Evangelical Christians are fantastic at linking good things to horrific things.
For example, evolution in itself is not evil, any more than gravity. It just is. However, evolution is linked to atheism and that, called ‘godlessness’, is by their definition evil. Now, there is a good reason why evolution is linked this way. Once a person accepts evolution, it is impossible to pretend that they believe that one very narrow and cherry-picking interpretation of half of the Genesis story is literal.
There wouldn’t be a problem with that if Paul hadn’t tried to rationalize Jesus’ death by using the Genesis concept of original sin. Without that Jesus’ death becomes sad instead of noble and that form of Christianity is made ridiculous.
Perhaps worse, depending on what flavour of fundy a Christian favours is the triple threat of feminism, homosexuality and ‘godlessness’. Feminism is attacked vehemently in books, sermons, and devotionals. The reasons I was given for this was that feminism lead to horrible things like homosexuality and atheism. I used to believe this. This fear was the reason why I did not take a women’s studies course for a full decade I could no longer put off the program requirement.
Before that, I was sure that I could find a way to raise Christian women’s status from inferior to equal in reality instead of with platitudes. I had faith that God would show a way for women to be preachers and leaders without opening the doors for homosexuals to do the same. I was wrong and the evangelicals were right. When all people are viewed as equally human regardless of gender, the reasons for discriminating against them because of their sexual orientation disappear.
I know several devout Christians who have no problem with women and homosexuals (read: non-cis-male) having full participation and respect. They haven’t deconverted. The reason this particular issue leads to atheism is when people try and reconcile the sexism and homophobia in the bible with their morals. If they don’t think the bible is a moral authority, they are fine. If they do, they are forced to choose between their real morality and their concept of the bible.
So many fundies see people learning about evolution and becoming liberal Christians or atheists. They see people becoming feminists and then accepting homosexuality and then becoming liberal Christians or atheist. The fundies see fighting against evolution and feminism as a fight for their very survival. And in a way, they are right.
If I come out as someone who accepts evolution, is feminist, bisexual and atheist I have just confirmed their worst nightmares. I will have proved their slippery slope fears are justified. The only reason I began to read Francis Collins and John Spong in the first place was because they were Christians. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to read the same things written by a nonbeliever.
I sincerely hate fundamentalist Christianity (not liberal Christianity) because it hurts not only the people who are trapped in it, but it hinders science and encourages discrimination against vulnerable groups. But it is a strong community and a strong identity. I find myself at odds with an entire group’s identity since they have decided to demand homophobia, sexism, and disregard for science as integral to their existence.
I don’t want to be a threat. I’d rather be a bridge, but, a triple threat I am anyways. I left my community but I had already found one that was more accepting first. I’m realizing that it isn’t just issues I am trying to change but community. Damn. It was easier when I thought I just had to educate people.