Things have been fairly tough for me recently. I mean, I am writing this on my 31st birthday, at the end of my tether with my children and feeling down about the fact that I have to go to work tomorrow to a job that I am really not enjoying right now.
I know these are just feelings and those feelings come and go, but after a few hard days and a couple of bad night’s sleep, everything feels like it is here to stay, permanently.
I met up with an old friend at the start of last week, they didn’t know that I no longer believe in God and when I told them they were really shocked and concerned. They were at the old church that my wife and I attended, and they thought I was going to be an elder at the new church we moved to join by now. Whilst I was talking to them, I realised that I had started to want God to be real because I was having a bad week. I didn’t want to have to explain, yet again, why I don’t think there is enough evidence to prove there is a God, or why I started doubting, or what it means for my marriage now, or how I am going to raise my children now that I am living outside the Christian framework that I had been raised in myself.
One bad week and I want to fall back into unproven comfort to enable me to push through. It’s scarily powerful stuff. I found myself being more sympathetic to the Christian arguments on the various podcasts I listen to, I wanted to begin to read my C.S Lewis in a year again, spend time praying and in my spare time read some of the well-worn classics that have helped me through many a tough situation before.
I realised that I had started doubting my doubt, as it wasn’t helping me through the painful season that I am in right now, but that doesn’t mean my doubt isn’t justified or relevant. By the time people read this blog post, the podcast that David and I have been recording every couple of weeks should have started coming out. I honestly thought about texting him and asking him to not share my views on religion via a podcast, but rather keep them as personal recordings for us to listen to now and then.
I thought about deleting this blog and website, because I know I am entering a time of depression, and at the moment I just can’t deal with the regular requirements to write and engage each and every week. I have had depression before, and I know the signs when they stare at me in the face in every mirror.
You might have realised I didn’t text David and I didn’t delete this blog and when this goes live, I won’t be in the season that I am in right now. As most of you know the blogs are written nine to twelve months before they ‘go live’ and life has a habit of moving on, hopefully for me, it will move into a more positive season.
They also really exist, you can honestly feel like you have been filled with hope and can take comfort in an all-powerful God-knowing, loving and supporting you. These feelings are real, regardless of the reality of the claim they anchor themselves in. That is a strange thought.
Hope and comfort are things we all naturally seek as humans. We have sought them since the dawn of Homo Sapiens, we can see it littered throughout recorded human history and in the dust of our prehistory. We need it each and every day to pull us through and give us purpose and reason to keep moving forwards in the life we have the ability to live.
Things have been fairly tough for me recently and I know I can no longer claim stability in the invisible anchors for hope and comfort that I once clung to. I have said it before, but I think it bears repeating. Our time is finite, but that doesn’t mean we live as such. Our purpose is self-made, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t map our destiny. We find comfort in the little distractions we create and the bigger pictures we paint with our time and lifestyle choices. We find hope in the next generation, in the possibility that tomorrow will be better, as our today is better than it was for those in our place 100 years before.
Sure, it isn’t eternal, but it isn’t also anchored in the unprovable existence of a God who you think has called you by name. I know there will be days when I miss that ultimate comfort and hope that I was spoon-fed as a child, that I clung to for dear life when I was a teenager and that fell to ash when I began to really ask the harder questions as a man grown.
We all have bad days, but honestly reflecting on the reality that is causing the situations around us to unfold and seeing that ‘of course’ we miss the fledgeling hopes of our childhoods, is a helpful exercise in honestly taking stock of where one’s head is currently at. We should all question the choices and decisions we make, and we should do so all the time because one day we might have a reason to change our minds – but until then we need to remain sure that so far we have made the best of the evidence we have today.
Recently I have been doubting my doubt, but that’s ok. We all have a range of emotions, and hard days, as well as the good ones. It’s important, to be honest.
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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.
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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 twelve months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂