Faith Feels Like Lying

Yes, deities will let children starve just to give you this tax free.
Image foundhere.

I think it takes losing real, extended, and desperate belief in a supernatural deity to feel the way I do at times. Whenever I hear people brag about the little things their pocket deity does for them, I can’t help but notice how small they seem. Every time I receive an empty assurance coated in faith-based terms, I get reminded of how useless the time I spent believing really was. There are times when I feel like just offering a positive sentiment is too close to the nonsense I used to believe, and so I feel robbed of human decency.

It feels weird writing this, because I’m still not comfortable with it.

When I think about this stuff, I tell myself I sound too harsh and preachy. Writing about it is a bit of an ethical conundrum too; I don’t write to try to persuade people to change their faith. My process of losing my religion was not pretty, didn’t feel good, and hurt. It took shoving my face through the muck and excrement of what I believed until I could not help but look and pull through to the other side. Faith done in earnest will physically hurt to get rid of. Hell, it can cause pain to hold onto it.

Despite that, it still feels like lying. Reminders of it just bring me back to everything that didn’t come true. Reality isn’t governed by a supernatural friend. I will never get to see my loved ones again. Maybe it caused me to go through a second grieving process, this time with the full acceptance of what has to be instead of what people want me to think it will be.

The uselessness of it all stinks like rotting garbage left for a week in the summer heat. What’s the point of telling people to pray when it’s covered in excuses for why it doesn’t work? What’s the purpose behind having an all-powerful figure if it won’t save a kid struck by a stray bullet? What’s the platitude that doesn’t sound worse than a con artist’s sales pitch?

I came to a very terrifying realization the other day. I’d rather set myself on fire than go back. The wet noises of any attempt to sell me on the supernatural make my gut want to vacate its contents. There’s nothing honest for me in believing anything metaphysical. It all seems cut from the same cloth woven from human guts and misery.

I can’t stress enough how I don’t like feeling this way. I’m worried I’m giving other people reinforcement of their illusions, that they’ll read this and think something silly like I just need the right Jesus message or the right religious speech. Worse, they’ll think I’m angry at their invisible friend. If anything makes me angry, it’s at people who pretend they know me better than I do, who act as if the solution to one lie is to tell a dozen more.

The thing is, it wears me down in the most pointless of ways. I have to sit and pretend that being lied to is okay, that everyone has that right to lie through their teeth and get everyone else to smile and believe it too. It’s as if you pour enough sugary syrup on feces, eventually someone won’t even taste what they’re eating. I can’t help but imagine I wouldn’t even be like this if I’d just be allowed to fully decompress, walk away from everything faith-related, and actually heal the wound instead of letting others yank off the scab.

All of this masks any positive outlook I try to develop. I don’t live in a perpetual state of misery wrapped up in misanthropy. Sometimes a beautiful thought lands on my mind like a butterfly, but then it gets incinerated by an unholy flame. Right now there’s nothing I can do to help myself.

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22 thoughts on “Faith Feels Like Lying

  1. SC, your first paragraph, and several other points you made in your post, reflect my own thought processes. I’ve read enough research about the brain to understand that it evolved to delude itself, and humans get neurochemically rewarded when allowing it. Therefore, delusion is adaptive. I’ve even see this behavior in unbelievers when they’re trying to encourage others (with false hope) who are going through a difficult time. They’re well-meaning, and I know it’s a default mechanism.

    Prescribing placebos (sugar pills) works for many, and research shows that even when some people know they’re taking a placebo (labeled on the pill bottle), they can still get the same or nearly the same effect as real medicine. I’m not one of them in either scenario.

    Having realized that Christianity (a placebo) was a lie — made me placebo-effect proof in the hope department, and to my disadvantage sometimes. My BS meter is highly sensitive now. When I see people “witnessing” (epidemic in the South), they are no different than the doctors prescribing placebos (lying to their patients). It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I like the placebo analogy. The other day I heard an article on the radio about placebos, and it angered me because the person that took them basically bragged about lying to himself. Even being open and obvious about it didn’t make it better for me to handle.

      It took your comment here for me to make the connection. People keep trying to sell me the same car that won’t run, even after telling them it won’t run. But I’m even beyond witnessing getting under my skin. Any time someone tries telling me to have a blessed day, it’ll ruffle my feathers slightly.

      I know they mean well, and they can’t know what I’ve been through, but it’s aggravating in the extreme.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I do, though rural Madison County, Alabama is tempered slightly by the transplants from all over the country. It reminds me that the Bible Belt technically exists all over the country the further one gets outside of city limits. It’s probably an uphill battle no matter where I’d go.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I have often felt I was lying to myself with this faith/hope stuff. More importantly I feel faith creates a sense of entitlement among believers. Father and I left our (Miami, Fl) home of 60 years and moved to a new city 900 miles north(Greensboro, NC) . At our age it was a very fearful step as we would face many unknowns and challenging adjustments. Many fears were unfounded and things have worked out well this last 3 years. I am relieved and grateful and also angry and disappointed at myself for not having faith for Jesus says to follow him and he will be with us even to the end of the age. On the other hand it is easy to have faith when things are going well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello S.B., I wish you the best. I would say it seems you have developed a good sense to know what is a lie and why. I mean emotionally. If you find a way to not get upset , disgruntled, disgusted, or angry at being lied to please let me know. It has always upset me to be lied to. I have never seen any good come from a lie, and a lie never made me feel better after I realized it was a lie. Be well. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This makes so much sense to me. I find some comfort in realizing other people prefer the lie in a way I cannot. My desire to know the ugly truth and work through the consequences of it extends far beyond religion; and it is a specific personality trait which I know others do not possess.

    Some people walk around with full knowledge that what they believe is only what they want to believe, and feel no conflict in that. And there are many others who simply do not care. Most of my atheist friends in the real world fall into the latter category, and wonder why I bother thinking on it at all. They, too, are surrounded by useless insanity that we all pretend is normal…but they are never troubled by it the way I am troubled by it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think part of the troubles come from seeing the petty dangers of the faith that those who never believed ever saw. I’ve seen children punished for saying they don’t believe, and I’ve seen Christians adopt more radical thinking just because it felt right. These aren’t things that get talked about much when non-Christians talk to Christians, because the horror of it is just not fathomable to people that haven’t experienced it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Without wanting to sound overly gushing; brilliant post. In all seriousness, one of the best I have read on the feeling over deconversion and the utter disgusting crap that is religious indoctrination.~

    I came to a very terrifying realization the other day. I’d rather set myself on fire than go back.

    I will be stealing that line you can rest assured!

    Your patience with unklee over at Nate’s leaves me gobsmacked.
    His pithy, hand-waving responses and deliberate obfuscation on almost every damn point makes me want to slap him around his stupid disingenuous apologetic earhole.
    At some you have to realise you cannot reason with a person like this and accept he is an arse … and in truth a rather unpleasant person, no matter what Nate or some others may think

    Once you do this, then you can then re-evaluate his, and every other apologist’s antics and treat them with the contempt they deserve. And inwardly laugh.

    Liked by 3 people

    • unkleE is “unique” … no doubt about it. He simply can’t allow himself to be bested and responds again and again and again, each time merely twisting his words into a slightly different pattern, but essentially repeating his original thought/opinion over and over and over. Those that continue to deal with him have far more patience than me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Arch, bless him, reckoned ha had worked unklee out within the first couple of engagements.
        So many see through his machinations yet others consider he is genuine and sincere and he is like he is because of indoctrination – or acceptance of delusion.
        With two almost polarized views I’ll keep my own council regarding a final verdict, but I have no respect for his views, none whatsoever.
        You former Christians have … been there, done that …. you’ll know better than me his game, and whether he is sincere.

        Liked by 3 people

    • There are other reasons to have conversations rather than trying to get a point across to one person. Sometimes they’re a benefit to everyone else reading it. Even people who might not be commenting will read an exchange and understand what I’m trying to say.

      For moderate Christians, this is actually a more effective form of communication. They’re not in the conversation themselves, so they don’t feel the pressure of having to defend their views. Instead, they can take a look at what an atheist says with more of an open mind.

      Thus, while UnkleE might not have gotten much benefit from the conversation, other people like him would have.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I no longer see him as deluded, but rather, deceitful.

    I read that engagement recently. It reminded me of his ”little chat” with a chap called Bernard over the archaeological claims pertaining to Nazareth in which he saw his arse … but eventually cut the bloke off stone cold rather giving an inch – and he was wrong …. dead wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello SB! It’s been some time since I’ve read blogs here at WP, as I’d hoped that walking away from deconversion/religious conversation for a significant period of time would allow me to heal and move on. I made good efforts but it really hasn’t helped. I’m happy to return here and see you still writing, using powerful words to say it like it is. I’m also sorry to hear you feel like you’re still drowning under the weight of the lies (as do I).

    The struggle is real…people say “bless you” to me all the time and it irritates the shit out of me. The religious music everyone plays wears me down, and the constant bombardment of religious bullshit from my family has never lessened. I have dreams every night that pertain to losing my faith…last night was an especially bad bout of nightmares. It’s been three years since deconversion and I have no idea when this is going to get better…I fear the answer will be never.

    Even though I’ve freed myself and have been out as an open atheist for three years, everyone around me still believes, so my reality hasn’t changed all that much. Like you, I would certainly rather set myself on fire than go back, but I’m trying to accept the people around me are never going to stop trying to bring me back (their god demands it). How we are to stand up under this kind of mental assault year after year and still retain our sanity, I’ve no idea.

    I hope you’re doing as well as can be expected in your situation (non-believer surrounded by religion) and finding some peacefulness in your day to day. This has been a long, bumpy road for sure. Again, I’m glad to return here and seeing your impressive writing continues.

    many hugs,
    violet

    Liked by 3 people

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