Thanks for fixing the link to the feedback section of last week’s show. I listened with great interest to the emails you read. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that surprised at the many negative reactions to my out-of-the-faith testimony.
Usually when someone accuses me of never being an authentic believer, it’s for one of three reasons: it’s either out of fear (I don’t want to lose my faith one day!), defensiveness (how dare you reject something I hold so dear!) or it’s a response bred from a sense of competition (Christianity is so much better than atheism, let me tell you why!)
I understand the reasons behind all of these reactions, but it doesn’t make hearing them any easier. My motivation for going on Unbelievable? was not to spotlight my former faith and make a case for my past Christianity. I recognize the futility in persuading someone else that my past Christianity was genuine. What evidence could I provide that conclusively proves I was a true believer? For some Christians, it’s not enough to believe me when I say I was honest in my past beliefs, and for others it’s not enough for me to recount the actions I did while I was in the church (actions that were motivated because of my faith).
I was excited to be on your show because I had hoped opening myself up about my story of apostasy would encourage more empathy on the part of Christians toward their non-believing friends and family members. Yet the judgmental feedback I’ve heard from the show is discouraging, mainly because I still hear the usual reactions of fear, defensiveness, and competition against atheism — and I don’t hear the empathy I was hoping for.
While I’m not expecting someone in the faith to embrace my story out of the faith, I still hold hope that there are some Christians who will think twice before jumping to immediate judgmental conclusions about someone else’s life story.
Thanks for allowing my story to be told, and heard.
[So far my favorite line in an email was one that read: Atheism as a "morass of inconsistent, pseudo-spiritual, cold scientific Darwinism survival-of-the-fittest hedonism" -- wow.]