When I first started writing this blog, it was just my wife and me who knew that I had seen my faith begin to unravel. The panic, fear and depression were vast, and I really didn’t think I could ever find the nerve to tell those I call friends, and those I call family.
A lot has changed in the following months, to the point where anyone can know now, but that doesn’t mean everyone does now know.
I still haven’t spoken fully to my family, and I really don’t know how it is going to go when I do. When I tell people, I don’t believe they create their own narrative around what is going on in my life, to give them comfort and hope as I go through a deconversion without them. They tend to have a tiny bit of second-hand information from someone or have read a single post on this blog, and from that, they settled into a story.
I was talking to a close friend a couple of days ago, and they wanted to remind me how gracious God is for bringing me out of my current job and into my next job, how He has given me an incredible wife and two beautiful children.
I understand why they think these things are God. I used to think the same things. Sadly, attributing something to God doesn’t actually show that it is God. Say for example, that things go horribly wrong with my new job, or one of my children becomes really unwell, is this also the same gracious God? What if we were from another religious belief system? Take Islam for instance, would these things also just be attributed to Allah and taken as fact that He gave them to me. What makes the road that life has travelled down anything to do with a God?
It’s honestly really flipping hard. My decisions, which I don’t think I actually have any control over, either send me to heaven or they send me to hell.
I share this stuff not to shame or condemn anyone, but rather to honestly write about the reality of leaving a religious system I was born and raised into.
The fact that anyone can now know about my deconversion doesn’t mean that I am now starting all conversations with that news.
Sure, to some people it will completely change how they see me, how they love me, how they call me friend, son or mentor. With a bowed head I have to accept that for some my loss of faith will change everything about our relationship, yet for others, it will change nothing at all. I have no doubt my family love me, whatever position I find myself in right now in regard to faith.
I work out a fair bit, two guys from my church and I work out in a garage gym a couple of nights a week. It’s an epic time, to be honest, it’s real, rude and we get to be men. We lift weights and we encourage each other on. In the last six months, I have gone from a 40kg bench to a 90kg bench, I have also gone from never doing a deadlift in my life to being able to deadlift 80kg. Not bad for someone who had a slipped disk two and a half years ago.
These guys are amazing. All of our wives know each other, and they are all aware that I no longer believe in the very God that they all follow and worship. But they are still treating me as Sam. Because I haven’t changed. They have shown me how wrong I was when I held religious convictions. I would say, much to my shame today, that everything is dependent on God’s grace and outpouring. If someone rejects that then they reject Him and are walking on very questionable ground. Whereas these lads love me, they want to encourage me and don’t make my deconversion the main topic of conversation, unless it naturally comes up within the conversation. It’s so refreshing.
Why am I writing all this? I want to give you a taste of what it is like to inform people that you don’t have faith anymore. Because there is a spectrum of responses and attitudes towards this news. It shouldn’t be the centre of someone’s worth but for some it is and that is brutally hard to workaround. For others, they will love you no matter what because deconverting isn’t the most important facet of life in any way.
If you are yet to come out as a non-believer. My advice would simply to be wise with who you tell. Choose those that love you for you, choose those who don’t make all the conversations you have become about God, and share your experiences with the world. We need to chronicle this stuff for those yet to step forward, for those who are yet to even questions their answers and realise they also don’t believe in God.
We don’t have a choice in what we believe. We either do believe or we don’t. We have a choice in challenging our beliefs and we have a choice in researching and going deeper into apologetics and looking at both sides. But if you want a firm unmovable faith, then that’s probably the worst thing you can do. Best to play ignorance and just believe what you get told at church. For the others out there, I hope you find this blog is sparking fires within you to discover what you actually believe during your life, to know who you really are and why you are that way, it is one of the greatest adventures.
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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 nine to twelve 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 🙂
Farewell For Now – When Belief Dies
- Farewell For Now
- When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
- When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
- When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly