In Elaine pagels book “Why religion” she talks about when she was a teen a friend of hers who was Jewish, died in a car crash. She says her evangelical friends who with she was going to church said that her friend was in hell because he didn’t accept Jesus. She writes “those people belonged to a club where they felt spirtually superior to people who believed things other than they did. I felt numb, devastated and alone. I left the church and never came back.”
When I heard those lines (it’s audiobook so forgive any misquotes), it struck me how I feel the same way. When I first realized the church home I once loved kept God out by denying the faith outsides it’s walls and which viewed my own journey with suspicion, I knew it was over and there would never be a real coming back.
Of course it’s not that simple that all Christans think non-christains are hell bound. The Catholic Church has a very nuanced view and there are many good movements and thinkers within Catholicism and within Christanity as a whole that push back against exclusivity.
However, the apostolic traditon of orthodoxy is fundemently doctrinal and inevitably leads to exclusivity. So I find though I may still sit in the pew, I’ve already left and I’m not coming back.