“You’re only a Christian because you were raised as one,” he shouted at the top of his lungs, “if your parents were another religion you’d believe in that!”
And, yes, someone actually screamed this at me in public after I casually mentioned that I attend church. That sort of sanctimonious, hateful religious talk isn’t just for nutty street preachers, anymore. Plenty of “enlightened” people have given me an earful of violent rhetoric for my beliefs (even though I’m never pushy about my religion). I recommended that we talk about something else, but he kept yelling at me, certain that I was following blindly the ideas of my childhood.
That’s insulting. Does he think he’s the only person who ever questioned anything?
Everyone rebels. Every teenager fights back against their parents’ worldview. Kids who grow up in church always reach the point of questioning their faith. Why not? We are taught in church to question everything and to be skeptical of religious claims. (At least, non-cultish churches do that.)
The grown-ups you see in church are people who questioned the convictions of their parents and, after a period of soul searching, came to believe in God on their own. And that’s just the ones who were actually raised in church – plenty of Christians I’ve known were not brought up in Christian homes. They, too, questioned the ways of their parents.
Cynics tell me that I’ll change my mind if I learn more, but I feel like I’ve read it all. I’ve enjoyed the philosophers, like Plato, Plotinus, and Cicero, and I love the scientific writings of Hawking and Stephen J. Gould as well as Galileo and Darwin. And I’ve read more books on theology and church history that I can count. Every possible argument against God has come to my attention and I have considered them all. I read whatever I can about Christianity from every point of view possible because I think that is the best way to understand it.
I don’t mind if you disagree with me, but stop insisting that I’m just a product of my surroundings as if atheists are the only skeptical people. Everyone questions their upbringing – that’s human nature. Church goers are not unthinking sheep, but people who searched for answers and decided that God was out there, after all.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)