it takes courage…

June 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm 14 comments

philoPicked up new books at the library tonight;
Philosophers Without Gods, by Louise Antony,
Why Intelligent Design Fails, edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis,
The Year of Living Biblically, by AJ Jacobs.

I was feeling pretty good about myself thinking, I don’t have to feel like I’m hiding these books anymore. I can just bring them home and read them, yep, that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t need to walk with them hinden under my arm because I’m becoming comfortable with my beliefs. And if I see someone I know, I’ll just talk about the books with them. Yep, that’s what I’d do…

At that moment, walking over to get my kids, I saw they were talking with someone from the church, my pastor. Someone who I am meeting with next week to talk about where things are going for me. Now I’m not afraid of meeting him and talking through things, but…

These books under my arm won’t make a good introduction to the upcoming meeting, better to talk with him first. But on the other hand, I should just be honest and now is a good time to… Hmmm, how convenient there is bookshelf right here, I think I’ll just shove them there for a moment…

Really, discretion is the better part of valor, right?

Getting there slowly… (wimp…)

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Entry filed under: books, leaving.

conversations more books (Jhumpa Lahiri)…

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Temaskian  |  June 4, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for posting this, I have the same feelings when I borrow atheist books from the library. I feel like all the Christian eyes are on me.

  • 2. Janus Grayden  |  June 5, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Confrontation is rough. You know exactly how they’re going to look and what they’re going to say because you’ve been there.

    The fact is, if they were really sure in their belief and in their prayer, then it wouldn’t even be a thing. Behind all of the disapproving looks is a seed of doubt in their own belief in an omnipotent God.

    I take that as a validation of where I went with my uncertainties.

  • 3. isnessie  |  June 5, 2009 at 3:34 am

    It’s difficult when things are so blatantly relative, in this case, you’re not just ATTR, who happens to be a non-theist – because of your history, you’re the no-longer-Christian non-theist (or like) which is a different ball-game. I’m always more aware of my atheism because it’s such a counter-label to my time as a Christian. I don’t think you’re being a wimp, I think there’s also a natural tendency to want to not cause unnecessary tension, or draw attention to something when the time is not right.
    And the Christian eyes are watching. For some, I think it’s more out of curiosity than anything else. They’re waiting to see if you’ve become everything ‘wrong’. I’ve had people peek at me during a Christian wedding to see if I sing along with the hymns (I don’t). Once you become comfortable with yourself, I think you leave the ball in other people’s court – they can either choose to accept your self-esteem or walk away. And being yourself, even with the atheism books on the shelf, will help your kids see that there might be other ways to live and think. Just my thoughts.

  • 4. wowy  |  June 5, 2009 at 4:59 am

    you’re such a good self-observer!

  • 5. wowy  |  June 5, 2009 at 5:07 am

    btw, I can remember so well when I saw the “philosophers without Gods” book in the library. I was hesitating so badly – should I take it or not? Decided to take it and decided to leave it about three times within 5 minutes :)

    The thing is: I think if I could WISH what to be able to honestly believe, I’d still much prefer to find some kind of Christianity (under the side constraint that I can find it honestly). So, I’m not really interested in books that strengthen my unbelief. But then, on the other hand, just escaping those books can’t be too smart of a choice neither, because:
    – I want to find the TRUTH, so I shouldn’t only look at one side
    – It feels good to be understood by people who have similar doubts
    – If I escape these kinds of books too much, I grow self-suspicious and start to worry that not facing skeptical books is no sustainable way of finding back to faith

    I know that’s not exactly where you are, as you’ve pretty much decided that your faith is “game over” (or that’s at least how I understand you… at least, your old kind of faith seems to be definitely gone?).

    btw, is this blog and visits to the de-conversion blog etc. something you talk about to your family? Or do you delete your visited websites every time after you log in?

    No answer needed…. just curious….

  • 6. wowy  |  June 5, 2009 at 5:52 am

    btw, really no answer needed on my last question… that was a bit too personal…

  • 7. Sabio Lantz  |  June 5, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Next step is the porn section at your video store (just kidding !)

    You know, I think it is only tough for gentle, kind people. That is a compliment ! You all will reach people that those with harsh minds are less likely to reach. Don’t get me wrong, I think harsh minds can be useful too. Hmmm, sounds like community !
    Peace out !!

  • 8. atimetorend  |  June 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Short disclaimer, reflecting on the situation I do think I did the right thing. It would be different if it were anyone else and I didn’t already have a scheduled time to talk with this person. It easily could have been a counter productive conversation.

  • 9. atimetorend  |  June 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Nessie said, “Once you become comfortable with yourself, I think you leave the ball in other people’s court – they can either choose to accept your self-esteem or walk away. And being yourself, even with the atheism books on the shelf, will help your kids see that there might be other ways to live and think”

    That is a great point, and just how I feel. Perceptive regarding the kids. My oldest, 11, already questions the titles with surprise sometimes, which gives me opportunity to gently explain.

  • 10. atimetorend  |  June 5, 2009 at 9:15 am

    wowy said:
    “I think if I could WISH what to be able to honestly believe, I’d still much prefer to find some kind of Christianity (under the side constraint that I can find it honestly). So, I’m not really interested in books that strengthen my unbelief.”

    What I told my wife about the Antony book last night in response to her critical glance at it was, “I’m not reading it to find a new philosophy for myself, I am just learning what people think.” Which is a true statement. I’m not going to make the mistake I made with Christianity and adopt other’s beliefs on other’s authority. I am enriched and grow more knowledgable by reading what other people have to say, what they think. Goodness knows I already know enough about what conservative evangelicals think about the issues. I guess I’m not out to find out the answers anymore, just to keep learning.

    “btw, is this blog and visits to the de-conversion blog etc. something you talk about to your family? Or do you delete your visited websites every time after you log in? btw, really no answer needed… that was a bit too personal…”

    No question is too personal, as long as I remain anonymous! Actually, the only problem with the question is I have been drafting a blog post about the topic. To be brief, no, my blogging is a secret which is overdue to be brought to light.

  • 11. atimetorend  |  June 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Sabio, re, porn, the dynamic actually does have similarities, LOL. My wife once said that in some ways it would be easier if I had committed adultery, at least I could repent and maintain my old beliefs. Ouch, no thanks!

    Thanks for the encouragement. Truth is I’m both gentler and blunter internally, but between trying to be reasonable and having a fear of confrontation, I become a compromiser and facilitator of relationships. Agree, there is a need for both sides in community, that’s awesome.

  • 12. The Jesting Fool  |  June 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Pretty interesting how we often feel the constraints of Christian society pressing us. I remember checking out The God Delusion from the Bible school library and feeling pretty uncomfortable … even though it was in their library!

  • 13. Lorena  |  June 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Are you a wimp or just not interested in having useless arguments?

    It takes energy to argue hopelessly with a Christian who “has” all the answers and will never even consider your ideas. And sometimes we’re just out of energy. Or more interested in enjoying life than in having futile arguments.

    OK, maybe you’re a wimp, but then, so am I.

  • 14. atimetorend  |  June 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks Lorena. Really, I can be a wimp, but maybe not in this situation. ;^)

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