10/15/2011 | Share this article:By Johann Kessler ~
Personally, I never thought I’d get this far.
I never believed that I would ever be writing these words, this somewhat public admission of my denial of faith. But I’m getting ahead of myself, there’s lots of explaining to do before you understand what exactly I mean.
I am a recent, and mostly hidden, ‘deconvert’ from Christianity. It’s a hidden undercurrent running through all strains of the Christian faith. All Christians experience doubt, but are afraid to admit it to their friends and family. Many others, including myself, experience doubt but then realize that our doubts are well placed and accept the reality that our belief is simply that: belief and nothing more. We’re just afraid of making it biblically known.
We may live in a country in which religious belief is constitutionally protected, but that doesn’t stop the social consequences of making our lack of faith known. But before you misunderstand, I’m not talking about some half-assed and nonexistent public discrimination. In the US, religion in the public space is restricted to shallow and inoffensive expressions of faith. Our public lives have only limited effect on our personal ones, and its in the personal life that one feels the painful consequences of deconversion, if you make it a public affair that is.
Especially for those of us who fall pretty far from our previous lives and those who come from fundamentalist families, its an unpleasant experience. The sense of betrayal, loss, confusion and whatever other emotion you can fit on that rollercoaster is overwhelming. Sometimes it’s easier to simply fool yourself that you actually believe, instead of facing up to the unfortunate personal truth. Sure, it may work for day, months, years, decades, maybe even a lifetime. Eventually, however, you end up at the same place as before, but with the realization of how much precious time and energy you’ve wasted on this low-returns investment (for something more worthwhile, I recommend Greek gov’t bonds).
Truth eventually comes out, it always does. There is no such thing as a successful lie, for the simple reason that you can’t fool yourself. You may for a time, but the human mind is remarkable in it’s ability for cold logical thought; despite the efforts of our emotions to control us.
There’s a particular quote that I find particularly applicable to every situation you can find yourself in: ‘all things are transitory’. Our religious faith is transitory, our lack of belief is transitory. Hell, our lives are transitory.
There is no sense mourning change, all we can do is enjoy the temporary.
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