I Used To Be You

When I first started this blog, most of my networking was among other opponents of Christian Patriarchy. It just so happens that most of those blogging against these things happen to be religious. I’m not. When I came out on my blog as an atheist, I wasn’t sure what my Christian readers would think. I have been pleased to find that you have accepted me as an ally against Christian Patriarchy regardless of my lack of belief. You have been willing to agree to disagree. Recently, though, the comment thread on one of my posts turned into a debate that centered in part on whether I actually “got” certain aspects of Christian belief. So I’ve decided to take a moment to clarify some things and adjust a few rules with regards to my blog.

Please understand when you read my blog that you are getting the perspective of a twenty something woman who was raised on the line between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, then became a conservative Catholic, then a liberal Catholic, then an Agnostic, and then an Atheist. If you are a Christian, you will naturally disagree with posts that tackle religion directly, though not necessarily with posts that tackle elements of fundamentalist religion, homeschooling, patriarchy, or authoritarianism.

Understand that I am not trying to deconvert anyone. I am simply putting my thoughts into words and perhaps along the way providing a perspective some of you may not have heard before. I like to challenge people to think, but I don’t have an agenda! And if you don’t want to read posts you’ll disagree with, you don’t have to!

Please don’t try to argue with me over who God is or or over which doctrinal point I am misunderstanding. I’ve heard your arguments before. You see, I used to be you. In fact, I’ve said the same things you are saying many times before. I get it. I understand what you are saying, and the argument you are making. I just disagree.

The reality is, I’ve heard all the arguments many many times, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no God. It’s hard for you to fathom, I know, but that’s how it is. You are probably sure that I’ve misunderstood something somewhere along the line and that if you can only set me straight I’ll come back to God. You may not be able to fathom understanding the arguments and knowing God and then leaving. You may think that I must have misunderstood something, or must be bitter. Again, I get it. I was you.

If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine. Feel free to share your opinion by leaving comments – I enjoy reading those! – just please simply share your thoughts and leave it at that. I don’t need you to argue with me or try to persuade me that I am wrong. If you think this means I have a closed mind, well, feel free to think that! But instead of arguing with me could you instead simply pray that the Holy Spirit will lead me back to Jesus? And if you’re that bothered, you can always send me an email!

Just please don’t act like I have no idea what I’m talking about. Please don’t act like I somehow missed some important point and you can lead me to the Truth. Please don’t try to diagnose me with some spiritual problem or tell me where I went wrong. I really don’t need that.

The truth is that I am not uninformed. I studied apologetics as a child and read the Bible every day. I even studied Greek so that I could read the New Testament. After I left fundamentalism I read reams of Christian apologetics and poured over the Bible. I spent hours in prayer and sought to listen to the lead of the Holy Spirit. I studied the writings of the early church fathers and the history of Christianity. Jesus was my best friend. Then, as I left religion entirely, I did even more reading. I read history, archaeology, theology, and science. It’s not like I’ve ever made a religious belief or lack of it lightly. Even today, I continue to find religion fascinating. You see, religion has left a stamp on my life that will never disappear. I continue to study religion in detail, and I am well aware of the wide diversity of Christian belief, and that it has done good as well as evil. I am not ignorant of this and I don’t need you to set me straight.

This is my blog, my space. I don’t have to prove anything to you. I want this blog to be somewhere where I can freely speak my mind. If you disagree with something I write, feel free to say so – I’m not asking people not to comment, I really do enjoy reading different perspectives! – but please simply state your thoughts and then leave it at that. I have the right to my views, even if you think they’re wrong, just as you have the right to yours.

And really, there are bigger fish to fry than the atheist on the blog next door. To name a few: Patiarchy, Vision Forum, Authoritarianism, Bill Gothard, So Much More and the Botkins, the anti-woman policies of the religious right, and the legalism surrounding courtship, purity, and modesty. So let’s agree to disagree and focus on problems like these!

 

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15654013636892916062 Erika Martin – Stampin’ Mama

    *applause*Even with differences in beliefs, or lack thereof, there are so many things that we can agree on and find in common. Especially the fight against QF/P. Thank you for being so open.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    Excellent. I think you covered a lot of good points, and covered them well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09949516359154119866 Kristen

    I usually lurk, but you drew me out of hiding. Don't think that all your readers are religious. I went through a similar journey from a different fundamentalist religion to becoming an atheist myself. I identify with you because we share that transitional experience, and I am glad to learn more about the Christian Patriarchy movement, which I haven't encountered much before. Keep it up!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    Moreover, let's hope it sinks in with all of your readership.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Kristen – Thanks, good to know! I appreciate all my readers. :)boomSLANG – My Christian readership has actually been very understanding thus far, pleasantly so, so I have no worries. I just wanted to get this out in the open and set a few new ground rules that I hadn't stated before (such as stating your opinion or views in the comments but not carrying on a debate). So yes, just making sure to maintain a good tone and all. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Oh come on Libby, don't be so shy! ;-)I totally respect that you came to who you are today honestly. That's what I respect most about you, your honesty.That and your good, logical brain. Wonderful attributes to have. =DPeace and good will, your still Christian (so far!) cyber friend, SS

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03175306040944102539 Violet

    I'm pretty sure I am not an Atheist, though I don't think that I am very Christian either, so I don't know exactly where that puts me (grins).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Violet – If you don't think there is a god, you're an atheist. If you don't think we can know for sure whether or not there's a god, you're an agnostic. If you feel a connection to the divine or to something out there but don't believe in the tenets of any specific religion, then you're simply spiritual. At least, that's how I define those things. :) And hey, the beauty of it is you don't have to pick a label if you don't want one!

  • Final Anonymous

    Agreed. Anyway, I don't believe you, an atheist, and I, a (semi-confused, open-minded, highly-liberal) Christian, actually disagree on very much of a religious nature. ; )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Final Anonymous – "Agreed. Anyway, I don't believe you, an atheist, and I, a (semi-confused, open-minded, highly-liberal) Christian, actually disagree on very much of a religious nature. ; )" Probably not! :)

  • Anonymous

    I should probably introduce myself since I've been reading your blog pretty regularly for the past month or so now. I used to be a devout Catholic as well, but now I lean towards agnosticism. About a year ago, I started learning about fundamentalism, which I find both fascinating and horrifying. Anyway, keep up the good work with your blog! -J.B.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    @ Violet,Hi. Just an aside, and since the subject was raised—if you aren't sure if there's a God, or not, that, yes, technically falls under Agnosticism. However, you can be unsure of something's existence(in this case, God's existence) and that doesn't preclude belief/non-belief in said something. IOW, Agnosticism and Atheism are not mutally exclusive.Peace

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10374620768794536239 Sheena

    Religion, spirituality, belief, non-belief, and so on…are only as complicated as we, as individuals, make them.I'm a strong believer in the concept of "live and let live", myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08518636652243948501 Jenna

    I completely see where you are coming from. I haven't really "come out" to anyone I know about my lack of belief and those kinds of comments are part of what scares me about talking about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    "I'm a strong believer in the concept of 'live and let live', myself." ~ SheenaOh, me, too. Unfortunately, there's at least one religion that actually encourages its adherents to recruit new people to their way of thinking. When/if this is done under threat of bodily harm for non-compliance, this hardly represents a "live and let live" attitude, IMO. In fact, I'd say it's nothing less than emotional terrorism.As an Agnostic who is also an Atheist, I don't think it's unreasonable to stand up against this type of mentality.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12117442983915295489 Jesse

    Well said.This is your space, and we come here because we want to hear what you have to say. Period. The end.I'm glad you're covering this now, since people, sometimes even very well-intentioned ones, forget that unless they've walked in your shoes, they can't know exactly what you've been through(and thus the choices that have led you to where you are today).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04510986008238276269 Amanda

    I'm a reformed evangelical-turned-atheist, too and I appreciate your writing so much! I added you to my blog roll because this has become one of my favorite blogs!

  • Chatterbox

    Another former christian, now agnostic/atheist blog follower here – was raised fairly fundamental and definately evangelical – would love to copy this post and send it to certain well meaning people in my life :0) Very much describes my journey away from 'faith' though i probably spent longer in the very liberal christian phase – enjoying your writing as usual…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Chatterbox – "would love to copy this post and send it to certain well meaning people in my life :0)" Feel free! I'm glad this piece spoke to you. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08374925649429207429 thalassa

    I read your blog because I find your writing interesting and your experience fascinating–I was raised in an extremely liberal and liberating Christian family, and ended up a pantheistic Pagan and Unitarian Universalist, because I thought the box was still too small for what we want divinity to be for us… Like you, I share the dislike of the patronizing tone of some individuals that say "if only…you must not have understood…" etc, etc…but you said it much better than I could!

  • Anonymous

    As a nurse I will pray with you if you wish.If your Muslim I will make sure that your bed faces Mecca.If your Hindi I will help you with your shrine if you wish.My goal as a nurse is to assist with the religion preferred by my clients.My clients should never, ever know what religion I may or may not believe in.I wish the really fundamentalist Christians would not attempt to use a nursing job as a recruitment opportunity.

  • Brett Blatchley

    Dear Libby Anne,

    BRAVO!!!! I wish so many Christians could be so honest with themselves. I read just read your posts on the gay marriage issue vis-a-vis Christianity, and it was a breath of fresh are…fresh are, I’ve been trying to help others breath too; you see, I’m a Christian who is a transwoman, and like your own struggle with with Christianity, I’ve had mine, first with my being transsexual, and then with my friends being gay. For this and other reasons (like women’s rights), Evangelicals have disowned me, but in all this I realized that Jesus didn’t disown me, and I’ve since fallen into love…

    Libby Anne, *you* are an inspiration, and such people of integrity will not be denied, whether by God or all that stands good and right in human history. And, if nothing more, you have made a positive difference in my life: Thank You!!!


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