[personal profile] wingedbeast
On May 21, Shannon Low, of The Order of Elijah (a metalcore band that once self-identified as a Christian rock band), made a Facebook post explaining and declaring that he is no longer a Christian. He no longer believes that God exists. The post is a good read. It's long on the scale of Facebook Posts, but not on the scale of good narrative*.

That said, for our purposes, we'll pay attention to the Christian response. Admittedly, some of the Christian response was good, respecting him as a person and stopping at that. The rest, however... gives me material for more tips.

In his Facebook Post, Mr. Low points to the story of Elijah and the Two Bears as one of the issues that were a part of how he got to the point he was at the writing of that post. He also writes about how he did ask others and got unsatisfying responses to his moral issues with the story.

The most obviously predicted response based on that detail did happen. Christians, all quite certain that they had the answer, gave him their different answers. "The 42 youths weren't children but young men." "They were threatening Elijah."

I will speak about estimations of satisfaction in a future tip. For this tip, let's pretend that they would, indeed, satisfy Mr. Low on just the matter of Elijah and the Two Bears.

One thing to know about deconversion is that it's inevitably followed by other changes that happen at a quick pace. One of the very first things to happen is that your interest in maintaining a positive view of Christianity. Be it the ethics supported in the Bible, the nature of the relationship people claim that God wants, the actions of those subcultures you once most closely associated with Christianity, etc. You're not their defender anymore.

Metaphorically speaking, the magic writing was rubbed off the lamp and the djin is loose. I'd argue that it's not a malevolent djin, but it can't be undone by quickly replacing the ink. The magic it employs is differing perspectives.

Even if there were some perfect answer to the moral problems of Elijah and the Two Bears, other issues arise very soon. God commanding Abraham to kill Issac, the treatment of women in the Bible, the treatment of women by your own sect of the faith. Issues come out of the woodwork, especially when your faith is predominantly displayed.

Instead of trying to answer the one issue that they speak of for an example, listen to the new person that is there. This isn't entirely a new person, not entirely a stranger. They're the same person, but they've changed just a bit and that new person needs to be respected for who they are. They are the djin and it won't do you any good to try to shove them back into the bottle.

Then, with this new person, you can have the conversation. And, I hope it's a good one.

* https://www.facebook.com/theorderofelijah/posts/1040598199319463
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