As I journey from certainty to openness in my faith walk, I often wonder how to help others who are locked into a rigid belief system that does not encourage them to question their assumptions. I am still working on a letter to others, in my head of course, to help myself and others to begin to question their own belief systems. However, in the meantime, below is a letter, “Dear Born-again Christian” by Marlene Winell, a psychologist and writer who counsels people who are leaving harmful religious systems. I think the letter is nicely done.
Winell’s letter points out how a rigid born-again belief system can seem to solve problems for people, such as give us comfort in our fear of death and loneliness and also give us absolutes for answering the big questions in life. She correctly suggests that the born-again belief system could create other problems system, such as cutting ourselves off from our fellow humans on the planet and sharing in the human journey and by causing us to miss the reality of our life here and now (the only life we can be sure of, I might add) by living one’s life for a future, hoped-for afterlife that may not materialize.
I think that anyone, such as a born-again christian or anyone else, who begins their journey for truth by accepting a system that proposes to provide all the answers for them, is unlikely to find the truth. However, once having accepted a system promising the “truth” to all questions, it can be hard and frightening to begin to question that belief system. I think Winell’s letter is a good attempt to help a person locked in a belief system to begin to consider opening their mind to questions and answers outside of that belief system.
Here is Marlene Winell’s letter. What do you think?