Image by ian murchison via FlickrI'm not sure if things have heated up around me lately, or if I am just more sensitive to it.The last several months it seems like Christianity in my area (deep South, US) has gotten much more aggressive, and more militant. It is everywhere. It's not that "can I tell you about Jesus" type; no, it's that "we have to turn this nation back to God before he rains brimstone on us type". It's that "we have to fight against sin" type. It's that really scary unhinged junk I grew up in. It's really had me gritting my teeth.
This website has been a godsend for me (minus the god, of course). It sounds silly, but I didn't know deconverting was an option until I started reading about how other people did it. It is also good to know your not the only exchristian in the world.
Well, not too long ago I got mixed up with Facebook thanks to a sibling, and before you know it I'm connected to other family members. I had listed a few favorite atheistic quotes on my profile, became a fan of this site, played around with Flair and found a few anti-religious buttons I liked, did a few reviews of some of my favorite books, nothing major. It was kind of nice to be able to put my views up, maybe because it offset the frustrations I felt over the pervasive displays of the particularly ugly strain of Christianity I am surrounded with.
Today my happy little cyber-world came crashing down around me. It is no longer a refuge. A family member fired off an irate message to me about my beliefs, which offended her.
There have been a couple of incidents over the past several years, one where she tried to tell me my mental illness was demon attacks, another where she made a brief attempt to witness to me. I explained to her how harmful Christianity had been for me, and how I was now an atheist, and I would never get mixed up with religion again. Since then, we have pretty much avoided the topic of religion, sort of an uneasy truce.
Well, the message she sent to me had me bouncing off walls. Oddly enough, I was afraid. I wasn't afraid of her; it was a purely Pavlovian response. Even though I can plainly see the Bible for what it is, and have no fear of any god, the fear that was drummed into me for the first 15 years of my life came back with a fury.
It was not a pleasant experience. Interesting to ponder once it was over with, but not pleasant.