Most Christians don’t ask me why I left Christianity. I have been questioned as to what happened to me, told I am no longer worthy of association, and informed that many tears have been shed over my departure. But I’m not sure anybody (except for my children, of course) actually inquired about why I rejected Christianity.
I wrote a book about the reasons I am no longer a Christian. Actually, I have written four books on the subject: The Judaeo-Christian Myth, Yahweh on Trial, The Truth Is a Funny Thing, and the little storybook called Sam and Belle. (All of these books are on Amazon for anyone interested in finding out more.)
But there is something else I want to say because, while nobody seems to want to know why I no longer view the Bible as the inerrant word of a god, many want to tell me I’m offending them, I need to “get right with the Lord,” or they are praying for me. But these people never seem to stop to wonder whether they might be offensive, they might need to “get right,” or they might need thoughts and prayers–or at least a little guidance.
Dear Christian, may I be direct here: I don’t need or want prayer; I am fine as I am, and in fact have actually finally found that peace I always longed for; your thinking might be considered offensive too; and maybe you’re the one who needs to get right. The last two items I mentioned are what I want to speak about here.
When you tell me that I offend you by not accepting your beliefs and, further, that you fear for my soul, you’re saying that I am not worthy, I am less than you, I am wicked, I am bound for a “devil’s hell,” I am an outcast, I am unloved by your supposedly loving god, I deserve death, I don’t merit the same respect and camaraderie that you bestow upon those who believe as you do. Do you not realize how offensive these words might be to me, or to others who reject your thinking?
Furthermore, you are telling me that in order for you to see me as “good enough,” I have to follow your thought processes rather than my own. I must ignore my own brain and listen to yours instead, performing your rituals and obeying your rules. You’re saying you’re right and I’m wrong and that I must accept that or you won’t wholly accept me.
But what makes you the authority? Why do you feel I am a low-life that is beneath you or undeserving of your full companionship? It’s not because I am a murderer or a thief or an adulteress or even that I’m covetous or proud. No, it’s because I don’t happen to recognize the inspiration of the writings of ancient people as you do. That’s it. That’s why I am evil and dishonorable–and immoral.
The Sumerians produced religious documents. So did the Egyptians. The Hindus too. Also the Greeks and Romans. Why don’t you acknowledge their thoughts as divinely inspired? Are you malevolent or immoral because you don’t? Are you worthy of death?
Oh, I know, you’ll say, “But those documents aren’t from God. They’re just myths.” Well, who made you the judge of that? It is only your opinion that the ancient writings of the Jewish people are from a god. My opinion differs. And, yes, I have as much right to my opinion as you have to yours. I have as much right to reject Jewish manuscripts as you have to reject Hindu manuscripts.
And I don’t inform you that you’re trash just waiting for the incinerator because you reject Hindu writings, do I? I don’t shake my head and tell you I will pray for you. I will never whine that you offend me by your belief in or disbelief in the inspiration of any particular literature. I definitely won’t declare you to be lost or headed for any kind of horrible end. And I most certainly won’t treat you as if you’re not fit for my friendship, love, or association. And why is that? It’s because I know you have a right to think your own thoughts without any judgment from me and, especially, any loss of friendship.
What I will do for you is say, “Namaste.” I will recognize the divine spark in you just as I know it is in me. Call that spark God, Spirit, Consciousness, Universe, or whatever you want to call it; but it is in each and every one of us. And we are all connected by and through it. When I hurt you, I hurt myself. When I love you, I love myself. When I accept you, I accept myself.
And I do accept you, with all your thinking that I consider to be wrong. I am here, open to a full relationship with you. Come. Embrace me. Think what you will of my thought system. But be with me. Love me. Respect me. Grant me the right to follow my own path based on my intellect, rather than yours, without viewing me as less than you. I certainly confer upon you that right without pulling away from you.
Dear Christian, I beg of you, do to me as you want done to you. Namaste.
Tina Rae Collins
February 17, 2019