Changing My Perspective On Faith

When I first started this blog up in 2014, I had just admitted that I had lost my faith. It terrified me in some ways, overjoyed me in others. Although the world hadn’t changed, my perspective did.

A bit of anger came with that loss of faith. I don’t think it’s possible to let go of something important without feeling at least a little angry. It’s the knowledge that I wasn’t going to get a return on my personal investment. It was the knowledge that everything I’d done to suffer for my belief was done in vain. Imagine putting one’s identity into something only to have that thing disappear or become worthless.

Almost six years later, I’m still recovering from that shock. In some ways I’ve made progress. Seeing religious places and symbols and things with loaded meaning don’t automatically panic me. Some writings can put me out of sorts, like seeing people minister to children. Mostly I can find temporary comfort in irreverent humor.

Over the years, as religion and I have found some distance, I realize I write about it less and less. Part of that is because I tend to relive past experiences when I write about it. I can’t just write about faith without remembering some awful experience. As a result, I’ve tended to avoid the subject when possible.

It’s not that helping people recover from their faith disinterests me. On the contrary, it still matters quite much. I still feel lost sometimes, without a secular support group that mirrors the kind of support churches used to provide. There weren’t many places I could go to where I could discuss my lack of faith openly and with candor. There wasn’t a physical place where I could unburden myself.

Nowadays, I’ve been more focused on what happens after faith. Maybe it’s an artifact of my indoctrination that I had to look at deconversion as an ending instead of a beginning. Fellow deconverts can relate to that, I think.

But deconversion doesn’t leave people in the same place afterwards. Some become agnostic. I became an atheist. The differences can sometimes drive the most sensible people to argument and vigorous use of the caps lock key. That, in turn, has made it difficult for me to write about as well.

The subject is still important to me. Not because I want to tell people they’re wrong or belittle them. Rather, because letting go of all religious leanings has been one of the few liberating things I’ve done for myself. It was a necessary thing, a first principle from which any healing had to arise.

Expressing this in a way that doesn’t condescend or conjure up bad memories isn’t easy for me. I want to try. If for no other reason, than to share my perspective so that others might benefit from it.

2 thoughts on “Changing My Perspective On Faith

  1. The aphorism “time heals all wounds” has some truth to it, primarily I think based upon the fading of memories. The more traumatic the memory, the longer they have to fade, but fade they will.

    As a teacher I taught my students about mnemonic devices, designed to create memories. I also challenged them to come up with “forgetting techniques” and offered them real money for such. I never got one offer and I wonder if such a thing is possible (I tend to think it is but haven’t had even a glimmer of such a thing).

    It is a standard SciFi trope of being able to edit one’s own memories, usually in combination with life extending treatments. Our memories weren’t designed with infinite capacity, nor anything close. Obviously we aren’t there yet, but were that possible, would you edit out those traumatic events … or are they part of what makes you … you?

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  2. Leaving Christianity was liberating for me too, but I have to admit I had a bit of anger inside too. Writing a blog helped with that, somewhat. I’m not so angry anymore, but that’s because I’m not exposed to the BS on an almost daily basis anymore. I still like to write about religion though, because I’d like to think that someone who’s unhappy with their religion might come across it and start thinking out of their usual box, like it had with me. As to whether or not this blog will actually achieve that, that’s a whole another matter. Regardless, I still like to write about things.

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