I have been blogging for nearly two months now, and I have truly been humbled at the response to the blog. Never would I have imagined that I would be average about 500 readers a week (who knew that many people would want to read my rambling posts?), and as of right now, 3,124 readers total over the life of the blog. I never knew it would take on such a life of it's own. I enjoy interacting with fans of the blog on comments, and on Google +, I've had some great guest posts written for the blog along the way, and even wrote a two part guest series for the blogger that inspired me to start blogging in the first place (Godless Poutine of My Secret Atheist Blog), which was a great honor.
I've exposed some dangerous Christian extremist groups like the IFB movement, and Sovereign Grace Ministries, shared some poetry from a great poetry writer, shared some laughs with a guest post written by Andrew Hall of Laughing In Purgatory, and shocked a few people with the guest post Happy Clappers, the bizarre story of a Google + follower's childhood exposure to fundamentalism. It's been a wild ride.
Despite all the fun, I'm beginning to wonder why I am writing the blog. I'm wondering why I'm spending so much time talking about religion, why it's become such an obsession for me.In some ways, I feel like I'm doing something important, exposing the horrors inflicted on people in the name of religion.
Many people who have never heard of groups like the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement are downright appalled when they hear about the rampant pedophilia, (and sometimes retribution against victims and people who speak out against it, as I talk about in my post on Bob Jones University), the way they isolate themselves from the outside world (and force their young people to do the same), and their extreme beliefs and hatred including homophobia and misogyny. (Side note, see my post I Actually Don't Hate Religion as to why I use the term fundamentalist instead of Christian).
Sometimes, I feel it's necessary, and in a large part, I think my past experiences are driving this, but I have to wonder, what is my point in posting this? What am I hoping to accomplish? Why am I doing this?
I appreciate my readers, but most of them are skeptics and non-religious people, as to be expected from a blog like this. Is there anything that skeptics like us can do about the horrible acts committed by religion? The people who really should be reading this blog aren't reading it, the fundamentalists that need to be confronted about this, and called out on their claim that you can not be a good person without believing in their religion (or at least in a god). Anyone with a skeptical mind (or has read my Exposing the IFB/Exposing Extremism series), can tell you that those who are part of fundamentalism aren't doing a very good job at being moral with a belief in god.
Many fundamentalists won't listen, though, they would rather try to explain it away, or attack the messenger, but there's a small subsection out there that though they may not respond, it will take effect eventually.
You see, there's people out there just like I was around a little over two years ago, who was teetering on the brink of unbelief, someone who didn't know if I truly believed in it all anymore, I was confused, felt guilty for doubting, and searching for answers
It was during this time, that my faith was shaky that I started noticing just how awful the morals of people claiming to be hard core, fundamentalist believers in Christianity actually were. The people around me who were not Christians were actually more moral people, and lived out more the love others attitude that Jesus advocated. I talk about this in part 2 of my guest post for My Secret Atheist Blog, it led me to think: "If God truly is real, why isn't that reflected in the lives of the people who are supposed to be following him?" Aren't they supposed to be the moral example to the world?
If only I could reach this kind of audience, I feel like I could do more for this world, but I don't know if I am having this kind of impact at all. For every person who comments about the blog on Google + or directly on the blog, there's 40 or more people who read without commenting, how do I know who I'm reaching, and what kind of impact these posts are having?
I have also been questioning my motives in all of this. Fundamentalists often call former Christians/fundamentalists like myself "bitter". The condescending tone they use when saying this implies a petty person who can't get over minor slights and annoyances, they almost draw a picture to the effect of a child screaming because mom won't buy them candy.
I think they get this picture from the number of "re-converts", prodigal sons/daughters who come back to fundamentalism. Many of these people claim that they only left out of "rebellion" or :"wanting to sin". This may lead them to think that those who have left, and won't come back are only using the pain of the past as an excuse to leave, so they can lose all sense of self-control. To be fair, some people to lose their sense of self control after leaving Christianity (especially young people), but it's because of an over reaction to the new found freedom they have found from the suffocating, impossible to meet standards they were raised into.
Others nearly have a nervous breakdown when they finally leave, they feel lost, their whole world was wrapped around their faith, what do they do now, especially since they came from an extremely isolating environment, and never got to experience the world before, and the outside culture. This was my experience when I left for college at 18, it was overwhelming, and led to a complete mental and physical breakdown, complete with depression, fatigue and panic attacks. This was 3 years before I even left fundamentalism, but just the exposure to the outside world that I was never allowed to experience was enough to create this reaction.
I have been questioning myself, have my past experiences actually made me "bitter"? Is this why I keep going after fundamentalism with such a fury? Is it nothing more than a personal vendetta, spite against those who have wronged me? Should I be bitter?
Sometimes I think I'm more angry at myself than I am at people around me. After all, I'm the one who for 21 years, believed in all of it, the entire lot. Talking snakes? Yes, that's true! Noah's Ark? It actually happened! Hate anyone who doesn't look, think, act, like me and the people in my fundie circles (especially gays and people of other religions)? Yes! Try to make everyone live life according to the way I was taught by the church through the force of government? Absolutely!
How could I have been such a fool?
I know I was raised into this system literally from birth, but shouldn't I have seen the contradictions in the Bible, the damage that this belief system causes to the world, and the evil committed in it's name much sooner before I did? What does this say about me that it took so long to finally see it all?
I really don't know, maybe I'm just in a bit of a burnt out state right now......