Entering the Closet

comments 17
the Christian side

Passion for Christ was an understatement – my relationship with Him was everything.  Everything.  He was my motivation for life, for death.  For making healthy choices, for becoming the most solid, well-rounded, compassionate person I could be.  He was the Fire that refined me and the spring water that cooled me.  He was the Sunlight that grew me and the fragrant grass in which I rested.  He was my Shepherd, my Teacher, my Guide, my Rabbi.  He was my Friend, my Confidant, my Comfort.  He was my Counselor, my Father, my Authority.  He was my Power to release the captive in me and in others.  He was the Freedom to break any bondage.  He was the Joy that made me laugh, the unconditional Love that gave me Hope, the purpose for everything that was worth anything.  He was the cause of my tears when He moved within the deep places of me, evoking great life change that made me more whole.  And He was the hand that caught the tears caused by external, painful circumstances.  He was my contentment and my desire for more.  He was my paradox and my understanding.  He motivated my studying, my knowledge, my wisdom.  He taught me how to love, to be selfless, to serve.  Because He first loved me.

 

Personal relationship became the mantra for Christianity throughout my participation within it.  And that mantra realized itself within me as blatantly, boldly, and authentically as one may ever deem possible.  Jesus was Everything to me.  And my life was His greatest witness, or at least my greatest desire was to be so.

 

Tragedy alone can describe the end of such a love, of such a rich, vibrant relationship.  Breaking-up with God sounds so trivial; God dying sounds so Nietzsche; following the evidence sounds so academic; losing faith sounds so vague; and becoming atheist sounds so bitter.  While I can at least partially identify with each of those phrases, my tragedy was just…. Human.   Natural, freeing, but tragic.  It has taken me months to even associate the word “freedom” with my leaving Christianity (ouch), but somewhere within the depths of me I believe that all loss comes with some degree of freedom.  A child loses her favorite toy, she is now freed from it.  A wife loses her husband, she is now free from the marital relationship.  Freedom in no way negates the pains of those losses, and there are very many situations in which nobody would trade such a loss for the freedom from it.  Christianity was this for me.  I am still currently in this stage of loss, and I can honestly say that if I had any control over what I believed, I would so choose not to lose this. To lose Christianity is to lose myself, entirely.  My identity is within it.  I have to start from scratch in discovering who I am outside of God, but rather than feeling excited with such a fresh start, I feel completely overwhelmed and alone by it.  Who is there to walk with me through such a deep, deep creative process?  Nobody.  Just me.  And this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, that I am alone.

 

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

17 Comments

    • Many things. I’ll likely write about it within the next few days. In short, the reasons started out anthropological. I just couldn’t believe that God both loved everyone equally and yet only revealed himself in truth to some. There are a lot… A LOT of people that have lived that have never heard of Jesus. That seems very unfair, regardless of how one is able to justify what eternity looks like for that person (and I did, oh I did). Once I stopped believing, there were a lot more things that reinforced my lack of belief in god. A new look at the Bible and how much it is idolized within Christianity, science (oh my goodness science), thinking through evolution, the ridiculousness and judgmentalism religion causes…. I could talk forever about it.

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  1. You are not alone. Many of us have left and felt liberated. Letting go of faith takes time. Be gentle with yourself. Others may be threatened, but I encourage you to stay strong and press forward (you don’t have to call yourself an “atheist” but maybe a freethinker or just YOU). Be well. Good be with you.

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    • Your encouragement brings me joy 🙂 I love the idea of being gentle with oneself. I think it is so liberating and healing. I wouldn’t have said that before — it seemed too “self-indulgent” for my Christian ways and would always leave me feeling guilty. I’m glad I can be free from that now. “Good be with you” — beautiful. Thank you!

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  2. Believe it or not, I was previously Catholic until my senior year of high school. I’m sure our situations vary in many ways, but I recognized many of the thoughts as previously synonymous with my own.

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      • The idea of Determinism while I was in psychology class was the driving force. Also, the overwhelming evidence for a naturalistic world view couldn’t be ignored.
        From that point, it was simply a matter of reading a lot of books with opposing arguments. Which I had previously not done (primarily because had I been seen doing so by my parents, it would not have lead to a calm discussion).

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        • Ahh, determinsm 🙂 what a mind-boggling but graceful philosophy to have. I started a blog yesterday I haven’t finished yet that deals with my views of belief and how silly it it — just realized it’s basically determinsm restated.

          Naturalism could sum up my change of faith too, though mine started from more of an anthropological view than strictly scientific.

          How did your family/friends take it? Were they very invested in Catholocism or was it a pretty easy transition?

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          • As someone who lives in the “Bible Belt,” my friends didn’t take it too well. My family had moved hours away around the time I made the transitions.

            So, I’m still waiting either on the correct time to tell them, or for them to stumble across this blog haha. My parents are split Catholic/Nondenominational, so I’m not positive on how they’d take it.. Guess I’ll wait and see!

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  3. Moving away from religion and into the unknown of self can be as difficult as looking into the eyes of that soul mate and saying “I love you, but I can’t be with you any more”. It really is like abandoning a relationship with someone you had accepted as a soul mate. I like the way you describe this relationship –

    “Personal relationship became the mantra for Christianity throughout my participation within it. And that mantra realized itself within me as blatantly, boldly, and authentically as one may ever deem possible.”

    It is a mantra, one that you must recite {loudly} everyday, quelling the doubts and the deep truths welling up inside you. It becomes the only way to validate why you are following in a faith, and you hope that it is true, despite the soft spoken internal debate.

    Until one day you experience an epiphany, brought on by watching someone else realise their freedom of thought and ownership of life, or by being asked a stray question “Why do you believe?”. And like you state in another post, “You can not un-know something”.

    I don’t think that you have never had an original thought, question or doubt, or that you are subject to that which is around you, or completely consumed by the ideas and thoughts of those you respect and admire. I can see in your writing that you have had a deep desire to be ‘real’, genuine and that you have a curious and therefore questioning mind… When you had your epiphany, those soft doubts that had been shouted down by a mantra not your own, became a raging tide; its waves crashing through you and clearing space for your own true self.

    Do not dismiss your journey, every adventure has obstacles, tragedy, joy in real and false friendships, bad choices, acts of bravery (even those motivated by the wrong things)… The young girl motivated to save others, the wife who would defend her husband’s heart with righteous indignation… or the woman who is learning that there is a life beyond eternal servitude. All of this came from somewhere inside you, that is still as real as it was then, it just has a more genuine and authentic reason to be there.

    I will re-echo Chris’ words ” You are not alone!” , there are others who will stand with her in the fire

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  4. I wanted to reply to your comment. Never have I been more happy and content than when I devoted my life to Christ. He has revealed himself to me in so many ways that I KNOW he exist and I tell others about him because of his sacrifice on the cross. He has given opportunity to all that accept him receive eternal life. You made a choice not to follow him anymore and that is your choice. I urge you to read my blog post on choices. I urge you to reconsider your choice but that is up to you. https://godlywitnesses.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/only-one-choice-to-make/

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    • I appreciate your witness. Thank you for expressing your concern. I disagree with you about choice, however. I think belief is something that we can’t control (check out my blog entitled “Santa Claus, unicorns, and Doodle Bears. Uncontrollable belief.”) I also disagree with how you have come to know something. (Check out my blog entitled “Discerning Truth”.) I don’t want to take you away from what you believe, simply trying to help you understand my perspective.

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  5. skirtonavent says

    You aren’t alone. And now I know I’m not either. I’m not sure exactly how I found your blog – I think it was through some Google stream of consciousnesses having to do with Gungor – but I’m so glad I did. I thought I was going crazy. I’m 50 years old. I was born under a pew. I’ve served in church my whole life. I’ve been a faithful Christian who has loved – LOVED! – God deeply and lived that love unabashedly. I adore Jesus. I’ve experienced the Holy Spirit. I’ve witnessed miracles. “Christian” is the foundation of my identity. People come to me – people who don’t go to church, who have questions, who have no where else to go – when they are hurting, when they want to reach out to God and don’t know how. One friend even said “You are my only connection to God, my only source of knowing he loves me, because I know you love me.” Nothing cataclysmic has happened in my life. I am happily married to a loving man, mother to a brilliant pre-teen girl, member of a strong, connected family system. I have friends, a great job, my health, my writing …..So how can I, in the past month, find myself utterly and totally doubting EVERYTHING I have based my living on? Truth is, I don’t WANT to lose it! I want to save it, to save myself, to keep my identity, my faith, my religion. I don’t want to watch the rock I’ve been standing on dissolve under my feet. How do I “un-know” all that I have known throughout the core of my being for half a century, all because I don’t “feel” anything? How do I go on??? I’ll keep reading your blog. And, for what it’s worth, when I can muster a prayer – without questioning who I am talking to and the very validity of prayer itself – I will pray for both of us. Even though I question my belief in it, it is what I know.

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    • Oh friend, my heart breaks for you!! I hear your heart and understand your struggle so well. It is mine as well. I’m so glad you found me, too, because this is a lonely journey and you need as much support as possible, as do I.
      “Unknowing” —- oh goodness, so hard, so impossible. I hear your not wanting to lose it. That is especially true right now in regards to how my family is taking this.
      I will follow your journey as well. Please reach out whenever you need a friend, as will I, and maybe we can form a friendship in the fire.

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  6. Would you please not post my previous comment? I didn’t realize my old WordPress ID was showing up. It’s fixed now, but the link on the post still pulls up my old ID. I’m sure you can understand why would prefer any part of my real name not appear. Thanks.

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