Recently I spoke with an old friend. He is a pastor and I am now an ex-christian. It was the first time we had spoken since I had made it clear on Facebook, that I doubted the Scriptures and no longer considered myself a Christian.
To be honest, I felt bad telling him that I had lost my faith. It seemed like I would be letting him down. After all, we had done some ministry stuff together. We had even helped sponsor some Christian concerts back in the day and I had been a guest on his college radio show that featured Christian rock. Telling him I no longer believed felt like I was betraying him.
But as we spoke, he genuinely listened and did not try and argue with me… in fact, he agreed with many of my textual criticisms. He also said it didn’t surprise him that I had lost my faith. This surprised me and I asked him why he said this about me. He replied, that given the abusive church situations I had witnessed, and my intimate dealings with the Christian Book and Music industry and the underbelly of much of it’s purveyors, he was surprised I hadn’t lost my faith years before this point.
I understood what he was saying, but I could honestly state that these things had not been the reason I had given up on faith. I told him that my lack of faith in the scriptures as the word of God, is what drove me away from faith. He listened and as we neared the end of our conversation, he did say that while he understood where I was at, he did not feel I was in a better place. Meaning that my loss of faith in God was a bad thing, and something that concerned him. He wished me well and we ended our conversation.
Some time has passed, and I have to report that since giving up hope in God or the Bible, I feel a lot better (thank you to Steve Taylor for this clever little phrase)… I know it sounds cheeky, but it really is true. I feel a lot better about life. I no longer have this wondering doubt if I am doing the right thing for God, a God that is silent and whose scriptures are flawed. Trying to figure out God’s will felt like trying to do a Rubiks Cube with both hands tied and my eyes glued shut. I no longer play this game.
I am also resolved that I will cease to exist after I die. Much in the way that I was unable to feel or experience life before I was born…I will eventually fall back to the earth and cease to experience life around me. I will remember no more, and eventually I will be remembered no more. It’s not a romantic picture, but I believe it is true, given the evidence all around me. And it motivates me to enjoy life, enjoy those who are dear to me, and appreciate the gift that every new day gives, while I still have the health and resources to enjoy it.
While I am still concerned for the poor, the downtrodden, the weak….I no longer waste time praying. If I can act or help, I do. If I am unable, I do not. I no longer feel the pressure to be some sort of ambassador for a country I’ve never been to, and can no longer even believe exists. It was always a heavy burden to believe another persons eternal choices were affected by me. Again, I model kindness and love when given the chance, but I do not feel obliged to be a doormat for those who are willing to exploit our better nature.
Just my two cents from someone on the other side of faith….