Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Dispelling myths about leaving fundamentalism

When I was a fundamentalist, I had a perception about those who had left the fold that I can now see was far from the truth. My perception was that those who had left born-again Christianity were never really as committed or convinced as I was. I knew I could never forsake my faith; therefore anyone who left their born-again, Bible-believing, conservative evangelical faith never truly had the relationship with Jesus that I had.

I was wrong. I know that now that I'm on the outside.

I can think of some reasons why I thought that. First, to admit that ex-fundamentalists, liberals, agnostics and atheists were once like me would be to admit that I too could be that way one day. Second, I had such certainty, I couldn't fathom why or how anyone who really knew God could consider any way other than straight-down-the-line, Bible-believing religion.

Pastor, preacher, saint, brother, sister: I was once just like you.

I believed, yes, really believed that Jesus died to save me from Hell. I knew the Bible was true. I shed tears as I worshiped. I spoke in tongues, received words of prophecy and fell to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit. I talked to God and he talked to me. I stood on street corners and proclaimed loudly that Jesus was the only way to heaven. I even got the call, went to Bible College and interned as a pastor.

Some Christians will suppose that there was always something deficient in my Christianity. They will say I lacked some essential element of faith, or my foundation was insecure. My faith was all in my head and never in my heart, they will say. They will suppose that I never had the quality of relationship with God that they have. Some will have to believe that, or they would have to open their minds to the potentially terrifying possibility that one day they too might stop believing.

No, brothers and sisters, sorry. I was pretty much where you are now.

This is just one of many myths about those who leave fundamentalism. Stay tuned, as I'll be addressing a few others in the coming weeks.


  1. Yeah. One of the things that almost tore my faith to pieces was seeing someone who i knew was as passionate as I was just turn away with the drop of a hat.

    I've wanted to stop believing but have found myself incapable; all of the alternatives have far too little explanatory power for me in comparison.

  2. That pretty much sums it all up!!! :-)

  3. You were no different to any of us who are or were fundamentalist - or even who are Christians. I believe even those with the greatest faith will feel doubt. When people feel no doubts, I worry that their faith is a game or they just suppress those doubts.

  4. Hoooooo boy. I've definitely heard these things from evangelical Christians who couldn't understand why I left the faith. I didn't truly love God, or I wasn't truly seeking him, or my former faith (Roman Catholicism) wasn't "real" Christianity. It's as if some evangelicals can't fathom how anyone could find Christianity suffocating, unsatisfying, or nonsensical.

    And that's unsettling.