The Debrief.

A debrief? Well,  I’m not exactly going to rehash this weeks palaver. We were all there. It was tedious enough for those involved; it must have been bemusing for those following along at home, to say the least. The post that launched 1000 comments, and who knows how many spin off posts.

You know, I’m sure, that I was accused of deceit and lying and other unpleasant things. And posts were made on the basis of that, even though several of these bloggers had never read my blog before. Drive by commenters, they are called. All the opinions, none of the context.

And then we had other claims; that I’d never been an atheist (oh my god at least once a month for the first two years of blogging I talked about the fact that I was!) that people were only supporting me because of the fact that I have (admittedly fabulous) breasts, that I was trying to evangelise to the Monty Python demographic (don’t even know), that I must have suffered a psychological trauma that pushed me into the arms of faith. That the fact that I was writing from beside my child’s hospital bed was the obvious key to my conversion. That I was purely a made up persona (I can’t even…).

But what threw me the most was the fact that the little group of biting, acerbic, pseudo intellectuals that spoke so dismissively of me and my life in other comment sections…used to be me.

See, when I was a committee member of the Australian Skeptics in my state (those of you who know my sir name are welcome to google that. Because, lies and everything…), we used to meet for monthly dinners and discuss just how ridiculous people of faith (and of course other topics) were. We would roll our eyes and decry anything that we couldn’t prove with the scientific method. Of course we never plumbed the depths of nastiness that the internet supplies (I’m a mod at Reddit; I know how it goes), but we were scathing and dismissive. Because we were right, and they were wrong. Because we had knowledge, and they had superstition.

So being in the scathing and dismissive and ‘right’ group is familiar to me. But this time, I wasn’t in it. In fact, I was the subject.

It made me take a step back, believe me.

And all the fears that I’d had about how people would perceive me if I became a Christian, came true. Right in front of my eyes over a period of two days.

I was being mocked.

I was being laughed at.

People said I had a psychological problem.

People posited that I was suffering from a trauma

People decided I was delusional.

People decided that I was desperately trying to belong.

All the things that I’d been so scared of when I first felt the pull of Christianity. People were actually saying them. About me.

I haven’t used the tag ‘atheism’ in my blog posts for years, because I wanted to keep a low profile (which may be why my detractors have done such a spectacularly bad job at actually finding the 40 or so posts where I’ve mentioned my own atheism). I was nervous about being made fun of, you see. But here it was, in spades.

And of course the stereotypes were all there. The ones I used to promulgate. Christians want to make everyone else a Christian. Christians are prudes. Christians are all evangelical. The stereotypes flew thick and fast. Almost amusingly. Considering I was being lambasted for promulgating the myth of the ‘angry atheist’, this group of 4 or 5 commenters were not doing a great job of proving the assertion wrong.

But you know what? In all of this, I never once thought ‘Fuck I’ve made a mistake’.

It would be easier to join the acerbic eye-rolling group. On the internet and in society. Much easier. As I said, most people I know are non-believers, from the ‘don’t care’ variety, to the ‘sharing atheist memes on FB every day’ ilk. It would be no issue at all to rejoin. I have, at heart, a biting and acerbic sense of humour.  It’s my default.

And this is the first time my decision has really been challenged, in my own mind. Shit, people really don’t like Christians. Right in front of me. Evidence. These commenters were not even zoning on one or two main problems, as the original complainant had done. They were having a go at everything.

But you know what? I realised that I am utterly happy with my decision to become a Christian. It has been an astounding, eye opening and incredible experience. And I’m thrilled that it’s happened.

My fears about what might happen if I became a Christian came true, but I now realise that they never mattered at all. They can think I’m stupid. They can think I’m having a crisis. It’s OK. I don’t love it, of course. I’d rather people didn’t criticise me. But it means so much less to me than I ever thought it would. I’m positively zen about the whole thing.

I’m not trying to convince people here. I’m telling my own story. From my perspective, with my own prejudices and limitations and faults.

And I could be utterly and entirely wrong.

I’ve never claimed to have all of the answers.

I’m a Christian. I’m also a Universalist, a left winger, a gay-marriage advocate, a Monty Python fan, I swear, drink, am a feminist and like Wicca and Buddhism. I have a sharp tongue that I’m not always proud of and I’m pushed every day to be a better person. By my kids, by my self, by God.

It’s my story. I can be what I want. As can you. I have found my place, and I hope that everyone else can do the same.

As I’ve said before,

that’s good enough for me now.

32 thoughts on “The Debrief.

  1. I apologize that I missed all the confrontation (well, maybe not), but I applaud the courage you continue to show! Sounds like you are experiencing troubles like the Bible speaks of (James 1:12, Romans 12:12). You are in a unique position to see both sides and still choose Christ.

    • Thank you. I’m lucky in that I dont feel I had to be that courageous- after a brief tizz after reading others opinions about me,
      I knew that I was in the place Im meant to be 🙂

  2. I’ve no doubt, Eva, that you couldn’t “go back” any more than I could, because that nagging (still small) voice would keep calling to you… just as it would to me… and it’s not a call that’s easy to ignore!! Although I found my way back to God through Judaism and you found your way back to God through Christianity, our stories have some interesting similarities. Keep walking your path and telling your story! Your Truth is for you alone to decide!!

  3. You were really put through the ringer but you held up and here you are all shiny and without bitterness. Nice one. I need a lie down……

    As Brian said There’s no pleasing some people. (Ex-Leper: That’s just what Jesus said, sir).

    Yay for your blog!

  4. I’m glad the whole thing hasn’t traumatised you too much.

    Tildeb is like a dog with a bone. He just won’t let the matter go. One good outcome from all of this is that my readership and following has had a big increase 🙂

    • Thank you for the clarity that you are bringing to the debate on your own post. Its the best summation Ive seen, but I notice that he will not accept your unbiased viewpoint. Im sorry to say that I’ve actually stopped him from commenting here any more. I know that this will be seen by some as ‘Eva cant handle his truth bombs’, but at this point I think Tildeb needs to step back and I fear he wont do this except by my actions.
      And yes, I had my highest page view day too the other day 😊

  5. I missed all the stupid drama and it is probably a good thing. I loathe uppity Christians, especially “Jesly” ones and I pray I’ve never and will never be one. After reading the above I love you even more – if that is possible. ❤

  6. Wow, I picked the right four days to go off grid! What an amazing journey. And you’ve kept your sense of humour. I’m so impressed! I hope I deal with life just as amazingly as you!

  7. Eva, I am glad you have been able to make sense of it all. I still feel sad about the attacks on you on that previous post. I don’t think it was at all deserved, but I do know part of what motivated it having been party to atheist blogs over the past year.

    It is not uncommon for Christians to emphasise what a terrible (either morally or in worldview terms) person they were before becoming a Christian and this then makes the transition to Christianity more drammatic.

    I am also well aware that there is intolerance on both sides of the debate, with zealots on both sides showing similar levels of intolerance. Indeed I the extremes in both camps make very similar criticisms of their rivals in the other camp.

    Another factor is that the culture of Christianity is quite different in the United States where people who have left the Christian church have suffered as a result such as through loss of employment, family breakdown and social ostracization. Likewise those who previous Christian experience was in Churches that emphasised Hell and judgment find that they have a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder response to Christianity.

    I am not seeking to excuse personal criticism, which I find very hard myself, rather just to help explain why the ‘angry atheist’ part was a hot button issue in some quarters.

    • Thanks Peter; I appreciate your comment. I’m genuinely sorry if anyone found my story triggering, as obviously I would never set out to hurt a particular group of people. My intention was just to talk about my own journey, but obviously there is some deep hurt around these issues. Of course, some people just like to be arseholes on the internet too…

      • Eva, I know what you mean about the ‘arsehole’ thing on the internet. I liken it to a form of road rage, where being in a vehicle sort of depersonalises the other and makes it easy to be angry with them and vilify them.

  8. Thanks for following my blog! I realize you’ve already answered many questions and probably are sick of the topic, but if you don’t mind I have two more questions.

    1) when you said The God Delusion was your Bible, did you mean you understood your atheism as a religion and that the God Delusion was literally your Bible for that religion or that it was an important book that influenced your ideas about how you thought about religion . . . or did you mean something else?

    2) When you spoke of yourself as an “intolerant” and “fundamentalist” atheist, did you mean all atheists who criticize religion are this way? Or that there is a sub-group within the larger population of atheists who criticize religion that fit this description and that some atheist criticism of religion is warranted and NOT every atheist who criticize religion is intolerant? Or did you mean something else?

    Sorry for bringing it up again.

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