Most of those who I talk to on a regular basis that have left fundamentalism have left Christianity behind altogether. Many of them, as well as many others, have respectfully asked me how, after everything I went through, I could still be a Christian. Although I didn’t admit it to anybody at the time, when I left fundamentalism I too almost left Christianity. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be real, it was more that I was terrified of saying out loud that I wasn’t sure I believed in God, which maybe should have been a good indication that I still did. However I feel like I can somewhat identify to some degree those who left Christianity when they left fundamentalism.
Leaving fundamentalism hurt. I lost a lot of people who I had thought were really good friends when it turned out they were only interested in me if they could mold me in their image, and get me to do the things that they wanted me to do. It took about six months of intense loneliness to process everything, to admit that I had been spiritually abused, and to finally realize that these people that claimed to know God maybe didn’t know him as well as I thought they had. I spent many lonely times praying, crying, yelling. I thank God for his mercy because there were times that I screamed profanities at him in prayer I was so frustrated, I have to say that I am so thankful for his forgiveness. There were times that I had told him I wasn’t sure if I could believe in him, but I was still scared to make the statement “I don’t believe in God”.
I came to find out that I did believe in God, I just didn’t believe in fundamentalism’s version of him. I decided that instead of letting others tell me who God was, I was going to ask God to show me who he was. And as I began to get to know some amazing spirit filled Christians, I also got to see who God is through them. I had let fundamentalism define God for me, I had let fundamentalism define me. These days I let God define himself and although I forget many times, deep down I know that my identity is in Christ.
When I first became disillusioned with fundamentalism, I didn’t like God at all. I found out later that was because I hardly knew him. All the things I thought I knew about him were lies that I had learned in fundamentalism, and I was judging God based on these lies. While I was angry with God and even dared to wonder if I could deny him and forget about being a Christian, I was unable to get over Jesus. Although I didn’t know Jesus much better than I knew God, I could not deny how he had changed my life. I really tried to give up on Jesus, but he didn’t give up on me. In the end, I am still a Christian, and it was Jesus who brought me back to God, his father, my father.