Tom Muzzio’s story is one that rings all too familiar in the nonreligious community. But it is still one worth telling.
Born into a post-WWII era modernist home, Muzzio was captivated by the Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s in college and converted to a fundamentalist strand of evangelical Christianity. His spiritual journey led him to become an evangelical minister and missionary.
But something changed in the 1980s. As the Religious Right rose to prominence and brought it’s political and anti-gay agenda along with it — Muzzio, who was secretly gay — found that the Christian community he loved and served had morphed into something he could no longer recognize or identify with. This led him to experience a loss of faith–he became an atheist and a gay rights activist after coming out of the closet.This intensely personal and powerful expose of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity is one that many deconverts will identify with. For many, it wasn’t just a lack of belief that led them away. It was an increasingly hate-filled, condemning, and damaging culture that didn’t resemble Christ at all.
Many deconverts still carry the wounds they sustained in these toxic communities with them. Many are very angry and resentful. Many have been ostracized by their friends, family and community. Hopefully, they can find some inspiration and solace in God Told Me to Hate You.
Special to Patheos Book Club from Megan Schmidt