The first time, after my deconversion, that I saw this video, I cried and didn’t know why. Every time I see it, I tear up.
Since then, I’ve had time to think about why that first reaction was so powerful, and a major reason is that it’s a reminder of something awesome about not being a Christian. I am not a sinner who needs grace to justify his being in the world. I’m not part of a human race that crucified the greatest man who ever lived. I no longer think that my sins drove the nails through his hands.
I used to sit, silently, in deep meditation, every communion, in deep gratitude for what I thought Jesus did for me. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, it was humiliating to have that gratitude. The trauma of realizing how Jesus suffered crippled my psychology, I think. I don’t think it does this to everyone — but if you really feel, deep inside, what Jesus did for you, profoundly and sincerely…I think your sense of gratitude would also be perpetual and overwhelming. And with every smile and laugh in relief, you’re reminded that the fact you need grace is your fault.
It’s like being accused of murder, and then getting pardoned for it. You’re grateful for the pardon, but every week you go to a building and thank the one who pardoned you. You also hear constantly about how terrible what you did was, and how incredibly nice it was to be pardoned. This makes you cry in gratitude. It changes your life and the way you see yourself on a fundamental level.
And then, one day, you notice things don’t look right. Maybe there’s some evidence that you were sleeping at home at the time of the murder. Maybe there’s evidence that the person you murdered didn’t really exist in the first place. Maybe there’s evidence that the accusation of murder was a mixture of conspiracy and coincidence that ballooned into a framing of you for this terrible, terrible murder.
And you eventually, after 28 years of thinking, every day, that you needed this grace desperately, find out that the murder of this great, great human being was not your fault. In fact, it didn’t even happen nearly the way it was described, if it happened at all. If it did happen, it happened 2000 years ago and had nothing, at all, whatsoever, to do with you.Maybe you would fall to your knees and cry and smile in relief. Maybe all those years of psychological torment would fade away. Maybe you would collapse in the sheer shock that this…all of this…was not your fault.
That’s what it was like for me.
But the difficult thing is that I still see people in Christianity who are lied to. Who are told they are guilty of the worst murder in history because of their supposed sins. Who are controlled by the lie, and grateful to the very people who perpetuate it because they voice “forgiveness” for it.
So there’s anger in seeing it. There’s anger in people still trying to tell others they are guilty, and that if they are ungrateful for the “pardon” their sins will land them an eternity of torment.
That does make me upset. After all, these aren’t people I just heard about yesterday. I grew up with them. They’re my close family and friends. I’ve experienced what they are experiencing. And I want to help.
But then again…it’s not my fault that Christianity isn’t true. It was created before I was born and I was trapped in it for 28 years. It happened and it’s terrible.
But…it’s not my fault that it isn’t true.
It’s not my fault that people have been framed for a murder they didn’t commit.
So I work against it, and I try to convince them, but the realization that it’s not my fault keeps me going with some semblance of inner peace.