I have had a few comments about my experience of moving out of faith that has essentially been, ‘So, what is the big deal?’. When this has happened online, it’s usually fine and I find it really helpful as a tool to remind myself that I am a minority, having spent years preparing for ministry and then being heavily involved in church leadership. But when it comes to face to face it knocks me back and reminds me that I really need to take stock of who I am talking to. It can feel like I have run into a bit of a brick wall at times.
The language I use makes sense to me, but that doesn’t mean that it makes sense to others. How they have come to their faith could have been completely different, and for many, they will never have come to hold faith in a deity. I was talking to a good friend a few months ago and she was asking me why losing my faith was such a big deal. I spent time explaining how I was raised, what I thought life was based on this and how losing my faith brings most of the major decisions of my life into flux, As well as how ‘teaching God’s people His word’ had been the focus of my existence.
They were fairly shocked, as they were raised as an atheist and found themselves gently entering Christianity. As they themselves have begun to realise they don’t believe it they have managed to hold the truths of Christianity lightly, but are fully aware that they can easily step back into atheism whenever they need. This sounds so alien to me, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t right for my friend.
The problem I have is that I don’t want to lightly believe some of the Christian doctrines. I want to believe what I was taught is the truth. The bigger problem is that if it isn’t true then: where I live, what I studied at University, what I have been focused on for the last 10 years of my life, has all been aimed at the wrong target.
Sure I can now have better conversations with Christians and unbelievers due to the training I have gone through. I also have a better understanding of Christianity being real or false based on the years of ministry experience that I now have under my belt.
Having to un-stick and dissect all the facets of my life is horrifically painful. I don’t think I will ever get to the end of it all, as my preconceptions and my basic worldview is tainted by years of belief. I am fully aware that the society we are in here in the UK in 2020 is also built upon a Christian heritage, which also affects how we live and what we take for granted. But the difference between attending a church as a child and leaving when you realise it isn’t true is very different from believing it is literally all true and dedicating a life towards it.
The house and town we now live in are all because of the choices we made based on the belief that God is real and that He has a calling for us here.
Am I making my deconversion too big a deal? Maybe, I can see why some would think that I am. For me faith has been all-encompassing and only in the last month or so have I have actually been able to see that there is a life outside of the faith I once held. I honestly thought the darkness was all-encompassing and that I would never make it out. I can see why so many give up trying and return to a similar belief they once held. On top of that, the more I journey away from my faith the more I realise that I don’t have clear answers, and I think that’s why people love religion. Religion provides answers and grants hope, losing one’s religious convictions separate answers from questions and hope is smuggled away in the darkness that I mention above.
I will cover this in another post, but just it has astonished me the number of people who have told me I have no basis for morality, reason, love or purpose because I don’t believe in their God.
But what hurts most is the clear evidence that the accuser clearly hasn’t investigated or tried to see how one can thrive without a God.
I think they are making a big deal about my deconversion. I think they might be scared and worried. What if the God they believe in really isn’t real? Everything will change. I am just trying to honestly express how it has affected my life, and also wanted to take stock and try to see if at any point I am making more out of something than I should be. I don’t think I am, though I can see why some might say I am.
When you ask, ‘So, what is the big deal?’, I feel like I have failed to communicate what has happened, what it means that it has happened and that I have also failed to open your eyes up to the reality that although a minority, there are plenty of people who have, will or are going through what I am going through.
If I have failed to explain it adequately then I am sorry. I do not know how else I could have tried. Forgive me.
_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.
Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen via YouTube. Dave and I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am.
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 🙂
When Belief Dies #78 – 'A Scholar in the Wilderness' with Dale C. Allison – When Belief Dies
- When Belief Dies #78 – 'A Scholar in the Wilderness' with Dale C. Allison
- When Belief Dies #77 – 'Carts, Horses & Certainty' with Roger Bretherton
- The Ehrman Episodes #1 – 'Christ & Christmas' with Bart D. Ehrman
- When Belief Dies #76 – 'Purpose & Pokémon' with Daniel Kelly
- When Belief Dies #75 – 'Handbooks, Atheism and Honesty' with Dr Joshua Bowen