Working my way from fundamentalism to freedom (without losing my mind)


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Guest Post at Travis Mamone’s blog!

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith (Photo credit: hannahclark)

Hey y’all! I wrote a guest post for Travis Mamone on fragile faith that can’t handle questions.

If our faith is at the point where it is not truly living, but a vegetable that can’t survive without a constant connection to the things that we’ve always “known” to be true, maybe it’s time to pull the plug. Maybe it’s time to let our sickly faith die in peace. If we are so afraid of questions that we can’t help people who need our help and love people who need our love, then our faith isn’t really alive anymore anyway.

Read the rest here! 


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Why I believe (by someone who shouldn’t)–A guest post by Travis Mamone

I hope you all enjoyed Abe Kobylanski’s guest post yesterday. Today, Travis Mamone discusses why he is still a Christian, even though atheism makes more sense. I hope you enjoy his post, and afterward, be sure to check out his blog, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side. 

I’ve been a Christian for almost twelve years. I go to church every Sunday. I know the Creeds and the Lord’s Prayer by heart. I can tell you which books are in the Old Testament and which are in the New Testament. And my iPod is filled with Rich Mullins, Derek Webb, Caedmon’s Call, Sara Groves, and Page CXVI.

Having said that, sometimes I think atheism makes a lot more sense than Christianity.
When I was young in the faith, I was taught to avoid atheists and their “deceptive ways.” A few nasty encounters with some obnoxious Christopher Hitchens-wannabes didn’t help my perception of atheists either. But the more I got to know a few atheists, and the more I heard their stories, the more I realized that they had a good point. In fact, within the past couple of years I’ve been having the same doubts as my atheist friends!

For example, even though the Bible has some wonderful passages about God’s love, there are some passages that make God look like an asshole. For example, Psalm 137 starts off well enough as a plea to God to save the psalmist from captivity. In fact, the first part of Psalm 137 serves as the basis for the old reggae song “By the Rivers of Babylon.” But then the psalm takes a bizarre left turn at verse nine: “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Doesn’t really fit in with the whole “pro-life” thing, does it?

Then there are all the anti-gay clobber passages: Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:18-32, I Corinthians 6:9, etc. As a bisexual man, I’m always running against these passages whenever I try to validate my presence in the Church. Sometimes I wonder if it would make more sense to just switch religions.
Then there’s the Church’s spotted history: the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, Manifest Destiny, slavery, segregation, sexism, etc. Things haven’t gotten any better, unfortunately. Just take a look at the current war on contraceptives, the anti-gay marriage movement, the pushback against evolution, the abstinence-only movement . . . well, you get the idea.

So why do I still keep coming back to church? Why can’t I just accept the fact that religion does more harm than good, and then move on?

For one, there are my friends Terry and Rebecca, a tattooed married Georgia couple that collects clothes in their van for the homeless. They don’t just talk about loving people—they actually do it!

Then there are Tripp and Bo at Homebrewed Christianity, who talk about how God is healing this broken world through us.

Then there’s Rachel Held Evans, whose recent Week of Mutuality showed how Christianity can give women dignity.

Then there’s my boyfriend, Sean, who is still a Christian even after coming out of the closet.

These are just a few examples of some of the awesome people I’ve met over the years who have shown me a different side to Christianity. They make me want to believe that God is good, and that religion doesn’t have to poison everything. So that’s why I haven’t left the Church yet; somewhere in the back of my mind I think that maybe, just maybe, there’s still hope left for Christianity.

I hope I’m not wrong.


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Tension redeemed

Tension.

That word keeps popping up this week.

As a scholar with the spiritual gift of discernment, I like to know everything. But I don’t. I like to be able to clearly perceive right from wrong. But I can’t always do that. I like to have an answer to everything.

But sometimes that answer is a measly, “I don’t know.”

I don’t always like the tension of uncertainty. But as a musician, I realize that some musical dissonance is necessary to make a piece of music interesting. Could the same be true of life?

I spend most of my time on this blog discussing my opinions, but I rarely discuss my doubts. Yet, as a Christian skeptic, doubts are never in short supply. So, over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to spend some time talking about the dissonant passages of the musical score that is my worldview.

Instead of talking about what I know, I’m going to tell you all a little bit about what I don’t know. Tension gets a “bad rep,” but it can make music and life incredibly beautiful. So I’m going to embrace it.

Here’s to the dissonance that makes our lives interesting! To the things that we don’t know and the questions we can’t answer. And here’s to the things that we’ll just have to ask God about in heaven. 

Here’s to tension!

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