#Exvangelical/#ChristianAltFacts story time! Been sitting on this one a while.
CW: Mentions of rape, suicide, and abusive thinking
A lot of you guys who know me on here probably know that I deal with a lot of self-hate. It started with me getting really mad at myself as a kid. 1/
I went from a self-deprecating remark here and there to crying, yelling, hitting myself and thinking I deserved to die by the beginning of high school, and I saw my parents' reactions change too - from comforting, to dismissing, to my mom threatening physical punishment. 2/
A bit counterproductive of course, but it was enough to keep me quiet.
The funny thing is, the threats weren't bc of an emergency (I never really hurt myself or attempted suicide or anything), or bc I owed myself better. I actually didn't really get much of a reason. 3/
People at my church seemed perfectly in line with me. They were in awe of people like Paul and the Puritans when they waxed self-abusive and called themselves the least. They held them up as examples of how humble we should be - so humble, apparently, that we hate ourselves. 4/
It was only when I acted on it by getting mad at myself that I was being proud and calling God into question - and of course disobeying my parents.
I had to believe I was completely evil and deserved punishment, but I couldn't acknowledge it or be visibly upset about it. 5/
But something happened to me around that time. Someone reached into my toxic little corner of the world and showed me there was more to life than feeling worthless.
That person was Glenn Beck.
Yeah. This asshole made me LESS fundamentalist back in '08. 6/
Glenn Beck painted Obama and the left as fascists who wanted to take our freedom, and he did it so much that that's how I started to see the world - freedom vs. bondage, and I was on freedom's side.
Only the more I realized that, the less I found evangelicals next to me. 7/
I wanted the government out of marriage. I questioned Christianity and tried REALLY hard not to feel bad about it or be scared of going to Hell. I realized we had no business forcing other people to follow Biblical laws if they don't believe the Bible. 8/
Most of all, I realized all authority, even parental and governmental authority, is earned and has limits (God's authority too, but I wasn't quite there yet). Trust people if they're trustworthy, and don't believe them for any other reason. 9/
#Exvangelical #ChristianAltFacts
But the final straw came this year when I found @C_Stroop and #Exvangelical. Hearing everyone else's similar experiences to mine made me realize that the problem isn't a few evangelicals here and there who take it too far. The problem is the force behind the whole thing. 10/
There's one BIG double standard that makes evangelical Christianity what it is:
Everything that's good about you or that you do right is because of God, so the credit doesn't go to you - but everything bad about you or that you do wrong is all you. 11/
Now I have to be clear about something: I grew up Calvinist, so my church was really straightforward about believing this. We literally affirmed a doctrine called total depravity.
But it's not something you only find on the fringes. It's EVERYWHERE in one form or another. 12/
Wherever you hear people taking it for granted that people hate truth just because it's truth, or responding to questions of why God let something bad happen with "The real question is, how could He have waited so long" - that's the same as total depravity. 13/
Wherever people say we deserve an eternity in Hell - which literally means that no matter how bad something is, it's actually good if it happens to us bc we're so evil - they may not call it self-worthlessness, but that's what it is. 14/
#ChristianAltFacts #Exvangelical
And when people have no worth, they don't deserve respect. There's no such thing as believing people's experiences. You don't have to meet people's needs or give anyone the benefit of the doubt because they don't deserve it and they're too debased to think clearly anyway. 15/
When you have no worth, you have no rights - no bodily autonomy, no right to your own thoughts and emotions, no chance to gather information and decide for yourself what to believe and what to make out of your life.
So who do all your rights belong to? 16/
If you can't find your worth in being a person, you have to find it in your accomplishments - how much money and power you have, what role you play in society, how Christian and how conservative you are, how much you've been blessed by God, and things like that. 17/
If you have power over someone that you haven't earned, you're not infringing on their rights; you have that power for a reason. You were wise enough hard-working enough, and favored by God enough to get it while the world around you was drowning in sin. 18/
And powerful people who are blessed by God are what we're all expected to try to be like. The more you have, the more you can advance the cause of Christ. You don't have to prove yourself because you're clearly in the right already.
If you're great, you don't have to be good. 19/
The more I figured that out, the less Evangelical I became until I stopped identifying as one altogether. I stayed that way for a few months, not really knowing where I fit in. I'd set out to help reform the Evangelical church and I ended up leaving altogether. 20/
Plus I saw social justice as kind of the opposite side and I was losing faith in that at the same time. That's another story that I was just about to tell.
Then #Kavanaugh happened and I set it aside to deal with that.
And when it was over I realized something. 21/
That system where people with more power are seen as better and favored by God isn't just between men and women, white people and people of color, straight and gay people, cis and trans people, or Christians and everyone else. It's also between rapists and their victims. 22/
It lets you look at rape and decide there's something right about it. It tells you people with power have it for a reason, and people who don't deserve worse than what's happening to them anyway. 23/
Which takes me to yesterday, when I found this tweet and realized that the same mindset applies to shooters and their victims too. 24/
Guys, the people we're in a culture war against aren't the #Exvangelical "before" picture. They're not the ones who want to do good and just don't know what's going on.
The people we're against know all about the oppression and the injustice - they just don't mind it. 25/
If we #Exvangelicals are going to win any kind of culture war (and we need to), it's got to be this one: You, I, and everyone else is worth something because we're people.
That's not a platitude or a cliche. A hell of a lot of people don't believe it.
Thanks for reading.
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