To respond

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We all do it without even realising it’s happening a lot of the time. We all desire to respond and make our voices heard. So, we speak up, comment, share, think and espouse our opinions all of the time. In what we watch, what we wear, what we eat, everything about us points to a deeper conviction of this world and the morality that underpins our perceptions of it.

One of the reasons for starting the podcast was to share the conversations that Dave and I had been having for a while. To share our story and to help the people in the middle of any specific camp with their questions. We wanted to show it was ok to not be sure and to honestly search and work things through. As mentioned, a few times on the show itself, we do not speak for or to a specific group of people, rather we want to talk to all people. The issue is though; people don’t like hearing things that either challenge what they believe or goes against what they believe.

People like comfortable echo chambers, I’ve noticed this on Instagram a lot. If I post something even remotely positive about Christianity, I get very few likes and often none, as well as that, I usually have a few hostile comments. But if I post something negative about Christianity then I have a lot of likes and a lot of comments, sometimes even getting the post shared.

People want to hear that which re-enforces the view and if it doesn’t, we either ignore it or respond negatively towards it. This really concerns me. How can we know the position we hold is correct if we are unwilling to talk to those in different positions and try to understand why they believe what they believe? I am not saying they aren’t right, rather I am saying that an honest conversation goes a whole lot further to helping us work through a personally held view than, say, only engaging or following that which re-enforces what we think is already true.

No matter who you are, you will be holding such views, and the idea is to hold as few incorrect views as it is possible to hold in the 21st century.

We can’t do that if we treat our deconversation as a new religion. If we sit behind ‘toxic religion’ and ‘me too’ (in the #exchristian world) we will only ever reinforce our viewpoints because we only listen to what we want to hear. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some situations where a break from all of this is important, and we might strive to seek comfort in online settings. This makes sense and is ok, but it doesn’t remain ok if we then get our meaning and sense of worth from continuing critical conversations just to hear that which we want to hear. We need to get past the grieving and healing stages, and into the exploration stage. To look at what fell apart for us, what others believe and where the differences are. Only then can we really and critically examine what we believed, doubted and therefore believe today.

I hope this makes some sense. I don’t mind people being critical of Christianity or God. I don’t mind groups that help each other work through their deconversation and provide support, such as the Clergy Project.

What I mind is people desiring as many ‘likes’ as is possible on an Instagram post from others who agree with what they are saying, because those ‘likes’ help an individual to feel like their point is valid and it is ok that they think the way they think. Getting ‘likes’ won’t prove that you’re right, all it will show is that audience you have to agree with you. This is fine, but to know what you and they believe to be correct, well for that you need to step forwards into critical thinking and exploration.

We all desire to respond, to share our views and place our marker in the ground. If you’ve read this blog for a while you will see that I have done this, and I am sure I will do it again. It isn’t a bad thing to do, but doing it to reinforce your own opinion for a sense of worth, well that isn’t helping anyone, least of all does it help you.

I hope this helps to show what making our voices heard can sometimes really be all about: a reminder to ourselves that we aren’t alone in this world with what we believe.

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As always, your support enables When Belief Dies to grow, so please consider hitting ‘support’ at the top of this page. You will also find links to the YouTube Channel, Podcast and social accounts up there. You can subscribe via email at the bottom of this post. This blog is roughly twelve to twenty-four months behind where I currently am in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
Sam

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