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Sunday, January 10, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Reverse Witnessing

by eveningmeadows

Recently I ran into a woman I knew from my last church. We really weren't friends, just acquaintances. We talked for awhile, and when asked, I said I didn't go to church anymore, and I didn't believe in god anymore. After the look of shock, I explained to her the frustration of not being able to ask questions, and the stupid responses from the elders of the church when I did. I shared the frustrations over what I saw in the church. We exchanged email addresses, and to my surprise, she actually did email me.

When emailing back and forth, she kept thinking over and over that I left the church because of the idiots in the church. She said that we are all working out our salvation, and we shouldn't blame god for what people do. Yes, they make god look bad, but we should keep our eyes on god only. Yup, that's easy. I would take the time to explain over and over that I didn't leave for that reason. I left because none of the teaching made sense to me anymore. I was frustrated because I couldn't think for myself. After many years of praying, reading, researching, I couldn't believe any of it anymore. And what do I keep getting back? I have to take my eyes off of the people.

I keep getting the statements about "truth." Of course the difficulty is knowing what she has been taught. I KNOW what's in her head. I know where this all leads. We were taught that there was only one truth, and she has it. She can never have understanding or tolerance for what I believe. There is no room for that.

How can anyone keep their sanity, and still keep friendships with xtians? How do you listen to all that dribble, and not just scream? How can you have discussions, when these people think they are the righteous ones? Since I'm just getting out of this "cult" mentality and brainwashing, this is really overwhelming at times. Can I have a friendship with this woman?

Well, I don't know if I can. We have gotten together a few times, and it's like there's this elephant in the room, and we just pretend it's not there. She seems to be very careful about what she talks about.

So I emailed her with my problem with this relationship. I told her about the "elephant." I explained that it would be nice if we could talk about what she was doing in the church, etc., and what caused me to leave, and what I believe now. An equal back and forth discussion. Of course, the statement back was we could talk about her and her church work, and how god was working in her life, and I could talk about what I believe and why I left, but I wasn't going to get her to leave her faith. Did I say that? No. I just wanted to scream. What I got out of it was she could talk about the "truth", and I could talk about my garbage. Of course she's afraid I'm going to stuff my beliefs down her throat, but that's wrong, only xtians can do that!

I find I just want to break this off. My self-esteem doesn't seem to be at the place where I can feel sorry for her intolerance and fear. I hate the feeling that she's looking down at me. I find myself avoiding xtians that I knew from my past. She said she wanted me to see that a xtian could be a kind and loving person, and I told her I hope she could see through me that there is no absolute truth, and to accept people and their beliefs.

I know I should continue this for the same reason she's continuing this, to "witness". I suppose fundamentalist thinking will only stop when exposed to people who challenge that belief system and show them something different. Reverse witnessing. Go figure.