I haven’t told many people about my gradual deconversion from Christianity to something (I am still uncertain if I can really give myself the title Atheist yet…). But I have been thinking a lot about why I am so reluctant to talk to people about my loss of faith in God.
I think it comes down to the following emotional reasons:
I am worried that they will reject me. I am worried that I will be thought less of. I am fairly sure that I would have to change my job (Christian charity worker here) and I am certain that I would lose friends as they gradually pulled back from me.
I think it also comes down to these philosophical reasons:
Morality is still too big a subject for me to ‘put to rest’ on pure chance and evolution. The historical evidence for the life, death & resurrection of Jesus can not just be dismissed out of hand. Worth, intrinsic worth, is something I can’t help but feel is real, and I need to unpack why I think that and what that means if proven or disproven to be the correct assumption, does it mean God?
Those people that I have told about my loss of faith seem to either assume it is just a phase and that I will pass through it before long, or that I am staring down a road that I can’t ever fully come back from.
At this stage, five people know that I am losing my faith… yes, only five.
One of the five fears that I am no longer the man they once knew.
One of them believes it is a phase and that I will at some point come through the other side and can rejoin church leadership.
Two are atheist’s and have said they are happy to just chat and don’t mind where I end up in regards to a belief system. (yes – even back in the Christian camp)
And one, as I started to open up to them in person about where I am at, was very surprised to start with and then told me a few days later that their faith isn’t everything that they pretend it to be and that they want to chat more. Which I think is really helpful for me, as well as honest and good for them!
That is five – five people know me (as a Christian) and have been/are being part of my journey out of that faith and into a new landscape.
I have told a few more people that I struggle with doubt, all of whom are Christian. The main response that I have been given is to ‘just stop engaging with anything none biblical or Christian’.
Now, I read a lot of books and listen to a lot of podcasts. I live to learn, grow and challenge myself – so to switch myself off from anything that would challenge my presumptions and beliefs just feels wrong.
I understand that they might be worried I am becoming indoctrinated by another ideology (atheism) and therefore that I am going to focus solely on that and allow nothing else to seep in.
The truth is though, most of the podcasts I listen to have Christians on them. I read a good chunk of Christian apologetics books, as well at atheist. This might be a shock, but I still pray to God every now and then, asking Him to show me He is there. Yes it does feel like I am praying to nothing and I do feel like a massive hypocrite, and yep – I am still waiting on a response.
I keep saying this to people. If God is real and if God wants me to be a follower of His, then He will make Himself known to me and lead me back into a relationship with Him.
I need to be putting myself in the way of God to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say ‘I tried’, whatever happens in the end.
I was at a worship meeting a few days ago, and I noticed the little things that people attribute to God all of the time without any proof or realisation about what they are saying. Christians really do think that if someone prays (for example) to get a job and then gets a job, that God answered their prayers. But if they don’t get a job, then God is testing them or working in them to do something within their lives, for His glory.
But what do you base this on? Scripture and hopeful words. There is no proof that God did or did not allow something to happen in regards to this job you got or wanted. Just like atheist Joe Blogs in the world, applying for a job, it could be very quick to find work, but it could also take a long time… that is just the job market… right?!?
To switch off from logical thinking and seeking ACTUAL evidence for the existence of God, or the disproof of God would be very unhelpful at this stage.
If I suddenly found that I couldn’t believe in morality without a divine moral giver (God), then I would still need proof that God really is stopping me from getting a job just because He wants to do some work in my heart first.
Just assuming or claiming something to be the case does not then make it the case. This fits into every category. For instance, health, finances, dreams, or work, whatever it is, inserting God and then claiming that God equals the result (whatever the result is) just proves that your interpretation is extremely shapable based on your belief system.
I need to search and seek. I need to be honest that right now I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God found within the pages of the Bible that we have today. I don’t actually believe in any divine being or supernatural event full stop. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep searching and seeking, because if something proves God does or does not exist (to my mind) then I need to be open to where the evidence leads.
If God is real, He knows what I need to come across in order to believe in Him. It isn’t actually a matter of just changing my mind or shutting myself off from the voices and only allowing myself to hope and then try and become indoctrinated in a God.
Belief in something that you want to be true only shows that you have unfounded hope in claims that you don’t really believe to be true. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you prove the truth claims that are at stake and actually believe it fully?
I fear that the problem is no one can prove it to be true, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to find that is the case for myself, rather than just being told so in a book or podcasts at the start of the journey…
_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 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 🙂