For some odd reason yesterday a song popped into my head that I used to listen to in high school, back when I had that whole believing in Jesus thing going. It’s a song by DC Talk (yes, I used to love them) called “What if I Stumble“.
They chorus runs…
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?
It got me thinking. I remember how those lyrics resonated with me. I felt so brave clinging to my faith against the influence of the world.
Looking back now, I realize what a completely horrid message those lyrics convey. They capture the fear at the foundation of Christianity. The very idea that losing my faith, that changing my mind would make not only a fool of me but of all the people who may be forced to say that I was never a true Christian in order to protect themselves. I was terrified of losing a community that accepted me in large part, if not entirely, because I believed the same things.
For all you Christians out there having the same thoughts, I get it. I really do. You may say of atheists that we just don’t know how it feels to really believe, but the fact is that most of us know it very, very well. I know the prospect of “stumbling” is scary. Fear has long been one of religion’s primary weapons in conversion (the idea of hell) and keeping people in the fold. It is truly ironic that an institution that utilizes fear can simultaneously claim to be teeming with love.
The truth is that fear makes us do stupid things. It corrupts our judgment by taking our eyes off what is important and focusing only on what frightens us. This is undoubtedly why those asking us to believe in the miraculous rely on it.
Don’t be afraid. Changing your mind will make a fool of nobody. In fact, should you determine that people don’t truly rise from the dead or that the bible really is just the scrapings of a people ignorant of virtually everything we’ve come to know, you would be a fool to not change your mind.
There is no shame in refining your beliefs, and anybody who would cast you away because of it was never really your friend.