Long story short, I'm getting married, honeymooning, beginning my fifth semester of grad school, organizing apartment stuff, and much more, especially considering my gradual drift from the fold of conservative Christianity. It's been a long time coming... It's been quite a while since I distanced myself from the MC server, and I've pretty much kept the majority of my communications here to the Debates/Spiritual Matters boards mostly out of interest for discussions I don't get to have very often IRL (seeking out debates to keep myself engaged with something over summer vacation, and all that).
Some backstory: I started a fundamental shift in my beliefs when I had to teach "True Love Waits" garbage to a bunch of middle schoolers. "You know how every sin is forgivable? Well, so is premarital sex, but this one makes you a used piece of trash that people will find hard to love. Also, you've let everyone down! Your parents, your friends, your church, and GOD HIMSELF! So try not to screw up--or prepare for slut-shaming!"
I am still a little ashamed of myself for not just walking out of that situation. Since then, I've drifted more and more away from the church at large and more into what I hope is a calmer, more constructive and rational set of ideas. I'm still a Christian, mind you. It's just, I've looked back on the last 10 years of posting here, and I feel there is a distinct pattern of discussion on these boards recently (last 1-2 years). It's probably always gone on, but having (as you can probably tell) "switched sides" in most of the discussions, I can't help but notice it more. It's kind of a toxic, one-sided choir-preaching by certain members where a differing opinion can be met with quite unwelcoming reactions. Threads that come to mind are our previous discussions about abstinence (what a debacle that was) and, more recently, abortion. Yet another thread earlier in the summer or spring involved me questioning the cherrry-picking of verses without consideration of context, and I was later literally told by someone "well, I'd show you more verses but you already demonstrated that you have no regard for Scripture." Um, what? Because I don't follow some kind of New Criticism, anti-intellectual, superficial understanding of the text that dominates one's spiritual beliefs as a Christian? There was another thread where one of the resident atheists was rebuked for not understanding something because they weren't a Christian. I wanted to slap that guy. It's an opinion, dummy! I'm a Christian, and I identify more with the beliefs of the atheists/agnostics on this forum that most of the Christians. You know how much restraint it takes to not troll the crap out of some of those discussions?
Look, I respect everyone's beliefs. Honestly, I do. I might not act like it all the time, and that's a flaw in my character. However, I can't keep pushing through the mud and hoping that I find any reward in it. Do you know what I found most surprising about divorcing myself from conservative Christianity? I'm not mad at everything all the time. Life is good, man. I have the freedom to not get outraged at society all the time--heck, if an organization with the word "mothers" or "family" boycotts something, chances are I can probably ignore it. Maybe it's because I'm prone to periods of depression anyway, but I'm just a happier person. I've never felt quite so liberated from the obligation to rise up about stuff. That doesn't mean I don't take stands or feel strongly--quite the opposite. But I can look at scientific papers and read them for what they are instead of seeing key phrases and disregarding them as a stick-head-in-sand kind of willful ignorance ("This paper is clearly written with the left-leaning liberal atheist bias that evolution could even be possible! FOGETTABOUDIT"). It's funny, too, because people usually hear that and assume I either ignore God's call in my life or having prayed about it.
Trust me. I've done both. ...a lot.
Anyway, this was a long and winding rant that you might not have read and probably didn't go anywhere. Let me summarize:
tl;drI need a break from the forums because scheduling, also goodness I can't disagree without excessive eyebrow-raising. Also, some toxic behaviors in forum discussions.
I'll probably pop my head in every once and again, and I might make a bigger return eventually. Until then, auf wiedersehen. Despite my irritation, I still love you all terribly and I wish you the best in whatever you do. Grace and peace.
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