Had you told me two years ago that I would be sitting at this desk today reaching out to fellow homeschooling moms who have left their Christian faith, I would have told you that you're crazy. The mere thought of me ever leaving Christianity was unfathomable. Yet, here I am. How does a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian lose their faith? Not easily, but it can happen.
I was raised Southern Baptist. Although we weren't the type of family who sat doing Bible studies together around the kitchen table, if the church doors were open, we were usually there. I was baptized around the age of 7, being profoundly aware that I was a sinner who needed a savior. (Can a seven-year-old really need a savior?) Fast forward several decades and many Bible studies later. I now had a family of my own with two sweet girls that I was well on my way to indoctrinating, just as I had been. It really does pain me to say that.
Bible study was an every day part of our homeschool. In addition to this, we were active members of a local Christian homeschool group and participated in a Christian fine arts co-op. Furthermore, we were members of a Christian athletic group and had a local Christian school to umbrella under. These are just a few of the resources available to the Christian homeschool community. Of course, it never occurred to my narrow-minded self just how good the Christian homeschooling community has it. I was probably too busy thinking about things like Christian persecution. Obviously, I was in it to win it, and Christianity was my identity. My poor girls were along for the ride.
My life in a bubble came to a screeching halt when I noticed a new book on my Kindle. My husband and I share an account, so any book he purchases, I receive as well. You can imagine my utter dismay and shock to find Dan Barker's Godless on my tablet. Wait. What? How can this be? As you can imagine, many long conversations ensued. Most of them were not pleasant, especially for him. How could he possibly question his faith when God himself had brought us together? I mean, all you have to do is look at the beauty of the world around us and know that there has to be an intelligent designer! Not just any intelligent designer, mind you. It must be the God of the Bible. These were some of the profound arguments I was bringing to the table. My husband, on the other hand, had been quietly and thoughtfully questioning his faith for quite some time. I'm certainly not proud of the way I responded to his genuine inquiry for the truth. However, I do take solace in the fact that there is a psychological term for my behavior. It's called the "backfire effect", and I'll talk more about it in the next post.