There comes a point in everyone’s life when he or she just snaps and they stop caring about causes that before hand they had staked their life on. Take for example my conservativeness. Up until recently I fervently argued the points and the topics of the day with liberals. I used reason and facts to support my statements and usually at least got the other person to concede a little ground if not just call it a fair draw. But this process took hours, headaches, and above all, constant bombardment of arguing from the other-side. I then realized that no matter what, the irrationality and the ill founded arguments would never stop. I might win one person, but there would be no shortage of his friends to take his place. And so at some point in the last few months I just gave up trying.

I tell you this example for the simple reason that I feel the same kind of snap coming on when it comes to christianity. Everyday, from all sides, I am bombarded with criticism, direct and indirect, about my choice in religion. It doesn’t matter how much research and soul searching I have done in my life because, since I’m christian, I am an ignorant, brainless drone who is one of those people who is a stick in the mud. And from the other side as well I receive constant criticism for not being christian enough because i don’t attend church regularly or condemn all manners of immorality in a vocal and confrontational way. it doesn’t matter to which side i turn, I am just plan wrong.

When it comes to talking to atheists, agnostics, pagans, whatever, about religion, I try to do the one thing that i think 99% of christians out there would positively rather die than do: i talk to them about it. I try to do so in the most understanding way possible because I know that if I am to even dream of planting the tiniest seed of light in their mind the first thing i must show is an openness to listen to their arguments and their concerns. I have to come to them with an open book of not only my religion and its history and teachings, but also my personal life open so they can see that I am not being hypocritical when I try to explain behavior to them. In this state, I leave myself very vulnerable to attack. All I have to defend me is the logic of the arguments I am presenting. If thats not pressure in a conversation I don’t know what is. Yet what does it net me in the end?

Perhaps I have planted that seed in some people, but a vast majority of non-christians I talk to want nothing of the sort. They see any pro-religious rhetoric as propaganda spread by liars and the stupid to further their grasp on how people think. They see christians, and by extension, myself, as pushing their unwanted dogma down their throat. And so, even though I may have a few people who I can say I got to start thinking seriously about religion in general, and maybe one or two thinking about christianity, all the others have attacked me, dogmatically and personally. They may not mean to do it, but I still have to bear the brunt of the attack. I am chided as stupid, ignorant of the “facts” of history, brainwashed, one of “them”, etc. It has gotten to the point where I am reluctant to even pronounce my faith in any public forum before anyone knows me well enough to know that if i do pronounce it, I’m not just a “jesus freak.” Otherwise, any argument I put forward will instantly be shot down under the premise of other stupid christian.

On the other-side of the fence, when I try and goto christians to ask for help/guidance on the issue and maybe even try and persuade them to be not as insane towards the non-faith, I am equally abused. For instance, should i goto a fellow christian and say “I’m tried of being called a jesus freak. i have to wait in debates to declare my faith” I am met with “is jesus not good enough for you? you want to hide him!?”. If I goto church, “thats the guy who hangs out with those immoral types.” if i try to debate with them, “why cant you just believe the bible literally?” it doesn’t do me any good. Perhaps there is some truth in the belief among the non-faith that christians are insane little zealots. Unfortunately, everyday I am met with more and more evidence that that presumption is true. Its gotten to the point where I feel ostracized by my own people; partly because they don’t want me there, and partly because i feel ashamed of being a part of them.

How can I effectively tell an avowed atheist that I believe christ loves everyone when we have christians who want nothing to do with not just non-christians but christians from some other denomination? How can I say “Christianity is born of logic, reason, and learning” when a huge majority of the christian community rejects blatant evidence that the earth is older than 6000 years? How can I tell someone God cares about them when there are hundreds of christians waiting in line to cast the stone at one another?
and to be fair:
How can I tell christians not to hate atheists when all they spit is venom and hatred at the mention of jesus? How can I tell the faithful to take in a sinner who thinks that they are all nothing but mindless drones speaking rubbish about love and invisible friends in the sky? How can I take the atheist’s claim of “open mindedness” seriously when I mention religion and he shuts his ears automatically?

The answer to all of these questions is: I cant. I try very hard, have tried very hard and I am met from all sides with a distain the like of which would all go away if I simply wasn’t christian anymore. If I was a weak minded drone, I would have given it up completely by now. If I wanted to fit in, I would have fully joined one or the other side and just given up my independent thought and gone along with the flow. If i didn’t firmly believe that Christianity (true, first century, christianity) then I would have rejected it by this point. Yet here I am, sick of debating and arguing, but not past helping someone who actually wants to talk, from either side.

Do i think that I am better than both sides? I would by lying if i said i didn’t. I think I’ve reached a point where I can communicate effectively, perhaps not positively, with both sides. But I have only done so at the cost of my own reputation as a christian leader or an effective speaker among non-believers. I have also probably not been the best of christian role models or practitioners. Nor have I had the fun that comes with rejecting moral codes all together. So instead, Here i am writing a ranting article about my position in life.

Perhaps this article was more be venting that anything. Maybe it was a fishing scheme to see if someone out there empathizes with my position. Maybe i want someone to see me was some kind of martyr. I don’t know. What I do know is that regardless of why i wrote this and made it public, its what I believe and feel about my life and the two huge forces I am stuck between. If i could have it my way, it would all just vanish, but I am not that lucky.

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