I Cannot, and Will Not, Believe in That God: Libraries as Candles in the Dark

The reason I am now doing much better is that, after a decade and a half of struggling to remain in an authoritarian faith that entails fundamentally inhumane theology, I let go of it entirely. I stopped accepting that I needed to feel like an impossible person who shouldn’t exist, and I embarked—haltingly at first, and then with greater confidence—on a path of self-acceptance and truth-telling.

In truth, while hypocrisy in the church is a huge problem, it is far from the only reason we’re leaving. We’re leaving because of the theology itself, a theology that in so many cases we tried as hard as we could to hold on to even as it was destroying us. And by the way, the existence of those visible discussions and resources for exvangelicals you seem to fear are contributing to the church’s loss of a generation? They are literally saving the lives of young people like you and I once were, pondering suicide as they face a crisis of faith.

Evangelicals hold to an anti-pluralist, anti-democratic theology of inequality that has contributed to abuse and trauma in so many cases. Why is it so hard for you to see, Dr. Moore, that you simply cannot have a prevailing doctrine of “biblical patriarchy” without the pervasive abuse of women and children? Evangelicals also hold to a theology that simply makes no space for women who refuse to accept unequal status with men, for single women (except perhaps on the mission field), or for LGBTQ folks like myself who are told that our experience of ourselves is “rebellious” and that we shouldn’t exist. All the abuses inherent to authoritarian systems about which exvies have stories-and the scars to back them up-are logical consequences of evangelical theology and the culture it supports.

But is the preacher who beats his daughter for dancing really an aberration in evangelical subculture? Quite the opposite, for he accurately reflects the character of the authoritarian god of the evangelical cosmos, with his arbitrary and unjust social hierarchies and his insistence that eternal conscious torment for even the most minor of temporal infractions is moral. These beliefs are inherently abusive.

I cannot, and will not, believe in that god, and if I still believed in him, it is very possible that I would have killed myself by now.

Source: Russell Moore had a crisis of faith, but it didn’t help him understand ex-evangelicals | Flux

“I cannot, and will not, believe in that god.”

I recall my days and nights of spiritual torment as a kid trying to align Southern Baptism with my own burgeoning moral autonomy and sense of self. I couldn’t. One night, around age 10 or 11, I “let go of it entirely”. In that moment of letting go, I grasped my moral autonomy. I held to it as I quietly rejected the religion of my upbringing and the people who perpetuated it. The moral, ethical, and intellectual dissonance ebbed, and I never invited it back.

I turned instead to the far more satisfying spirituality found in the skepticism and wonder of science and the local library.

But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.

Source: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The best thing my parents ever did for me was park me in the local library all those days. In its stacks, I found candles in the dark. I found a secular education. I found an antidote to dissonance and fear of eternal conscious torment.

Previously,

Purity Culture, the False Gender Binary, and Abuse at Heritage Christian School

Heritage Christian School recently wrote to parents, alumni, and supporters asking them to contact their representatives to oppose the Equality Act. This excellent and necessary video from Eliza Rose is the response to Heritage everyone needs to witness. Rose leads by defining some terms and explaining the false gender binary, and then gets into the misogyny, grooming, sexual violence, racism, religious manipulation, spiritual abuse, and weaponized shame at Heritage Christian School.

Selected quotes:

So to them, and you will see in the video, any folks that are LGBTQIA+, darkskinned, indigenous, non-Christian, struggling with addiction, rape, etc., those folks don’t matter.

Their stance is that they do all of this to “protect women”, but Heritage Christian, historically, does not protect women. In fact, they enable male abusers.

And it is because of the same religious manipulation tactics that justify coercion, abuse, and oppression and marginalization of trans folks.

You can’t create a reason to oppress and marginalize people and then say it’s okay because, “That’s what God wants.” That’s just not how things work.

The harm and miseducation that is being perpetuated by Heritage Christian School has caused many of us to need to seek therapy outside of the school.

What they’re doing is not helping children get an education. What they’re doing is enabling abusers, not teaching consent, holding victims accountable for the trauma they experienced at the school.

You cannot simply pray away abuse and abusive policies. You have to take action to end them yourself.

The history is grim. The culture of “praying away abuse” has lead several former staff and students to take their own lives due to inaction on behalf of the Administration members. Many of the students that did make it out have had to seek therapy with external resources as a result of the abuse that occurred on campus. We demand that Mr. Terry, Larry Curtis Meyers, and Dave Watt never be allowed back to work at the school or attend school events after continued sexual exploitation of students and forced-silence onto the survivors. The phrase “boys will be boys” should be abolished from all classrooms — as it encourages a lack of male accountability and is a formative function of rape culture.

Source: We need to talk about abuse at Heritage Christian School + the false gender binary (CW: SA) – YouTube

Purity culture and the false gender binary pervert everything. They are “formative functions” of bigotry and abuse, and they are curriculum at Heritage and its ilk.

Thank you, Eliza.

Via:

That thread has corroborating receipts.

Previously,