Part One: The Anonymous Atheist
This morning, a friend request bobbed in my Facebook wall feed. It was someone I’ve known for a long time, and I clicked accept.
Beneath that, there were friend suggestions.
One of them was from someone named, “Atheistinfundyland Sendhelp”. I clicked on the name to see more about them.
Atheistinfundyland is a female who grew up in a Yeshua Fog™ location, but it appears she’s in Australia. For whatever reason, she chooses to remain anonymous.
I grew up in this town. I was raised by fundamentalists…which isn’t terribly different from being raised by wolves. I attended fundamentalist Christian churches (sometimes three times a week) and a fundamentalist Christian school (from grades two through twelve). The fundies stuck my brain in a dishwasher and put it on the “pots and pans” setting.
After college and some serious thinking, I pulled my brain out of the dishwasher and set it on “learn.” I outgrew my community, but it wouldn’t let me go. It wrapped its slimy tentacles around my newly evolved brain and pulled it, shrieking, back to the place of my birth.
For reasons I won’t divulge, I am now quite trapped here.
She uses her blog and her Facebook as a safe place to talk about her life and the people that surround her. I neither condone nor encourage transparency over anonymity on the net. Both are difficult. It took yours truly years to get the courage to launch this blog.
But I am hypocritical. I don’t use Facebook to talk about my views. Sure, I click like on others posts who seem to have similar ideas. But I find Facebook the equivalent of a party. And if you’re the one talking guns or Jesus, or I’m talking atheism or liberalism, we’d avoid each other.
I probably won’t become friends with Atheistinfundyland for the simple idea — not only is it not their real name — I sometimes loathe associating myself with things that will overtly distract or offend people whom I love. Again, hypocrisy.
The cliché, there’s no user manual for this aspect of life comes to mind.
One thing that struck me about Atheistinfundyland was her Favorite Quotes. It’s the last one on her list:
“The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.” -R.A. Wilson
Holy hell, that one is exactly the way I view the bible and god. It was the doubt in my mind that I kept pushed to the periphery as an early teenager. It was the doubt I kept squelched into my 20s. So often, the response to sentiment like the quote is, “No, Jeremy, Jesus is love. He loves you so much that he wants you to live forever with him in heaven.”
But once you see that Jesus isn’t all love, that there are conditions and those conditions can end in eternal torture, you wonder why anyone would accept it in the first place.
You wonder why their doubts don’t overtake their faith muscle.
Part Two: I’m thirsty for a Christian with a Twist
After I read about Atheistinfundyland, I got an email that believer friend, writer and sometime blogger Julie Ferwerda blogged a post called, “King of War or Prince of Peace?“
The opening paragraph struck me as synchronistically close to the quote I read from Atheistinfundyland. Julie wrote:
Back in my church daze (pun intended), I used to serve the Jesus who was coming back to earth as a vengeful warrior, ready to strike down entire nations with a cold-blooded sword (Rev. 19). Such was his blood-thirsty pursuit, he even wore a robe dripping blood from his grizzly massacre of the masses.
Often, Christians hide behind the idea that the Old Testament was completely revamped by the God/Jesus of the New. But we non-believers scream and pull at our hair saying, “It’s the New Testament message that sucks just as bad.”
Julie has been able to reconcile her old beliefs about Jesus for a new, improved one. And while I won’t agree with her, I can see where she’s coming from.
Part Three: Are you strong enough to admit you’re Atheish?
Which leads me to the final part of this three part discussion.
I follow Naked Pastor David Hayward, because he’s a Christian with a penchant for admitting his atheistic in his beliefs. He came up with an amazing t-shirt idea, the one above, and I think it’s about the best thing ever.
I’ve had long talks with believing friends and family. And when given the opportunity and the platform, they admit some brilliantly large doubts, poke holes in their own logic, and divulge deep dark secrets that place them much closer to atheist than believer.
But these are deep dark secrets.
In public, they clothe themselves in the Ephesians 6 armor of God; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit.
But I’ve yet to talk to one believing person behind closed doors who’s not wearing the above t-shirt under their metaphorical armor.
Or you can be like Jesus and invest in clothing that is dripping blood from grizzly massacre of masses.
Either way, think of it as a fashion statement. Tomorrow’s magazine covers will be today’s avant garde.
I have a feeling not dripping blood is marginally better than bloody clothing.
I could be wrong.