My conversation with my old faith community.
I had an online discussion with my ex-pastor’s wife. I had attended the church while I was 12-23 years old. We talked regarding Christian views on immigration. I argued that a true Christian should see that these are people in need and that we need to show them compassion. Regardless if they came to the US legally or illegally.
She called me a troll and asked me to come “be a man” and talk face to face. Well I did and her husband my (ex-pastor) was also present for the conversation. We tried to talk about views on immigration, but she constantly shut me out stating that we just have different views on compassion.
In her mind illegal immigrants increase a risk of to rape of her teenage daughters. I argued that a safe integration plan for a path to citizenship. Pointing out that criminals would not be able to seek citizenship. And also that most of the immigrants that come over to the US are just here as a way to seek a new life and income for their families.
This continued on this vein until she started talking about how the left has a twisted view of compassion because it praises abortion. I asked if it’s compassionate to force a woman who has been raped to keep her rapist’s baby. I said it’s compassionate to allow women a choice regarding their fetus.
This obviously didn’t go over well. And at this point my ex-pastor decided to join in the conversation – he had remained silent in the conversation prior to this point. I was attacked and the argument quickly turned to a string of fallacies. Ending with the view that if I don’t believe that a person is a “soul” until birth or viability outside the womb, I apparently should just let my two year old die because that’s no different. Because he couldn’t survive without assistance.
They refused to see any other viewpoint on the issues on abortion. It’s a black and white issue to them. It’s murder and their are no reasons ever that a woman should have an abortion. They argued that if a person has sex then they should also be willing to care for a child.
After this point my ex-pastor starting attacking my faith because of course no true Christian could hold this view on conception and life. He pulled apart my views and demanded to know why I couldn’t take god at his word. I told him how I didn’t hold the bible in a literal word for word sense. They believe the bible is the literal world of God. Every word came from God’s mouth.
“We believe the Old and New Testament Scriptures to be the verbally inspired Holy Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, and infallible and God-breathed.”
They then took my faith apart bit by bit. “Well what do you believe” “What is your ‘truth'” Until it came out that my views on God and religion are vastly different than theirs. That I believe in universalism and that I believe that God is real but not in salvation the way they do. They took this opportunity to remind me that I better be really sure about my beliefs because if they are right then I’m going to hell.
In their minds if you don’t have a relationship with God then you can’t have any purpose in life. No morality can be found without God. And a life lived without God at the head is worthless.
My pastors wife told me that I must have not been ever truly saved. Even though I would have confessed “born again” salvation from since before I can remember.
They both then demanded to know why I “gave up” my salvation and “turned from God.” I expressed vague statements about how life, the church, and my family have driven me to a different viewpoint. My pastor then honed in on the church and what my issues with the church are. He gave long talks about how the church is imperfect and how we need to look to Jesus and not the imperfect church. I wouldn’t give much but said I had multiple incidents that pushed me away. Multiple times where people tried to confess their sin and were judged for their lifestyle.
He tried to explain it away. That his church would be open to any confession of sin. Offering repentance and reconciliation within the faith community. (It wasn’t a safe space for that in any way, but that’s another story).
We then jumped to my family and why I’m so angry with them. I confessed that they had sheltered me and shoved Jesus so hard at me. How I was never really offered a choice in my salvation. (I will point out my family homeschooled me – Abeka K-12. And never allowed any non Christian music, TV, or Movies in the house).
Any comment that discussed allowing children to pick their faith and views went straight to “Well you just believe in multiple truths. We are just teaching the only truth, Jesus.” I tried to point out that just teaching your child one view and sheltering them from all others is wrong. They became offended and said that this is just judgment of how they raised their kids. (They have a large family and also homeschooled them. This is the same way I was raised.) They also “fear for my children” because I plan to let them decide their own faith.
They asked me to forgive my family. Telling me that I can’t let bitterness get between me and my family. And tried to tell me how this bitterness had pushed me out of the church. I politely stated that really wasn’t it. And my pastor demanded I explain myself. I said I really had a shitty time as a teen and really found myself in a horrible cycle of depression and guilt. I felt like God hated my sin and hated me. He was here to punish sin and I couldn’t stop myself from sinning even though I thought I was saved. I couldn’t convince myself that God actually loved me or forgave my sins. I spun out bad, eventually considering suicide because I didn’t feel like I mattered or that I deserved love.
My pastor (by the way he was my youth pastor at the time I was considering suicide) told me that I had false views on God at the time. And that if I would have been truly saved I would have had peace knowing I was saved and forgiven. I said I would have 100% said I was saved at the time.
I was a bit done and tried to close. My pastor’s wife reached over grabbed my hand. I said “Can you please not, I’m not a touch person.” She insisted she needed to hold my hand and finish talking. So for 3-4 min she cried and prayed over “my soul” and my poor life choices that led me to loose my religion. I started packing up as she was done. My pastor’s wife thanked me for “coming to talk like a MAN” and I left.
This is why I deconstructed my faith. People like this.
After this experience I had a couple of thoughts and reflections. It helped me to see what an outsider of the church would be treated like. And how I’d treated others in the past. It made me more aware of my own personal judgement of others, and made me want to be more empathetic.
I see the anger, pride, and lack of compassion in this family; but I really wish they could see it for themselves. It’s destroyed their church and caused a lot of pain to others.
I’ve really come to see that black and white thinking. And the belief that I can take every word of the bible literally is really a false idea of who God really is. And that believing black and white theology just leads to this type of hateful behavior towards others.