We can realise how far we’ve come in a myriad of unexpected ways. For me it was playing a game of Mortal Kombat 11 years after breaking away from the “Born Again” branch of Christianity. At last I can select the character of Raiden without any feelings of discomfort.
This may seem a bit bizarre to most people and believe me I am not immune to the irony myself. Yet it serves to illustrate that I have made further progress in deprogramming myself after 7 years’ worth of Christian doctrine.
So what’s so wrong about Raiden that selecting him is such a sin? He is, shock horror, a thunder god! It seems so tame and inoffensive when I say it now, but my old church would have frowned upon anything outside of the Holy Trinity being depicted as a deity. I would feel guilty for even playing Mortal Kombat in the first place and worry about incurring the wrath of almighty God. Now however I can look at the situation in its proper context: if God really does exist, the decisions I make in a video game are probably the least of his concerns.
The further I distance myself from my former religion the more I can see the ridiculousness of the rules I had to obey. Some people would even correct me for calling it a religion rather than a faith, because religion would imply that we were governed by rules and regulations, so if you like it was a bit like imposing a rule banning me from saying that I was governed by rules.
But I do still love the four Gospels’ depiction of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, there’s parts of the Bible I am personally at odds with (especially the parts that I believe promote homophobia and the subjugation of women), but the tales of Christ stand apart from these in containing examples of positive ways to treat other people. Not that I believe everything in the Bible really happened. Yes I accept that the Jesus the Bible speaks of was based on a real person, but I consider those tales to be exaggerated to mythological proportions, just as they were with Robin Hood and Socrates. However that shouldn’t detract from its message, yes it’s a mythology but a beautiful and enchanting one.
As a Born-Again Christian I was initially very right-wing in my political outlook. My crisis of faith came when I started leaning to the left and found myself increasingly at odds with the predominantly right wing views prevalent in Christianity (there’s a bit more to it, but that’s a story for another time). Considering that Jesus is often adopted as the mascot of the political right (especially in America), it may be ironic (and possibly blasphemous) to some that I consider him to be a socialist icon. His attitudes to looking after the poor and needy seem to contrast greatly with the actions and policies of Republicans and Conservatives.
A non-believer I may be, but in my own way I still try to live my life by following the example of the Bible’s Christ because his message is a positive one, whether how he is portrayed is fictional or not. Sometimes I fail in living up to these standards, but that’s understandable, I am after all just a mere mortal and will never truly achieve my “flawless victory”.