Time has a way of making the acceptance of “Reality” much easier.
During one of the last conversations I had with my late Grandmother, she asked me a loaded question with an easy answer.
“Are you abandoning your faith?”
To which I promptly responded;
“My faith has abandoned me.”
My Grandmother was a deeply religious person who was brought up in rural Prince Edward Island. As much as she did not understand why I started to question, she certainly accepted it as part of who I was becoming. She never held any of it against me right up to her passing. It was something I still take great comfort in.
At the time of that last conversation I may not have been aware of what my response meant. It was a time when I started to ask so many more questions about the painfully obvious absurdities of all religion, including Christianity. The concept of an over-seer who knows all, sees all and forbids you to live a life of absolute peace and pleasure unless you serve his name, sounds like absolute madness.
It seems a long time ago now that my own personal de-conversion away from Christianity began. After many years of questioning I finally felt enough courage to ask a few harder questions of others around me that maybe I was afraid to ask before. As a Christian, why was I so easily able to dismiss other seemingly absurd concepts of faith without taking a look at what I was supporting? Once I started to ask more questions, the answers that I would get just seemed to be non-existent without any fresh air of reality. When given answers they started to read like lines out of faraway fabled fiction novels.
As I began to read more about science and the lack of evidence for a God, the questions would get more detailed and dense. The supposed answers started to open my eyes and make me shake my head with disbelief. Having read the New Testament from cover to back, how was I not questioning so many things? How could I so easily dismiss so many quotes in both the New and Old Testament that promoted so many things harmful to society at large? I wanted to seriously enjoy freedom of thought and action and not be concerned about what some supposed invisible entity thinks. After all, I’m pretty sure I pose no threat to society. Why am I supposed to do all kinds of things in working towards an afterlife with no proof that it actually exists? Should I not be enjoying life now? How can churches that are scandal-ridden with criminal convictions involving sex crimes turn a blind eye to these acts and call themselves positively proven paths of faith?
These sample questions are really just a smattering of what myself and many others have asked. With a decline in church and religious enrollment over many parts of the world I am willing to bet these questions are being asked multiple times daily by multiple persons.
As the answers continued to get even more absurd or non-existent I decided it was time to dismiss God from my life once and for all.
So I fired “God” from being part of this life I am living.
To date it has been one of the most freeing things I ever did. Shortly after being able to admit that I could call myself an Atheist I began to feel an immediate release of anger that I held towards religion. When one leaves religion completely there can be a sense of betrayal felt. Some people feel that perhaps all of the time spent in church was a waste. For a period of time this was something I very much thought of constantly. With my Dad’s sudden passing I became more angry again at religion and took it out against a system of belief he cherished and served for decades. A supposedly loving and supportive God would have saved the life of a man who served him so faithfully.
I’ve come to the conclusion that church ultimately was not a waste of time. It has provided me with a detailed memory bank of certain things that stand out as to some of the reasons why I dismissed it all. To draw a job-related reference, I handed “God” and religion a pink slip for things like convincing people to ignore science and forcing recitations of horrendously spoken passages of words. These words when spoken by a crowd mimic the sounds of a chorus of bad radio announcers. These are absolutely ridiculous mantras which prove nothing and merely tell a story that has become hard to believe. involving waking the dead and having them magically float away. It is even harder to believe now that millions of people believe it to be true!
As mentioned, there is a phase of leaving religion that involves the immediate release of anger towards all religions including the one a person has just left. Part of that anger can be a result of alienation from friends and family who cannot accept your choice of free thought. Most people do not want their religion questioned. You can easily pull at least one news story a week from where people are mercilessly murdered because of religious differences. Families have been divided and torn apart because of religious indifference.
It does happen.
It is also true that religion seems to give many people a false sense of moral superiority over others. It is absolutely incredible to think that some people believe a conviction based on supposed morals should come first before the application of all administrative and protective laws. Funny thing is you would never see many of these same people declare that same sense of moral superiority in the context of violence. Using morals which may have come from religion as a false front of supposed fairness is undeniably a delusional framework for disaster.
In my first book “Planned UnParenthood Creating A Life Without Procreating”, I openly challenge the notion that many parents claim they supposedly teach children to think for themselves. Parents will say this then turn around and force their children to attend Sunday services in an act of subtle hypocrisy. Children who are truly taught to think for themselves should be told about what religion is and that they should do their own reading about it if they are interested. Parents who can truly teach right from wrong can surely educate their kids to be open-minded and to challenge common perceptions among different beliefs. As a kid if any of my Sunday school classmates challenged any concept of “God” they would have been for sure sentenced to some sort of religiously permissible reprimand.
I remember during one Sunday school class project there was a penny drive to raise funds for those affected by the famine in Ethiopia. Apparently by raising a whopping 8 dollars and 2 cents God was pleased with us and would help make sure this money would get to Ethiopia.
Years later I have realized there are a few things wrong with this classroom exercise.
1. It would have cost more than 8 dollars to transport these pennies to the famine-struck African nation;
2. If God was planning to help transport this money, did he own Federal Express or UPS? I would have asked for full disclosure of his financial interests here; and,
3. If God really did exist there would have been no famine in the first place and the nation would be able to flourish.
Religion has received a free ride for far too long. Many church goers are complaining about dropping attendances and unfairly blaming whatever they can on the decline. Reality is that many people are becoming freethinkers. God is getting dismissed by more people who ask the tough questions that need to be asked. Especially when they are getting no answers. Those people are beginning to gain confidence to ask questions of their faith. They are learning to see through much of the smoke and mirrors that religion creates.
Above all, more people are learning to trust and accept “Reality”.
Dann Alexander is a freelance writer based just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. His book “Planned UnParenthood Creating A Life Without Procreating” is available on Amazon and other online retailers worldwide.
http://amzn.to/PUJsmQ - Amazon U.S. Listing for Planned UnParenthood Creating A Life Without Procreating.
A recent collection of short fiction “Throwing Dice” is available through Amazon and Lulu Press.