Change is healthy and necessary. To be able to change our minds about something when we’re presented with new information is a mark of maturity and wisdom. If we’re so set in our ways that we can never admit when we’re wrong, so stubborn that we refuse to acknowledge the possibility that we could be incorrect in some of our thinking, then we will never make progress and grow as a person. And we will certainly never change the world for the better.
Some people get upset when a member of their religion stops believing. They can’t understand why that person would make such a drastic change in their thinking. However, this is often a bit hypocritical, since those same people wouldn’t think twice about a major change of thinking if the other person was coming INTO their religion instead of LEAVING it. In other words, it’s only shocking for someone to change their mind if they are leaving a religion.
I have dealt with this personally many times. When I came out as an atheist, some people close to me couldn’t comprehend how I could change my mind so drastically. I’ve been told things like this after changing my mind about religion:
- “You must be deceived by the devil.”
- “Did you ever really believe at all?”
- “Were you faking being a Christian?”
- “If you can change your mind on this, what else will you change your mind on?”
- “How could you possibly change your mind about this after experiencing God like you did?”
- “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”
The general sense that I got was this: Changing your mind was a scary, negative thing. These people were terrified of change. They actually believed that this kind of change would open the door for me to become a horrible person, like opening the floodgates. What does it say about these kinds of religion, when even changing your mind is threatening to them? Free thought is demonized, critical thinking is twisted to mean “relate everything back to your religion”.
The meme below certainly doesn’t speak for all atheists or all fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians, but it does reflect the general difference between the two. As I’ve stated before, the Christians I refer to in my blogs are generally of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist or similar persuasion because those are the groups that tend to be the most harmful and oppressive in their thinking. I love the fact that many Christian groups today don’t fit these descriptions, and that even in those groups there are those who are breaking the mold. I wish the term Christian were not so widespread because it makes it complicated differentiating between them sometimes.