What holds you to your belief system? I think a lot about anchors in every area of my life. For example, what anchors me to my job? For me, the following four things are the biggest providers of job satisfaction: Enjoyment, Progression, Learning & Finance.
If you take away one of these four anchors, I would find myself asking the question; ‘should I look for another job?’. I need these anchors to keep me engaged and active within my role, without them I would find my job role dull, lifeless and irrelevant.
The trouble with asking these sorts of questions in the different areas of your life is that eventually, you will get to your bigger belief systems. So, I asked – ‘What anchors me to my faith in Jesus as the saviour of the world?’.
Out came the answer: ‘Hope, Comfort, Calling and Purpose’. These are obviously my own personal anchors and we all have our own for every area of our lives.
If you have read my other blog posts you will by now realise that I no longer call myself a Christian, yet strangely I really want to believe. I miss the four anchors mentioned above. I want to hope that this life isn’t all for nothing, that there is a bright future for my children’s children’s children. I want comfort in the now, to be able to stand firm in who I was created to be. I want a calling to prepare for now and then step into tomorrow. I want this life to have a bigger purpose than it seems too, and I feel lost without it.
Now it seems fairly self-evident that these four anchors feed into each other. Hope in a Purpose, Comfort in a Hope, Calling in a Purpose and so on and on. When examined it is easy to see that my personal flavour of Christianity actually gave me self-fulfilling anchors that interlock and require each other to work effectively. They are positive and are in and of themselves are actually just ‘things’ that humanity longs for. They give our lives meaning and they give those around us meaning as well. With these anchors, we can teach our children how to live and we can use them to build community and family.
The problem is, these anchors are not real pieces of evidence that Jesus really is the saviour of the world.
It takes faith to believe that you are actually where you are in your mind right now, as you read these words. How do you know you are not creating the world you see around you? How do you know you are not actually in a 4 by 6-metre clear box being watched by people in lab coats as you live out your make-believe life, oblivious to their stares and notepad scrawling as they watch on? How do you know that when you use the toilet there is no one watching you? You don’t, because what you see around you isn’t provable. You have to take it on faith.
Now I don’t want to diverge too much, right now we simply have to take it as given that the fingertips I am using to type these words are really moving, creating words and sentences that will create this blog post and will be processed by your brain as your eyes read through the words. And I need you to believe that you are not actually making up this blog post yourself as you read through it.
Why did I say all of that? Faith is an essential part of everyone’s life. We need faith to have any basic form of existence from day-to-day. But we can peel back the layers of the onion and see just how far things can go.
I do this with my consciousness all the time. None religious meditation is grounded in this. Feelings and thoughts are not themselves ‘real’ things, they are the images we put up from the projector of our consciousness. You can learn to recognise them for what they are, name them, and let them go. Realising the projector is all there really seems to be.
The only proofs that Jesus is real are emotional and mental anchors. There is nothing tangible that attests to the presence of Jesus here right now.
Hope, Comfort, Calling and Purpose are all things we want regardless of our belief in a deity or not. When you break it down step by step over months and years, you realise that all you really have is a longing for a reason for your existence.
You can see it on a Sunday morning, people connect with an image of hope because it indicates to something outside of themselves.
Stop for a moment and have a think about what your anchors are for believing in Jesus (if you do).
We need to be honest and forthright in our assertions that ‘Jesus is real’. What we actually mean is ‘Jesus is real to me’. So, what makes Him real to you? What are your anchors? Because no one has ever seen Him who is alive today, we all believe different doctrines and truth claims about Him, and we all seem to believe in a personal revelation that amounts to the ‘longing for a reason for our existence’ that I stated above.
For me today, as I write these words, is the desire for it to be real and the guilt at telling others it was true with such a conviction. I did believe it, but now I feel as though I lied to myself and lied to others.
Desire and Guilt are not anchors. What I have realised, as I fall from the faith I held, is that desire and guilt are in fact just the echoes. Echoes from the lips of a dying believer, and they seem to be rising from a pit with no end, rebounding upon the walls whilst I hear them in ebbs and flows as I fall without the security and foundations I once had.
It is going to take a lot of work to remove desire and guilt. It is hard, but no-one said life was ever meant to be easy. Did they?
_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 🙂