I got out from under the god thing a long time ago - or more accurately, I started pushing back against it as a teenager in the late 60s. It still took me a very long time to come to the realization that I am actually atheistic - I guess I just got an earlier start than most.
Anyway, it's always seemed to me that it should be relatively simple for anybody else to break away as well, but when I put aside my own ego and I stop and listen to the stories people tell of what it's taken for them to get free, I have to count myself lucky to have been afforded the space to make my own decisions.
From John Pavlovitz, here's the story of a guy who's starting to get it. At the very least, he understands that way too often, religion is just another political straightjacket.
I’ve outgrown the furrowed-browed warnings of a sky that is perpetually falling.
I’ve outgrown the snarling brimstone preaching that brokers in damnation.
I’ve outgrown the vile war rhetoric that continually demands an encroaching enemy.
I’ve outgrown the expectation that my faith is the sole property of a political party.
I’ve outgrown violent bigotry and xenophobia disguised as Biblical obedience.
I’ve outgrown God wrapped in a flag and soaked in rabid nationalism.
I’ve outgrown the incessant attacks on the Gay, Muslim, and Atheist communities.
I’ve outgrown theology as a hammer always looking for a nail.
I’ve outgrown the cramped, creaky, rusting box that God never belonged in anyway.
Most of all though, I’ve outgrown something that simply no longer feels like love, something I no longer see much of Jesus in.
If religion it is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place were the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge.
It should be the place where diversity is fiercely pursued and equality loudly championed; where all of humanity finds a permanent home and where justice runs the show.
That is not what this thing is. This is FoxNews and red cup protests and persecution complexes. It’s opulent, big box megachurches and coddled, untouchable celebrity pastors. It’s pop culture boycotts and manufactured outrage. It’s just wars and justified shootings. It’s all manner of bullying and intolerance in the name of Jesus.
Feeling estrangement from these things is a good thing.