A story in the journey.
I have spoken a lot about God, but that kinda figures right? Having said all I have, I am still fairly sure that I have not introduced you to the God I believed in. Thinking it through, it might be helpful for you to know what I experience and thus have lost – so that you can understand a little more where I am moving from and towards.
I have written briefly about my past, stressing that I had parents and family that taught me about a God who is an all loving being, who made me for a reason and purpose. I spent years praying to and trusting in this (in retrospect) comfort blanket. I needed God, because I thought I was created to be in union with Him, but I have since realised that what I needed was help during some really tough seasons as I entered into my teenage years and beyond.
I went to Soul Survivor (a UK Christian festival that takes place each year, it actually just stopped for good with the last one taking place July 2019) with my church and heard the heart warming positive messages from the front. I listened to the loud worship music with thousands of other young people raising their hands as we watched the cool worship leaders jumping around on the stage, and I thought ‘yes – I want this, this feels like home, finally I belong’.
I have had tons of these experiences. Christians convert when they give people community and include them in something positive and with a bigger purpose than they could hold by themselves. Planned emotional manipulation and practised circumstantial configurations hold a lot of sway in bringing people to a faith in Christ.
God for me in those days equaled positivity, purpose, belonging and reason. God cared about the pain and emotions that no one else could see and understand, I couldn’t even fully understand them, so at least He could and therefore I could trust Him with them.
I remember lying on my bed, listening to worship albums at night with the curtains wide open, exposing the night sky. I listened and I watched the stars. I wanted God to talk to me like He talked to the prophets of old. I felt warmth and hope, because someone had my future safely in their hands and I could trust and know that they would see me through whatever I faced.
The years rolled on and I got into girls and booze in a big way.
This went on for a while until I eventually met my wife. She decided to go out with me, knowing all the crap I had done to myself over the years. I realised she was a really honest and an amazing person. I decided to tell her about God, because I still believed in Him even though I didn’t follow Him. I wanted her to be saved from Hell and I wanted to marry her (I knew this really quickly) and have a joint purpose to our life together.
I told her the stories I had told myself. Of an all knowing and all loving Father who pursues those He has predestined to know Him. Like a lion chasing his prey, God chases us down…
She took hold of God because she wanted to go out with me, eventually it stopped being my faith that helped her along and it became her own personal faith. By this time she was starting at university and I had plans to go to Bible college, we went to our own churches in our different cities in the UK and met on as many Saturdays as we could manage whilst balancing uni workloads.
God loved us, He had given us each other and He would provide for our future.
Fast forward to a year ago… my impression of God was still of a positive being who loved and called His people to a life with Him. Hell wasn’t a place everyone went, Hell was a place where people chose to go if they decided they wanted nothing to do with God. As C.S. Lewis said, ‘The gates of hell are locked from the inside’.
I believed that God wanted (as in He really flipping sought) an intimate and deep relationship with all humans. I believed in the historical reliability of the Gospels. I believed in Sin. I believed that one day Jesus would return and restore our world. I believed that God cared about the world and the animals and the people. I believed that God could speak to me personally and that it was possible to be filled with Him through His Spirit. I believed that God had put a calling over my life. I believed that God walked with me through each and every moment. I believed that when friends and family died that they went to be with God. I believed that the Bible was infallible. I believed in God’s mission to restore fallen humans to their fullness as His image bearers. I believed that God had called me to know Him and to study His word. I believed that He would never let me go. I believed that He wouldn’t allow my mind to be led astray – because He is truth. I believed in an eternity to come of restored full living when He came back. I believed that pain would cease. I believed in miracles and prayed for them. I believed someone was watching me and judging my actions, thoughts and feelings. I believed in the gifts of the Spirit and that they could only come from God. I Believed I could talk in tongues. I believed that God existed.
There is more, enough to write for hours, but it has all come crashing down.
Imagine that my faith is a jigsaw puzzle that you might work on and complete on your kitchen table. Now imagine that you look and have found that the jigsaw pieces of the puzzle have been taken up by a hand that is not my own. You can’t find them and there are no other jigsaw pieces that fit into these gaps. All I have is questions, regrets, bemusement and confusion as I stare at the jigsaw puzzle and realise it will never be complete again. It was at this point in my deconstruction that I realised fully – there are questions that only faith provides an answer for, but that doesn’t mean those answers are correct.
The puzzle I held and that others profess within their faith based belief systems seem to be a construction designed by ourselves, built to provide answers to questions we can never hope to fully understand, let alone resolve.
That was my God.
‘Simply stated, the truth is true even if no one believes it, and untrue claims are still untrue even if everyone believes them.’ -Armin Navabi, ‘Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God‘. (pp. 43-44).
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share about my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better, and ask you reader to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly six to nine months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
If you want to connect with me, then you can get in touch via any of the social media links that can be found at the top of the page. If you want to get every post straight to your inbox then you can do that by either following directly via WordPress or with your email address, whichever you prefer – the links are to the right.
I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂