I’m having a sick day today, and I just thought I would write a quick note about why I do this. Why do I write so much about a religion I left several years ago and so little about other things?
Well, the first thing to note is that this blog isn’t the only thing I write. I try to retain a measure of anonymity here so that this can be the platform where I can write whatever I want to put out there.
But why do I choose to put my thoughts on Christianity “out there”? If you leave you leave, right?
Well, sure. I left a religion and I no longer have any faith in a God or any belief in the supernatural. My mind has totally and utterly changed. But that, in itself, is something that left me with a lot of questions. Why did I believe this God stuff was real? Why did other people assure me that this was true, and why did I believe them? How could I have experienced the “presence” of someone who doesn’t exist – how could I have thought I loved this being? In retrospect, it should have been obvious that this wasn’t real – how did I miss those signs? How and why did I explain away the indications that not everything was as it seemed? How do I make sure I don’t fall for nonsense again and how do I help others avoid it? When a Mormon or JW knocks on the door how do I explain my stance to them?
Added to these questions, there is often a strong emotional component to leaving one’s faith. You lose an awful lot: the foundations of your worldview. A community that you were part of. A certain identity. Your assuredness that there’s a benevolent force at the heart of everything and that one day, things will come up right and there will be a final justice. Looking back, I can see that losing my faith was something akin to a bereavement. I experienced grief and heartache – made all the more difficult because no one else knew that I had been bereaved. No one else knew that anything had died; I’d merely changed my beliefs and stopped attending a church on Sunday, which doesn’t sound quite as drastic and devastating as “She’s lost everything she believed in and a community she was deeply invested in”, but the latter description is how I experienced it. I had no one to talk to about it because no one was going through the same thing as me and no one could quite understand; if they were Christians they wouldn’t understand how I could possibly turn my back on God (as they saw it); if they weren’t, they didn’t have the faintest clue what I was going through.
So I write because this is something that really mattered to me, and I’ve pretty much kept my thoughts on it entirely to myself for a long time, and I want to express them. It’s that simple.
Also, you wouldn’t be getting the full picture if I didn’t add one other thing: I have always found religion interesting, and even as a kid was very curious about whether or not there was a god and what that god might be like. I think that’s a big part of who I am, and that’s why I enjoy writing here.
(Two useful organisations for people who have lost their faith: The Clergy Project helps members of the clergy who no longer believe but may need to stay closeted so they don’t lose their jobs. And the Freedom from Religion Foundation helps people with the transition out of religion.)