Featured on Why Evolution is True

Well, yesterday didn’t turn out as I expected.

I’ve been following Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True blog for a couple of years, so I know he likes to receive reader input on occasion. He had recently posted a link to a video on a child interacting with a gorilla at a zoo (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/so-human-in-aspect/) so I decided to send him this photo of me as a child interacting with a monkey in Zambia. Jerry responded very quickly and asked if I knew the species, I didn’t, but a quick search seemed to identify it as a Blue Monkey.

34 - Matthew with Bungy

I also gave Jerry a little detail about the circumstances of my family being in Zambia and why I was following his blog. Jerry immediately showed an interest in my story and asked for more detail. The result was a rapid brain dump of my experience of leaving my faith and a post on his blog (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/leaving-faith-behind-a-readers-story/).

I am touched that Jerry thought my story worth telling and I fear that I have not given the it justice. There is much to tell and it is impossible to make it succinct.

One thing that did become clear to me during my exchange with Jerry is that it has been far more emotional than I normally acknowledge. Not because of leaving the faith but because of the change in dynamics between those I love and call friends. It’s not that I am judged (at least I am not aware that I am) and it’s not that I am rejected (I’m not), it’s simply that on a basic level all my emotional interactions have changed and not always in an obvious way. Mostly it is in deeply subtle ways and it takes a long time to notice.

As I hint in my piece for Jerry, I waver constantly in my attitude towards Christianity and over the years this has taken its toll too. This is stuff I need to process to make sense of. I’ve made the intellectual journey, that was easy; the harder part is now sifting through the results and I’m clearly not done there yet.

That said; I’d like to thank Jerry for his interest and his kind offer to tell my story, it is appreciated. I’d also like to thank those who have come here from Jerry’s blog, the spike in visits has eclipsed my previous best day by a significant factor. I predicted 100x but I think it’s actually more like 50x. I have also gained some new subscribers, so thank you to you too.

I am now off to read the comments on Jerry’s post, I suspect I’m in for some serious limey loving.

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11 thoughts on “Featured on Why Evolution is True

  1. I am touched that Jerry thought my story worth telling and I fear that I have not given the it justice. There is much to tell and it is impossible to make it succinct.

    Those of us who have been following your blog have a more complete picture. But I would say that what you wrote for Jerry’s blog came out pretty well. And there’s the link back to here for those who want to know more.

    One thing that did become clear to me during my exchange with Jerry is that it has been far more emotional than I normally acknowledge.

    I’m inclined to say that this has been obvious to me from reading your blog. Compare your story with that of Marcus (“The Bittersweet End” blog). Marcus found it difficult to separate from his Church connections, and still has some connections for the sake of family. But you are far more connected to church life than Marcus is. And that’s what illustrates the extent of those emotional ties. Note that I am not suggesting that you change anything. I’m just mentioning what has seemed obvious to this reader.

  2. I’m a tad surprised at the appearance of my previous comment. I’m pretty sure that I used “blockquote” tags, but the effect is not showing. The first and third paragraphs are supposed to be quotes from the main post. The second and fourth are my comments on those quotes.

  3. I read the post on WEIT and thanks for allowing him to share your conversation with those who follow his site [he doesn’t like it when you call it blog :-P]

  4. Reading you I cant help but think of Fat Charley in Anasazi boys by Niel Gaiman. I think of the “Stridency problem” in the last bit of your letter to Dr. Coyne – atheist stridency of Sam Harris and Dawkins and Hitchens is not for the Faithful but for the faithful. I know that it is off putting for us who are raised deep in religion but I think as you go on the more you listen you feel supported by it.

    I suggest looking for the Hitchens vs William Dembski debate. Try to listen to the whole thing either driving or walking – in it imagine that Hitchens is talking to you as a child in that audience, that his stridency is to protect you as a child; because, honestly, we have had something taken from us as children by our well meaning parents and teachers something dear that we cannot get back, and healing from that so that we are not bitter and angry ourselves is painful but “making a new memory” or just imagining a rescuer is helpful.

    That, – the stridency is for us – and realizing that we were hurt, that our self assurance and self reliance were replaced with lies and denial and fear, all this puts the stridency in a new light. To walk in love and hope towards a new dignity is difficult and you cannot do it alone, brother.

    I really suggest that you do listen to that debate try to open your inner child.. I know it is bs but open your self to hitchens voice esp in the beginning when he is trying to be gentle and didactic . Imagine yourself sitting next to a little boy you.. while you listen what would you say to him to clarify – how would you comfort him when he realizes the truth Imagine the loneliness and fear but you are there to comfort him. It is in something like that that we realize that we are not alone – counter-intoutitive as it is you will feel the love and understanding of your parents as well – as adults we can process things better. and heck if they brought in Hitchens they cant be all bad… It may feel like woo and maybe it is but I think it worked for me. I feel more connected and empathetic towards my fellow recovering child victims of creationism

  5. As a follower on Jerry’s blog WEIT I was saw your story and was curious to whether you have examined any of the science & faith material by Reasons To Believe (reasons.org)? An old earth creationist organization that extols the virtues of good science and the concordance of Biblical revelation with nature. I see many in the church like you who cannot (with good reason) reconcile young earth/anti-science with their faith. RTB has been trying to change that mindset.

    • Hi Derek,

      Thank you for the comment.

      I know of the reasons website and have looked at it, but I have not spent any significant time exploring all the items on it.

      When I realised how wrong creationism is, I did try to reconcile with an old earth and evolution but that means reinterpreting enough of the events of the bible that it actually became harder to believe in god. At its simplest, it became no Adam and Eve means no original sin and no need for Jesus. When faced with that I found myself unable to believe any more. It also makes the question of squaring evolution with the bible a bit mute because its no longer relevant.

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