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Ex-Christian or Ex-Churchian?

There is a difference...

Many ex-Christians, de-converts, agnostics and atheists were once active members of the Church. Then they woke up from blind faith and began to examine the teachings of the Church from a rational point of view. Suddenly none of it made sense. There were just too many unanswered questions. They could no longer accept, they could no longer believe and they just had to leave.

Often leaving was a difficult process because it was not just a matter of a shattering of belief. It could also involved friends and family turning away, and the continuing question of "How could I have been such a fool as to believe all this for so long?" In addition to all this, however, there was for many another factor. They had loved the Church. Separation from something or someone whom we love is always a painful experience and it is one which can make us bitter.

As I walked my journey I long ago asked "What is it that has caused me to love the Church?" Gradually I came to realize that it was not the Church I had loved but Christ, and the teachings of Christianity which continue to lead me closer to Him. In spite of all the surface 'humbug' and imperfections of the Church something of Christianity has spoken to me, and it had sent me a message I can never totally turn away from.

Later I learned that waking up from blind faith to questioning is only a transition stage. It is a normal part of the spiritual journey which has been documented repeatedly in Christian history. It is also something that is not unique to Christianity. It is a stage on the journey which some have called the transition from Chruchianity to Christianity. Paul, in his epistles, uses a number of symbolic terms to indicate the differences between these two stages of our journey.

I would like to invite you, as you read this, to ask yourself whether you think that ex-Churchian might just be a more appropriate word to use instead of ex-Christian?

Of all the many questions that I have had, and which I see so many deconverts asking, Christianity has answered most of them for me, and continues to answer them. It has also been my experience that Churchianity cannot answer these questions. Finding the answers, however, is not as easy as simply picking up one book. It takes a little time. It is not simply gaining knowledge; it is about growing in spiritual awareness. Spiritual awareness is quite different from mental capacity or ability.

I was just wondering if those who ask these deconversion questions really want to know the answers. I was also wondering that, if they do, maybe it would be a good idea to ask Christianity to provide them rather than Churchianity.

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copyright: Janet Gentles, 2001


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