Life After Faith: Sunken Costs

Photo courtesy of Stockvault.

Since I’ve got a Recovering From Religion support group meeting today, I decided that I’d write a little more about my thoughts on life after Christianity. Right now I want to talk about all the unhealthy anger I held onto after learning my religion wasn’t real. It still bubbles to the surface from time to time.

I think it’s normal to feel robbed.
I’d invested my entire life to about five years ago into my faith – a total of about three decades. Many people have invested much more into their religions, burning treasure and time on the altar to Christ. Some people spent relationships good and bad purely out of love for Jesus; others have endured crimes and tragedies which profane the human condition.

Rejecting the faith is the final admission that a fraud has occurred. Nothing in the faith can heal that wound. Seeing other people sink their own selves into the mess doesn’t make things better. It feels like Christianity is this hungry monster with an insatiable appetite.

How I try to cope with it.
At these times, I remember my mantra that I don’t have to give my old faith anything more of myself. Whatever it has gotten from me in my past, my future doesn’t have to be controlled by it. Other people can make their own decisions. As for me, I will not feed the beast anything more.

There will be times when this is difficult. Living with people of faith, I see all sorts of examples of how a life can be spent in service to the imaginary. Those decisions are not mine to make, and so I don’t have to worry about whether other people sink costs into Christianity. At some point, I have to remind myself that I can only do that which is in my control.

I also remind myself that I should make investments in humanity rather than in a religious belief. Christianity has changed since its inception. If it exists over thousands more years, it will be foreign to any Christian today. Such is the nature of intellectual institutions. They change, sometimes better, and sometimes worse. I don’t want to add to human misery, and that governs my choices.

The bottom line is that you always can spend yourself how you see fit.
I like to think of life before and after Christianity as two different houses. The Christian one was built on a faulty foundation which leans in one corner and collapsed the structure. It was built without complete information, and I didn’t have adequate tools for the job. Sure, it was nice, but the whole thing is unlivable.

Now I get to build a new house, with the benefit of knowing some of the mistakes of the past. I might not be able to build everything all at once, but I can devote time to chipping away at the project. All I can do is resolve myself to not make the same mistakes again.