The Vanity of Enlightenment

Life’s a journey, as the cliché goes. Some of us remain on the same pathway our entire lives, while others reach a fork in the road and change course. That was me.

The first fork I encountered led me down a trail from regular conservatism (Baptist) to ultra-conservatism (a legalistic, Vineyard-like denomination). In other words, from stoic to charismatic, with much stricter rules. After a couple of bewildering years in this church I extricated myself and returned sober to mainstream Christianity; only to realize that what I’d experienced in the cult was just evangelicalism on steroids. The problematic base doctrines were still the same: no women in leadership, complementarianism (the husband is the head of the family), “eternal conscious torment hell” for the unsaved, and the exclusion of LGBT Christians.

A couple of years of church-hopping followed and we unwittingly landed in a conservative denomination that allows (and affirms) the ordaining of women as pastors. Scandalous. 😉 This was a second fork in the road for me, challenging my beliefs regarding gender roles, and we’ve now been attending this church for more than a decade. You might call me a left-leaning conservative, or simply a moderate. Labels don’t leave much room for nuance. But all that aside, what I want to talk about specifically is something I’ve observed through these experiences:

Every denomination believes they are the only ones with the fullest truth, the fullest enlightenment.
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