Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Archive for the ‘Big Things’ Category

Adieu

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on January 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

I wanted to write all of you to share some final thoughts about my secular life, my connection to the world of evangelical Christianity, and to explain why I will soon be leaving my role of co-adminstrator and contributor to this blog.  The epistolary form thus seems most appropriate; consider this a goodbye letter.

Let me start with the beginning of the journey that brought me to the creation of this blog. When I was suspended from a Christian college for missing too many early-morning, weekday chapel services  (and after having already completed 2 1/2 years of my education), I made a pretty clean break with my Christian beliefs. It took a few more years to get to my Devil’s Heart Experiment, but for the most part I had little contact with church-going Christians and thought about religion very rarely. This period was followed by the completion of my undergraduate and graduate degrees at a secular state university–again, I was only occasionally immersed in a Christianity-drenched setting.

However, that all changed with the emergence of the MySpace social-media application. One day, as I was browsing, I discovered a MySpace discussion forum devoted entirely to the Baptist, Missionary-Kid boarding school I had attended for three years in high school. The site consisted mostly of ICAers who were about a decade younger than me, but there were also quite a few people from my generation. My first contribution to the forum addressed an ongoing discussion about abortion. I wrote an even-handed and calm analysis of the arguments used to justify the pro-life and pro-choice positions. As the discussions went on over the next several months, I began to waste more and more time each night after work (or even at work) writing these endless rebuttals, explanations and defenses of my views on a whole slew of issues. Those writing marathons became increasingly fueled by bottles of wine and growing frustration, as my posts became more and more incredulous and aggressive. I was actually naive enough to think that providing a full deconstruction of Christian arguments and evidence would show MKs like me they’ve been living their lives based on falsehoods about the nature of reality. Crazy, right? I didn’t realize, at that time, most Christians don’t care about the evidence, or how meaning gets constructed through rhetoric and argument. It’s obvious to me now; I should have remembered that faith (belief without any evidence) is considered a virtue in their belief system–it has to be to perpetuate the belief in the make believe. Eventually, I went on a drunken rant where I insulted the intelligence of the folks I’d been debating, and I left the discussion group for my mental health.

I started this blog when I left that MySpace group. At the time, I discovered I was good at discussing and writing about Christian beliefs from an ex-Christian viewpoint, and it just seemed natural to continue what I had started. As it turns out, this is not a life-long mission for me. Rather, it is a process, and it is not an endless one. I’ve reached a point now where I have nothing new to say, as I feel like everything there is to say about the falsity of Christianity has been said. I needed to write about it to reason it out for myself and to test my arguments for leaks and holes. It’s been fun, but now I want to transition back to that time in my life when there wasn’t so much negativity (i.e. Christian ideas) floating around in my head. I want to be able, once again, to see a news headline related to Christians and to think, “Who gives a fuck?” Even debunking Christianity is a form of immersing yourself in it, and I want to wash that religion right out of my hair. Fortunately, I’m mostly bald, so I don’t anticipate any problems.

My plan within the next few days is to transfer all 119 of my posts to one of the other administrators on this site, so they will continue to exist. I’d like to especially thank Ann and Paulo for working on this blog with me from the very beginning and for writing such great posts and comments. Thanks as well to Jerry, prb3, dsc01, Noraa and Jester for acting as contributors and for writing such thoughtful comments and posts. Finally, thanks to you lurkers out there (JN!) who also made significant contributions to our discussions through your comments.

Best,

Clamence/The Chaplain

Posted in Big Things, Reflections & Memories | 9 Comments »

Subliminal Advertising

Posted by Ann on February 9, 2011

Around 3 to 4 years ago, after suffering from pretty regular insomnia due to having two small children who didn’t sleep through the night (they do now, thankfully), I began having experiences of hyper-awareness of my surroundings. These periods of insomnia were a kind of “awakening” to the world around me, similar to the experience of culture or transition shock. It was especially strange for me, a person who, as a child, learned to block out my surroundings as a coping mechanism to deal with my fundamentalist upbringing, and frequent discipline. I was a bookworm who could read a book and not hear people saying my name directly behind me. This insomnia threw me for a loop. Suddenly I was noticing my surroundings more clearly, frequently all at once. Seeing signs on the roads, advertising in stores, hearing the music, smelling the scents, paying attention to the subtle cues in my surroundings. Got me thinking about how these experiences with my environment might be influencing me, and also influencing the people around me.

Although I’m sure many coincidences are purposeful, I suspect many of these coincidences (aka “God speaking to me” for believers) are simply a result of our mind and its exposure to our environment and the culture we are living within. Crazy how susceptible we are as humans to persuasion. Why I take my job as a counselor seriously (I’m not an advertiser, but I could be!). Sometimes I realize how much I can persuade people, and attempt to be as genuine, straightforward and intentional as possible with my clients (with humor).

And I’m sure this human susceptibility contributes to beliefs of all sorts. Watch this video. Personally, I for one am not surprised (at all):

Posted in Big Things, Cognitive Science | 5 Comments »

Sexism most likely culprit for lack of prominent female atheists

Posted by Ann on November 5, 2010

Just read a good article on how female atheists are out there, but are directly affected by sexism in our world cultures and underrepresented in media attention and in acclaim. What I’ve been saying all along. Men are most often perceived differently than women. As more worthy of respect. As more knowledgeable and grounded. Less manipulative and more “real” (as if!). From the article, “Where Are All the Atheist Women? Right Here” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big Things | 53 Comments »

My Christian Bizarro World Rant

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on August 1, 2010

Sometimes at the end of a long day, when I’m feeling exhausted and worn down by the stresses of everyday life, I grab a glass of red wine (the darker the better) and log onto Facebook. My only desire is to decompress and read a funny comment by a friend. Instead, what I am usually greeted with are endless religious status updates and comments. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big Things, Essays on Belief, Opinion, Rants | 12 Comments »

Crutch Evolution

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on December 2, 2009

As far back as I can remember, the Christian communities I have been a part of have always been sensitive to the charge that their religious beliefs are a crutch for the emotionally weak. Even before I had heard a non-Christian make this assertion, I heard it introduced and rebutted in a Christian setting on numerous occasions. I have always wondered if the Christian hypersensitivity to, and fixation on, this charge was indicative of a truth within it. However, I eventually decided that all humans need crutches, so it seemed like a meaningless claim. Also, I know from my own observations and discussions with Christians that, as individuals, they believe for different reasons. Or maybe a better way to put it would be to say that they are drawn to, or kept in, Christianity by different approaches to the religion that focus on different aspects. For some, it is obvious that the emotional fix they get from worshiping and singing is something they are addicted to and could not live without. For others, who might even look down on those who make “spiritual love” to Jesus in church, it is the unassailable logic of the NT story and the Bible’s explanation for how the world and humans function that appeals to them. Essentially, people find in religion what they are looking for in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big Things, Dialogues, Reflections & Memories | 10 Comments »

Can I Be Better Than You, Please?

Posted by Ann on September 3, 2009

Reading at Santa Clara, Panama

Reading at Santa Clara, Panama

Brandt’s post inspired me to write a little about my own experience. I think for some MKs it can be a struggle to feel superior.  It took me a while after I left my fundamentalist Christian family to develop a strong sense of self worth. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big Things | 18 Comments »

1st Annual Conference

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on May 27, 2009

This past Memorial Day weekend, the 1st Annual Conference for Contributors to “Fugitives from Fundamentalism” was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference began Sunday evening, with an open-forum discussion of the role played by fffmks followed by dinner and drinks at the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Uptown Charlotte. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big Things, Little Things | 2 Comments »