My parents taught me that I was God’s creation and that I was loved unconditionally by Him. They told me that the Bible was God’s Word and that it was perfect (something the Bible conveniently states about itself). They made it clear that all things good come from God, that Christianity was the source of all morality and that everything good in this world comes from it. I later learned that was all bullshit.
My parents never told me the full story.
In the first few years of my deconversion from Christianity – something that didn’t happen until my early thirties and took about six years – I had the feeling that I had been lied to. Lied to by my parents. Lied to by the church. Basically lied to by all of the people I trusted most.
Why hadn’t anyone told me about the full history of the Bible? Like how exaggerated orally transferred stories had made their way onto paper and were altered countless times. How this religion was historically used for political purposes to unite people under a single god and belief system. How Christianity is a fairly new religion, borrowing and stealing from the traditions of other mystical belief systems that came before it.
As far as I knew, Christianity had been around for a long time, everything else was a false religion, and that’s all I needed to know.
If you tell a lie, but don’t know it’s a lie, is it still a lie?
Coming to the realization that I was just another victim of generational ignorance — not a vast conspiracy perpetrated by those I loved the most — greatly improved my feelings about being lied to. Without the intention of lying, I didn’t feel lied to. Instead, I felt misinformed by those who had also been misinformed.
My parents never got the full story. Their parents never got the full story. I realized nobody ever gets the full story.
I can’t haz Enlightenment
Obvious examples of misinformation include news sources like MSNBC, Fox News or the bat shit crazy Glenn Beck. Less obvious examples include any source I implicitly trust. In the same way I implicitly trusted my parents and the church, I must accept that whatever enlightenment I think I have now is ultimately still an illusion.
For example, Sam Harris’ general philosophies resonate with me today, but it’s doubtful he communicates the full story through his writings. He most certainly leaves out details that he thinks are insignificant to the arguments he’s making. He also has probably never been a true believer of any religion like I have, and therefore lacks the ability of knowing what it’s like to feel the presence of God.
Sam Harris is incapable of telling the full story, just as I am incapable of perceiving and comprehending it. It’s part of the human condition.
A Fullish Life
No matter how much I read and learn, I will most certainly die not knowing the full story. The best I can do is to continue to seek out truth, as best as I can comprehend it.
If I can do anything with this knowledge of my chronic lack of knowing, it’s to be more patient with those I don’t agree with, and to try to be less of a dick.