“I became one of those hated liberals…”
I’m currently reading Dan Barker’s book “Godless” and, though I am only two chapters in I’ve already run across a few quotes that rang true with me and I thought I would share here to see if they generate any discussion. These are all from chapter two.
“After a couple more years of evolving theology, I became one of these hated liberals, in my own mind, though few people suspected it. God did not spit me out of his mouth.” (page 37)
“People sometimes ask me, ‘What was the one thing that caused you to change your mind?’ I guess they are thinking that if they can ‘fix’ that one thing, then I will go back to faith. But there was no ‘one thing.’ It was a gradual process. It would be like asking, ‘When did you grow up?’ We can all point to a general period in our lives, but not to a specific moment.” (page 41)
“I did not become and atheist because I wanted to join a club. I was not converted by the ‘atheist movement.’ I saw no atheist evangelist on TV who persuaded me to change my views. I came to it all on my own, and that’s how it should be. Almost every other atheist and agnostic I have met since then, who raise raised religious, tells the same story: it is a private, independent process of free thinking. That is what gives it strength. It makes my conclusions my very own, valued because of the precious process of being forged and proved in my own mind.” (page 42)
I didn’t come to atheism by reading Dawkins or Sagan or Barker. I didn’t come to it by watching YouTube videos explaining why people laugh at creationists or pointing out the errancy of the bible. It wasn’t from reading the blogs of well-known, very vocal evolutionists and atheists on the internet. I read and watched these things because I had already come to the understanding that they were right and the faith, which I had been taught for so many years, was wrong.
As is seen in my own story this was something I struggled with for years, it developed slowly. I remember having doubts as a young teen, perhaps maybe even as young as 11 or 12 but definitely by the time I was 13 and 14 I was questing my faith on the very deepest levels. These doubts grew as I studied the scripture and theology more. I was seeking truth and I began to realize that truth was not to be found in religion.
I am, indeed, one of “those hated liberals.” I have been for quite some time, ten years or more. I vote Democrat, I support gay marriage, I believe that we should have universal health care in this country. I am even pro-choice. (I do think that abortion is a terrible thing, but I think that there are times when it must be an option. I think that, rather than demonizing abortion we should be doing more to prevent the unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I also believe that, if at all possible, adoption should be considered as an alternative to abortion. On the other hand, I understand that pregnancy and childbirth are not easy things to go through for a woman and who am I to tell them that they must do so?) These are all things that my family (with the exception of my oldest sister) do not know about me. These are things that I learned along the way as I sought truth.
(Just to dispel any confusion the Christians reading my blog may have: I did not become an atheist because I became liberal. I became liberal while I was on the path to find truth; the same path took me to atheism. I am quite aware that there are many liberal Christians and churches that support them; I am not abandoning religion because of my liberal views.)