Posted by: CeCe | April 3, 2012

April Fools!

So to play a little prank on the Atheists vs. Religion page, I decided to post as admin that I had given up my faith and had deconverted to atheism.  Somehow most people didn’t believe me, for whatever reason.  Maybe the brainwashing is a little too strong in this one (kidding).  But one person did say something that kind of struck me.  He said, “I bet you’ve never felt so free”, or something to that effect.

I started thinking about it, remembering way back before I became a Christian, before I even began to believe in God (it wasn’t that long ago, really, I’ve only been a Christian for less than six years, and I didn’t really start believing in any God until less than 10 years ago).  I remember how back then, I wouldn’t have said I was necessarily shackled with anything beyond an alcohol problem that spiraled out of control in fall of 2002 (I still like wine, but I won’t have liquor in the house).  I never really thought about it.  My conversion to Christianity happened very gradually, with very little if any outside influence.  The night I finally became a Christian, it was just God and me, alone, at 2 a.m. or so, in my living room.  It was very personal.

It was at that moment, when I confessed my belief and asked for cleansing that I felt freedom for the first time in my life.  I never even realized how weighted down I had been.  It was like the story of the horse and the donkey, where the horse looks at the donkey and asks how he can stand up under that terrible weight, and the donkey replies by asking what weight.  I didn’t recognize it until it was gone.

Has that changed?  Am I somehow less free now?  I don’t think so.

But I don’t want this post to be about how I’m more free than atheists (because I don’t think that’s always necessarily true), or anything like that.  Instead, I want to make something clear:

I believe that if a person does not feel free believing what they believe, perhaps they ought to reconsider their beliefs.  Further, if a person does not know whether or not they are free, they should find out by questioning, learning, thinking, considering, weighing, and asking themselves if they would change their mind if by questioning they came to the conclusion they were wrong.  If they would not, could not change their mind, then that might be an indication of enslavement of the mind.  If one has to close themselves off from philosophy, science, history, art, music, or literature in order to preserve their beliefs, then perhaps they aren’t as free as they believe themselves to be.  I believe that it is imperative that a person have total freedom of thought, the freedom to form their own beliefs, the freedom to follow any train of thought no matter where it leads (within reason; there are some things that a person shouldn’t dwell on too much), the freedom to question and explore and wonder and think.

I’m not lying when I say that if I felt as though I was shackled to Christianity rather than being freed by it, I would not hesitate to throw off its chains and form some other belief.  If I had not found freedom through Christ and had instead found slavery, every fiber of my being would rebel against it and would never accept it.  It is completely outside of my nature to accept something that requires me to turn a blind eye to knowledge, and to stop asking questions.  If I ever found that the study of theology, philosophy and history could no longer thrill me and stimulate me intellectually, I would very quickly move on to something else.

Because this is the case, I think I have more in common with atheists than some of them would like to think.  They’d like to think that they’re more free than I or any other Christian is, but that may not be true.  I am free, and I could not be more content.

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Responses

  1. I had an interesting few minutes reading this and thinking over the idea of freedom. The topic title of “Atheists vs. Religion” is a bit inaccurate, since faith and religion aren’t the same thing. Within the sects of Christianity (and any other religion), there’s a whole enormous continuum regarding how much freedom of thought is allowed or encouraged by members. Likewise, atheists aren’t all the same, and range from ethical agnosticism to those who are not only non-believers, but strongly opposed to religion. Then there’s the fact that any system of morality (the ethics within religions) includes boundaries and responsibilities. The more “moral” you become in one sense, the less free you are, because you become bound by the responsibilities towards others you voluntarily accept.

    • Hi, glad you stopped by! I know there are atheistic or at least non-theistic religions, but the name of the page can’t be changed, and most people don’t realize that there are non-theistic religions.

      Yes, there is a lot of debate on how much freedom is allowed. Personally, I feel it all depends on the person.

      Is it slavery if a person chooses it?

  2. I love this Cece (as usual). Thinking back to when I became a Christian I felt a feeling of understanding, contentment but never enslaved at all. It is interesting to hear how people see Christians as somehow locked into a slavery, blindly worshipping like they are told to.

    I can see why some people look at the moment when they become Atheists as freedom as they stop following the dogma behind organized religion. The church going, the sermons, the being told they are constantly sinning by some. Also many people have bad memories of their early church life, forced to attend by religious parents, forced to study the Bible that when the moment they become Atheists arrives they are released from all that.

    • Thanks! I think that’s the difference between choosing a faith voluntarily, as opposed to feeling as though one has no choice.

      • Agreed. I would love you to post a link to your blog on our page each time you update it. It would bring great discussions and also show how Christians can be freethinkers.

  3. I agree with all the stuff about choosing beliefs. The problem is child indoctrination, which I argue renders that invalid, because if you drill in a belief so much as people grow up (or even later in life like the Church does), you will ultimately end up sticking with that. I’ve posted about the relevant things that keep people ‘in the faith loop’ on my blog.

  4. […] April Fools! (aseekersmusings.wordpress.com) […]


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