I sympathise. I too was duped by a manipulative Christian group run by - as I see it now - charlatans. But to be fair, in my naivete (I was a teenager when I was drawn in) it was my own, dumb choice. And the long period of disillusionment and then abandonment of that identity was (and still is) a massive learning experience that has helped shape me into the person I now am - hopefully for the better rather than worse. No, I'm definitely not grateful for the ride; I wonder what life would have been like if I hadn't "bought the ticket." These days though I prefer humour, reflection and a dash of reasoning, minus the polemic humbug... at least most of time, but I definitely know where people are coming from when they vent.
Where does that anger come from?
Interestingly, about 70% of the 'Nones' come from a Christian background.
Drescher looked at the attitudes of Nones who came from various places in the Christian spectrum: Catholics, Evangelicals and Mainliners.
Former Catholics felt hurt and wounded by their church. Dr Drescher comments, "What they often told me was that they left the Catholic Church not so much due to a theological shift, but because 'something happened to me. My identity was not affirmed and that was painful.'"
'For Mainline Protestants, the theme is neither hurt nor anger, but a sense of ennui. They got it. They get that they’re supposed to be good to people, share what they have, do good in the world... One young woman told me, “I learned everything I needed to know there, I get it. I don’t need this in order to be a good person or in order to make sense of everyday life.” I hear this when I interview parents as well: “Our children will learn good values. Check. They've learned this, we can move on.”'
And then there are the Evangelicals, a term that more closely approaches the experiences of many readers of this blog.
"For Evangelicals, the theme that emerges consistently is anger. Many have felt that conservative evangelical teaching in regards to science, Darwinism, and the environment set them up to look foolish. They feel they were tricked. Some reason brings them to a place where they get more information and understanding about the world, and they feel like they were duped by the teachings in their traditions. They didn't need to be, but they feel they were set up to look like idiots and it makes them really angry."
Can you identify?
Of course, if you were involved in the lunatic fringe of evangelicalism, the full-on world-denying fundamentalist version which some of us know only too well, your reaction could well be even stronger.
Which brings us back to the anger expressed here. What do you think?
(In case you missed the link above to an interview with Elizabeth Drescher, here it is again.)