And I hoped to start writing as a way of showing my ability to think with expectation that future employers might consider me a good idea guy.
What has happened is that I've lost my faith and I think most employers would read this and be afraid that talking to me would resemble a journalistic interview with Bob Dylan from "Don't Look Back".
My original intention was to write as a way of reporting on my confusion. My hope was that if I expose my inner life on the 'net I would wrestle with it myself and become more conscious. I've discovered that much of my confusion has been driven by my willingness to compartmentalize my mind as a way of keeping popular truth commitments a "live option".
The most shocking thing I discovered is the evidence for my default arguments were thin yet my instinct would default to them. Inviting evidence has humbled me and made me change my mind.
I started writing as a professing Christian and free-market capitalist but challenging my preconceptions has led me to obtain with comfort a Christian Atheist theology in the Altzizer/Price tradition and Democratic Socialism in the European tradition.
Owning up to these ideas frightens me because I can hear the shouts of friends and family (and my instinctive former self) but the evidence I've examined thus far makes them more reasonable. I might change my mind again if new evidence is presented. What I experience with believers in god or free-markets however are not evidence based arguments but appeals to outrage or emotion. And I don't like those choices. They are manipulative and bullying.
I have been told I seem fickle, crazy or mean.
Many friends who wish to assert intimacy announce to me that, "I don't read your blog because it angers me," and I'm amazed that they don't comprehend the consequence of that statement. If you don't like what I write here then you don't like my honest ideas and if that is the case then it might be more honest to admit that we have little in common. While we might be friendly with one another we don't have the mutual respect to assert intimacy with anything other than nostalgia and good-will.
I find, now that popularity is not my ambition, basing my free time in nostalgia and good-will is unsatisfying.
The good news is that humans have evolved to be social animals where ideas are sustenance and many psychological ecosystems exist to feed the mind.
While old friends wrestle with their own ideas and battle with their own confusion relative to my desire to be expressive and have announced their disappointment with me or have drifted away, I've found new friendships.
Some smart men and women have read my comments here or on sites like Common Sense Atheism and Debunking Christianity and have introduced themselves.
They've shown kindness and empathy. It feels good just like kindness and empathy felt good when I would "go along to get along" in my MBA or Mega-church but now the good feeling is founded on a commitment to reason, not popularity.
Yesterday one of these folks extended his hand in friendship and since we live in the same metropolitan area we are hoping to meet up.
I'd like to share here what I wrote to him. It is not meant as argument but rather exposition in the tradition of Christian testimony. It seems honest and a necessary piece of information to provide context with my direct criticisms of religion and the American exceptional philosophy bound by Capitalism.
So as a Thanksgiving post I provide my apostate testimony as an act of gratitude that I've come to like myself by knowing my mind.
AN APOSTATE'S TESTIMONY
I was raised Roman Catholic but left the faith in my early twenties and started seeking a more satisfying spirituality. I experienced a bit of Buddhism, 12-step-recovery (both for my drinking and the abuse I suffered at the hands of my parents' drinking) finally drifting into the Mega-church movement in 2003. I was taken by the contemporary nature of the Willow Creek style service and loved the people. I also began using my creativity within the church, leading drama ministry and teaching acting techniques to lay-people so we could put on dramatic pieces as augmentation to the Gospel message.
Once married, we attended her church, an Evangelical Free denomination that practices expository preaching.
I had never surrendered to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy until then and had never read the bible in context with a narrative exegesis.
The fundamental presentation made me start questioning if the the book was inspired or if it was just myth.
The inanity of the scripture and the inability to confront these oddities by the small group we attended frightened me that I had duped myself into believing that a good feeling equaled a verifiable truth.
As I started dealing with my mood disorder I started seeing the placebo effect religion had in helping me navigate it earlier.
I also saw how this was a choice to modulate my biology and therefore I questioned the spiritual presuppositions I took away from the experiences I had.
I was concerned that Christianity was no different than other cultural artifacts that can engender feeling but were not evidence of anything other than our ability to think about a material world (e.g. theater, music, sports).
I had a former bible-study leader assert to me after election day 2008 she knew Barack Obama was a Muslim terrorist because "Jesus, told her in her morning quiet time."
I had another leader from a church I once attended and the father of a good friend of mine send me a word document via email exposing Barack Obama as the anti-Christ with detailed descriptions how President Obama has broken each of the Ten Commandments.
I engaged in an intense conversation with an Elder from our E-Free Church and his wife regarding the Intelligent Design conspiracy (they both are ID supporters) and was encouraged to investigate the literature on ID and the arguments of William Lane Craig.
I did both.
I discovered that the Discovery Institute is a theocratic organization whose aim is not science but politics and I was disgusted by the self-serving nature Judeo-Christian belief could engender.
My bias towards religion as delusion was deepened when I read Craig's debates and found his culture insular and his scholarship arrogant.
His debate with Bart Ehrman led me to investigate Dr. Ehrman's writing which led me to Debunking Christianity, Common Sense Atheism, Robert Price, The New Atheists and now a desire for critical thought and honest discourse.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.