I got this email yesterday from a North Carolina resident:
Over the past couple of years I have slowly realized, that… I don’t believe in the spirit in the sky with magical powers. This is all fine and dandy, except I literally live in the middle of the bible belt. Nearly my entire community it Christian, I have 6 churches in walking distance of my house. I am constantly being invited to church and to youth functions. I do not know how to respond to these invitations, it seems everything that I try always is negative in some sort of way. I have tried to just tell them no thank you but that just encourages them to pester you about why you wont go. I have even told someone that I am atheist and that is why I will not go, but this returns the worst result of all. They then make it there personal mission to “save” me. I don’t live in a very accepting community.
What an awful situation to be in — you (almost) wish you were a Christian so that life would become that much easier.
In some cases, that’s what the atheists have done.
They’re pretending to be Christians so that they can fit in with the crowd, as this couple mentions at the Freakonomics blog:
… We found by experience that if we were truthful about not being regular church attenders, the play dates suddenly ended. Thus started the faking of the religious funk.
It seemed silly but it’s all very serious business down here. We don’t go to church or teach [our] children one belief is “right” over another. We expose them to every kind of belief and trust that they will one day settle in to their very own spirituality. However, for the sake of friends and neighbors, we pretend we are Christians. We try not to lie but rather not to disclose unnecessary information.
That sort of deception can start at a young age, too. You discover it’s easier to go along with the crowd instead of just calling religion out on its bullshit, which could just get you into trouble with the adults.
There was a great interview on Tavis Smiley the other day with actor Mark Ruffalo — Ruffalo talks about how he pretended to get “knocked out by the spirit of the Lord” just to appease his family:
(The ending of the clip is awesome)
You have to wonder how many fake Christians there are out there — people who secretly doubt their faith or have cast it aside altogether, but stick with the guise just so they can be part of a community.
It would be wonderful if those “Christians” could just be honest.
It would be great if they realized that their personal convictions were worth so much more than the Christian communities they want to be a part of — that’s easier said than done, of course.
But imagine if it happened. How much better would life be for those people who have to currently lie in order to be accepted by the “true” Christians?