Faith, Philosophy

Religion and I

I’d honestly be lying if I said that writing this doesn’t SCARE me, I’m not entirely sure why though. The thing is if you’ve known me for a while you’ll understand how mad this all sounds coming from me. But at the end of the day, this is my truth. My faith was a big part of who I was and I never hid that, it wasn’t something I forced down anyone’s throats (well I hope not anyway lmao) and my newfound lack of faith isn’t something I’m going to hide either. This isn’t me trying to convince anyone of anything, other than to be open-minded, it’s sort of just a record of my evolution as a person.

Some background: I was Christian for a good 10 ish years, I wasn’t raised that way from birth but I didn’t start going to church till I was like 8 I think. To be honest church at that age was fun, when you’re a kid basically all your friends are from school (well mine were anyway) so having a separate social group from that felt cool.

I think I properly took my faith seriously when I was 14/15, that’s when I’d say that my identity was heavily influenced by Christ. I wasn’t the perfect Christian but I did try, I went to church, read my bible etc. Basically, the stuff that most would constitute makes a Christian a Christian. I really did believe that I believed in God. I know that’s a weird sort of thing to say, but I literally could not imagine life without God. Until now. Now, life without God is my reality.

Also, this isn’t some rash decision I’ve made, I didn’t just wake up one day and be like I AM NOW AN ATHEIST 😡  , I’ve been thinking about it for months. Even calling myself an atheist just feels aggressive, it’s like telling people you’re a vegan or a feminist. They’ll just assume that by you identifying yourself you’re trying to convince them to be like you. Like me saying that I am a feminist, isn’t actually saying that you ought to be one. Although you defo should, but you get my point.

 

I think it’s quickly worth mentioning that for anyone, theist or atheist, being open-minded doesn’t mean that everyone is supposed to end up reaching the same conclusion.

 

How did I come to the conclusion that I’m probably an atheist? (and by probably I mean definitely because I’m just scared to admit it for no rational reason)

Well I’ll start by saying that I’m not saying God absolutely most definitely without a doubt isn’t real, but at this point in my life, I’m more inclined to believe he doesn’t exist. I don’t know what it would take for me to believe in God if I’m being real. If the clouds parted and Jesus came down on a golden escalator from heaven I’d probably think I was going mad. My theory is that if God is real and he is omniscient then he would know what it would take for me to believe in him, and if he is omnipotent then he would know how to make that happen.

I don’t want this to turn into a philosophy/theology short course but there are just so many questions that I think are worth thinking about: If there’s a God then what religion is the right one? And I’m sorry but you people who say that they’re all the right ones are delusional because they all so obviously and fundamentally contradict one another. How can I know that God is real? What would prove his existence? What is the point of religion if you can just have faith? Who is God? Then there’s other stuff like the problem of evil.

I also read The God Delusion by Dawkins and although, from what I know of him as a person, I can’t say I like him but it’s actually a seriously good book. I would recommend it to literally anyone but I have to say it’s not for the fainthearted at all.

Anyway, in light of all of the above and months of contemplation that is how I arrived at atheism or some form of weak agnosticism.

 

How has my life been since I abandoned my faith?

The thing is, no matter what you believe you’ll always have doubts and I think I forgot that. When I was finally honest with myself about my beliefs anything that happened in my favour I was completely spooked by. My train could come as soon as I stepped foot on the platform and I’d be like omg God is that you hun??!!!! I know how utterly dumb this sounds but that is actually who I am. Little coincidences that happened in my life were subconsciously indicators that God existed and he was trying to get my attention. But then I thought, there’s definitely another 18-year-old girl out there somewhere who has never heard of the Christian God in which case anything good that happened to her would simply be good and anything bad would simply be bad. And I realised that I can and probably should be that girl.

Like sure, it would be nice to have an explanation for certain things like ‘why am I here?’ but for me, religion didn’t provide adequate answers. Religion provided explanations for some things, but it still didn’t have answers for things that mattered. I would rather not believe in a God and deal with moderate existential dread and wonder why I’m alive than believe in a God and a belief system that I don’t understand (almost) at all. It’s really forced me to find peace with not understanding certain things and although I could have gotten this peace as a Christian, it wasn’t the same because deep down I knew some things fundamentally didn’t make sense to me.

It’s also forced me to take a good look at myself and figure out what kind of person I want to be. As a Christian it’s pretty easy, the kind of person you want to be is a Christ-like person. The hard part is adhering to the ‘rules’. But when you don’t have that anymore you have to figure that out yourself and it’s hard especially when you’re aware of how inadequate you can be. Why should I listen to myself, knowing that I can really be a dummy? It made me trust myself and find a new sort of confidence.

One thing that I think is super specific to me is navigating guilt (or maybe not). I only realised this recently when I was talking to a good friend of mine that when I was Christian and I did something I wasn’t proud of I would always feel so guilty. And I didn’t feel guilty because I felt like God was looking over my shoulder, I understood that it was in Gods nature to be forgiving. But retrospectively I had always felt that I had let myself down, and I was insecure about that. I think I just thought that I felt guilty because I had let God down but I couldn’t feel bad that I let something I wasn’t sure existed down. I really didn’t want my faith to be based on insecurities that I had. I didn’t want to believe in God because I knew he would love me regardless of how I looked or acted. I don’t think I ever really felt validated by God, but I didn’t feel invalid either. I just wanted to believe in God because he existed and it made sense that he did. But it didn’t. And even if he did exist I wouldn’t know what kind of God that would be.

My friends are so amazing and supportive, regardless of their beliefs and I think that’s why it’s become a lot easier for me to be open about how I feel. No one has ever tried to convince me otherwise, although I’m not opposed to this, but I just appreciate that they have faith in me to know what I think is best for myself. Obviously, it’s sad that I’m not part of the Christian community anymore, but I guess I’m part of a new community.

I will say that I think it’s important to question your faith, and by question your faith I don’t mean asking yourself if God is real when something goes wrong in your life. I mean actually facing the difficult questions and addressing inconsistencies that exist in religious texts (and I don’t mean the dumb Old Testament vs. New Testament debate, I mean that there are quite bold inconsistencies within each of the testaments).

I think I’m only really scared to write this just in case I end up changing my mind but I’ve literally changed my mind so many times it wouldn’t be anything new and then at least I’d have another blog post to write. And like obviously if hell is real and I don’t change my mind then my soul is in trouble.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me understand myself better, provided comfort when I was a mess and those who never judged me for believing whatever I did. You all know who you are.
Just in case anyone still sees the Bible scriptures I have stuck on my wall I’m not taking them off because first of all, it’s an aesthetic and second of all the blu tac has literally ruined the wall and I don’t have anything to cover it up yet. Thank u.

I feel like this year is really just about like the year of just realising stuff and everyone around me, we’re all just realising things.

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