessed LAMB who was slain.
We are not called to argue with the godless but rather love the lost.
But now I am atheist. Funny how it worked out for me. The Bible has value for me, even though I don’t believe in God anymore.
Sheila, you have had quite a journey. I am glad you are happy. ~Tim
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