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.