Even though many ex-Christians notice a radical change in their inner life when leaving their faith, my inner life did not change greatly. Maybe because my exit was gradual, maybe because my world was not tightly entangled with other Christians or maybe because I had a milder Christianity. But I certainly did not feel less deluded, more insightful or wiser after I left my religion. Likewise, neither did I feel huge improvements in my mind when I left behind Marxism, Homeopathy or Acupuncture. On leaving all of these, I still felt like the same person. That is largely because only one area of my life changed while most stayed the same.
Indeed, even weird things stayed the same for me. For even though I left behind what others would consider bizarre belief systems, I still kept having many of the unique experiences similar to those I had when I was a believer.
To illustrate these points I have done two series of posts (“My Confessions” and “My Supernatural Experiences”) with the goal of making believers seem a little less weird to that segment of blogging atheists who fight tooth and claw to typify religiosity as being totally deluded, illogical, naive and outright stupid. Those posts coupled with explanations showing that religion is far more than just adherence to supposed truth propositions — even if religious folks say otherwise. For I think these hyper-rational Atheists misunderstand the complexity of religion and the complexity of the human mind. This is revealed by their fervent desire for huge generalizations.
I also felt that my stories would help some believers see more clearly how the believer-mind works. I thought that if I told my changes in realms other than their Christianity, it would allow believers to be a little less defensive and to admit to similar mental moves. I hoped my ‘testimony’ would help some religious folks to change their religion in good ways.
I contend that we are all full of mistaken ideas, use helpful compromises and employ creative metaphors to navigate through life. My posts on psychology are meant to show that the same brain that feeds the religious mind, feeds the secular mind — displaying equally odd behavior in realms which these hyper-rationalist atheists may feel self-righteously exempt from their own criticism.
Sure I am very critical of many of the horrible things religion can do. But religion can be used to do wonderful things too. Generalizations are feeble. And yes, I am especially offended by exclusivism and self-righteousness — but that can happen in secular realms as well. The greatest danger I see in religion is the cloak of sanctification which closes down communication, concentrates power and capitalizes on the taboo brain — it is this manipulative side of the believer mind I often attack.
So my approach criticizes many aspects of both atheism and theism — only because they are both embraced by people like me. But has this approach succeeded with any readers? I am not sure. Have any religious readers read these posts and had their view of atheists broaden? Have any believers felt safer to question their minds as they have heard my vulnerable confessions? Well, those are part of the many reasons I blog — because I hope the answer is “yes” for a handful of people.