Origins Part I: A heretical context

Because every hero has an origins story.

I hesitate to explain too much about the context of my de-conversion because I am wary of causing the reaction, “Oh, Alice was just under a lot of stress. That explains it. She’ll come back to Jesus when her life is in a little more order.”

Well, I’ll be honest. I was under a lot of stress. I finished grad school, started job hunting, moved four hundred miles from home, family, and friends, lived in very diminished circumstances for a few months, moved to the desert, found out my sister was a selfish liar and has been taking advantage of me and my husband, had a relationship-ending blow-out with a dear friend, and my husband was in a major accident.

And I bought a house.

I got an excellent job, and we moved again. So far as I can tell, I have recovered from the worst effects of all these life changes. My husband quit his job (that he can’t really perform anyways, on account of the injury), and is going back to school and is very excited about his new career. Ends are meeting and I still have a few dollars to buy coffee once a week at a local coffee roaster. Things are going well.

I should explain my Christianity. I had moved away from the extreme fundamentalism that characterised my youth. I loved the Episcopal church because there was a woman preacher, and that open up some emotion in me that I had never felt before… the recognition of woman’s place in religion and religious authority. That was big, and it changed me from a girl who accepted everything on the authority of religious leaders to a woman who thought more critically about what she believed. I did not think that abortion was murder, though I still believe it is quite sad that women seem to have no other options. I did not think that being gay was the epitome of defiance against God and a challenge to family values. I did not think that Genesis was a science text.

So as time went by, I began to release these religiously installed opinions when I discovered I could not rationalise them any longer. Perhaps it was some kind of slippery slope.

But I never faltered on the ideas that God loved me and had sent his son, Jesus, to redeem me from a life of sin and rebellion against God so that I could be with Him in Heaven when I died. I prayed regularly, and though I continued to adjust some of the details of my beliefs, I believed that they were all in line with the scriptures — and believe me when I say I know the scriptures very well — and God’s will.

It was in that context that I began to explore Judaism as a way to understand the history of my faith.



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