Anatomy of a Christian Hate Letter - Part Three

This post is part of a dialogue, In Two Minds: The Anatomy of a Christian Hate Letter, between former minister Brian Worley and psychologist Valerie Tarico . In the series, Brian Worley, an ordained Baptist, describes some of his encounters with Christian friends and family since he deconverted and Valerie Tarico responds.

Dear Valerie,

I have never forgotten that I was once a true believer (Fundamentalists type) for 23 years. I suppose that it was the expressed passion of the Fundamentalist preacher types that initially attracted me into the faith. What I found appealing was: 1) the urgency of the message 2) the earnest defense of the faith 3) denunciation of sin 4) music 5) the assembling together 6) the unquestioned “truth” of Christianity 7) the camaraderie of standing for something. All of these helped to bring me into the fold.

Thinking back, I cannot recall anyone questioning the legitimacy of Christianity prior to my graduation from Bible college. I knew many that didn’t like it, but nobody that was speaking out intellectually against Christianity. Looking back, Christians were always taught to defend their faith, yet no serious challengers ever presented themselves (at least to myself until I was the age of 33).

Most of my post-university years were spent living in California. Californian religious culture was so different than in the Carolina’s, where I was raised. People questioned things in California. I have an article from the San Joaquin Record dated May 24, 1996 in which I picketed the appearance of the National Council of Churches president, Melvin Talbert.

That was then, and that was how strongly I believed in Christianity. I look back and laugh now when I read what I had said to that reporter. When I reflect upon this and other threatening episodes during my years of faith, my mind is drawn to the story of David and the giant Goliath. I felt the urge to stand up to the giant.

Most Christians that I know or have known are usually decent people, until you question their belief system. Valerie, I understand why my brother and family would be defensive. Adding to his burden is my background. He feels that he can’t stand up to me, his exminister brother who changed his faith viewpoint. But what I don’t understand is how a belief in belief system, (Christianity) can:

1) Divide blood relations like a brother or family
2) Cause bloodshed in the battle to promote its supremacy?
In times like these, when Christianity undergoes greater scrutiny and challenges for its survival, the number of polite seasoned responses to challenges seem to dwindle. Here is an excerpt from a Christian’s letter that understands, and responds with a true Christian spirit.

With Christ, his love is not conditional which is why I don't understand why believers cannot love or accept you. All of us must choose faith or not. When Jesus was here on earth, he was accused of being a "friend of the sinners" for he loved people. What I don't understand is how can Christians not do what Jesus would do.

I don't wear my faith on my sleeves, but the only faith I am interested in is what Jesus would do, not what any church or people who call themselves Christians would do.

Valerie, can you speak about the depth and intensity of Christian responses that have been expressed in this letter or elsewhere?



Want to review another letter in this series? Click here for Part I. Click here for Part II


Brian Worley said...

To all readers:

I am curious about those of you who de-coverted prior to the year 2000. I state in this article I had never heard anyone seriously challenge the faith until I was age 33.

Was it just Bible inconsistencies & logic, books, or some personality that was influential in your de-conversion prior to the year 2000?

Anonymous said...

Brian: In my case, I was lucky enough to have married someone who was agnostic. At least that's what he called himself at the time, now he definitely identifies with the term atheist or rationalist. When my husband and I would discuss why he didn't believe, I could see his perspective very clearly. I was just too intellectually lazy to give it much more thought than that. I considered myself to be 'spiritual' which is probably the most intellectually lazy of all positions as I accepted evolution but really didn't question why a god would need a 'Plan' that needed to 'evolve'.

Now, I don't have Valerie's degrees or professional insights but I have come to the conclusion that all religions are basically cults. Here's a short YouTube video that explains more--what I find fascinating is that you can find most, if not all, the components of christianity in this video. Amazing, as I used to think of the word 'cult' as something that defined kool aid drinking, Sun Yung Moon worshiping, Branch Davidian types of groups. I may have even gotten this clip from this website. Anyway, I love its insights.


PS Speaking of more culty, brainwashing crap, I find it interesting that on the spellcheck function, when I don't capitalize 'christianity' it comes up as an 'error'.

As promised, here is the link:

Huey said...

Brian I was never really a christian to begin with but if I had to identify a catalyst I would say it was the inconsistencies of the christian people I was with as a young child. It seemed that no matter what question I asked I got ten different answers. At the age of 9-10 I could see that the grownups were just making this up as they went along. I found out as an adult that this thought process is called "belief incorporation" whereby one makes up a premise and then claims to not only believe it but to have believed it all along, even though they never gave it a second's thought before.

I gave up when I saw that not one of them knew what they were talking about. They all couldn't be right, so why would anyone of them be right? I could instinctively follow logic as a young child without knowing the terms and precepts. I could tell that someone was wrong about something, but I could not necessarily say why, as I just did not have the education to put my instincts and thoughts into words. I do now.

Brian Worley said...

Thank you no god/no fear and Huey for taking the time to comment.

eejay said...

Brian, I would have to say that if I really look deep into myself I was deconverted prior to 2000, but I would have had a hard time to admit it. I still don't go running around telling the world, but I think the time has come that we have to get more involved in letting the world know we exist, because I fear our country will, no doubt become a x-tian nation if we don't stand up for our rights now.

Anonymous said...

eejay Said:
"I fear our country will, no doubt become a x-tian nation if we don't stand up for our rights now"

I don't think so. Christians in this country are starting to slowly diminish in numbers.

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