that’s because fundamentalism has a small god

Testimonials at sites like show that people leave religion for a number of reasons, many of which religious leaders have very little control over.  Sometimes, for example, people take one too many science classes. Sometimes they find their faith shattered by the suffering in the world – either because of a devastating injury or loss in their own lives or because they experience the realities of another person’s pain in a new way. Sometimes a believer gets intrigued by archaeology or symbology or the study of religion itself. Sometimes a believer simply picks up a copy of the Bible or the Koran and discovers faith-shaking contradictions or immoralities there.

via 8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism | Tea Party and the Right | AlterNet.

the reasons are generally the same given else where and enumerated on this blog from time to time.

it is also the impetus of our forthcoming book, From Fear to Faith: Essays in Crisis and Transition.

There are better ways to deconvert than to become an atheist.

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15 Replies to “that’s because fundamentalism has a small god”

      1. I think that’s right, Joel. I think both fundamentalism and liberalism are uncomfortable with mystery though in different ways. The result is that they force God into acting or not acting as they see fit.

  1. Can’t help but wonder, what is the qualifier(s) that are used to determine whose god is “big” or “small.” Also, in this world of religious pluralism, does inclusivity only pertain to liberal theologies, or are conservative beliefs allowed as well.

    1. why, inclusiveness only means what we accept those who accept liberal theologies. 😉

      there is a difference between fundamentalism and conservative, I believe. When we limit God, that god becomes too small.

  2. I think it is ridiculous to blame the extra science class or interest in archaeology as a reason for becoming an atheist. Studying those things won’t make you an atheist. Only accepting God on predetermined conditions will lead you to become an atheist. Someone saying that he or she will believe as long as God and the Bible fit his or her criteria for what God and the Bible should be.

    1. Nate, that is the same thing, actually.

      Example: Someone really, truly, really believes in YEC. They take a science class that challenges them. They can’t over come their predetermined conditions.

  3. Joel, I understand your differentiation, Fund v Cons.
    I also understand your YEC illustration. This works on this case as the Bible is not a Science book, however in other cases if turns into a direct challenge I would cling tightly to the Bible even in the face of empirical Scientific “facts.”

      1. What about every miracle in Scripture. Science will say these are false, and therefore the Bible is bunk. Should I believe scientists who say man cannot come back from the dead or the Bible which says Christ, and others, did just that?

        1. What miracles?

          Can science answer for the resurrection? I guess, but can it decide one way or the other? No. I mean, Science has yet to determine the cause of life.

  4. I went to this site because I love these sites. I go to exmormon, exmuslim and I would go to exatheist but that doesn’t seem to exist. Many people at the first two sites examine their ‘holy books’ and find that they have been lied too. Some become atheist, some become agnostic and some become Christians. I am an exatheist who is coming closer and closer to Christianity. As I examined my own “holy books’ I discovered that I have been lied to as well. For many, it seems, Christianity is the last refuge. What stuck me about reading the testimonials from exchristian is how tragically damaged these people seem to be. They have been brutalized and shattered frequently by members of a church or their own pious families. I don’t think anyone can deny there is evil in the church. Anyone that looks can see it. And this evil drives these these people out and condemns them to a life without God. I know this long but the contrast was so stark between people leaving Mormonism or Islam and the people turning away from Christianity that I found it very disturbing.

  5. As one who is happily atheist ex-Christian, I can tell you that atheism is the best way to deconvert. I take joy in life, I still love, I still experience wonder and curiosity about the universe, and I don’t have to second-guess my reason and emotions against the “God” of a 2000 year old text.

  6. One major problem with some of these viewpoints that cause people to turn on their own faith, if faith ever they had, is that they refuse to embrace suffering as part of the Christian walk. Suffering will do one of two things: drive you closer to G-d, or drive you farther away from Him. You have to choose you response to the suffering. And G-d will make a way of escape when things become unbearable, but do you embrace the One on the other side of that way of escape? I have to. He has proven Himself time and again when I suffered. You are dead-on that many of these have a tiny G-d.

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