“losing faith”

Hey hey look another post about religion. I should just give up on keeping this blog positive and upbeat. Anyhoo, moving on..

Below is a recent submission to Postsecret. There is usally at least one or two or five secrets about god each week.

postsecret: "my eating disorder disconnected me from god. i'm scared."

Postsecret

And every week I am annoyed by them. Not because religious people are submitting secrets to postsecret, but because of the insight into the whole christian mindset. This has nothing to do with the eating disorder referenced in the image. It has to do with this person’s supposed “loss of faith.” I’m not going to attack this person for submitting a deep and personal secret online, that would be mean. This is simply an example of a common christian style of  “losing god.”

What do I mean by a christian style of losing god? Well, it’s the whole notion of losing touch or losing faith. Mainly it’s the whole perception of a loss. If one day you come to the conclusion that there is no god then you are not “losing” a god. You are simply acknowledging that it/he/whatever never existed. How can you lose something that doesn’t exist? True atheists don’t lose god or have a falling out, they simply let go. It’s a very positive experience. It’s chosing to accept heaven on Earth, and living for today.

The person who wrote the above secret is not an atheist. I think that the individuals behind secrets like these illustrate how confining religion is. The person for whatever reason does not devote as much time to religious beliefs as they feel they should, and eventually feels guilty and scared for his or her soul. This is where I get annoyed. I worry that when christians read these kind of secrets that they are interpreting them as atheism. Atheism isn’t neglect, it’s acceptance.
 
I’m reminded of a time when, upon seeing my science fish car emblem, a couple gave me a little “peace with god” tract with a bunch of bible passages in it about trusting god. If I were simply somebody who fell out of touch with “the lord” this little token of concern would have touched my heart. Instead it was insulting. It’s as if the person giving this book to me thought that deep down, I must really know that there is a god and he is just waiting for me to pray to him and recognize him. No- I choose not to pray because praying is worthless and I might as well be talking to a bookshelf or a lamp.
 
A lot of christians it seems don’t understand that someone can be happy and whole without a religion so they attempt to swoop in and rescue people with life rafts like that silly little tract. The woman who gave me the tract (her husband is a preacher.. surprise) saw me as this lost soul thrashing around in a turbulent ocean of confusion and lonliness when it’s more like I am floating on my back in waist deep crystal blue waters on a warm sunny day watching the palm trees sway and clouds blow by. I don’t need rescuing. I’m happy. She should have handed me a dressed corona instead.
 
I think if more christians acknowledged atheism as a well thought out conclusion or decision instead of a deficiency then atheists like myself would get the respect we deserve. There is nothing wrong with not having a religion damnit, I don’t want or need your pity.
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5 responses

  1. I applaud you for speaking your mind with honesty and conviction. If Christians “thought for themselves” instead of being told what to think, there would be more intelligent exchanges of ideas.

    In my experience, they close their minds instantly and begin to judge, even though in a book they pound their fists upon says “Judge Not”.

  2. The reason people don’t understand how annoying it is to have someone interrupt your day with a tract is that nobody does it to them.

    I think we need atheism-proselytizing tracts along the lines of “You Don’t Need a God to Be Happy”. Give those to people with Jesus fish on their cars. One of two things will happen: they’ll be just as annoyed as we are with Christian tracts, or they’ll read the tract and be enlightened. That is if they don’t find a way to put you in jail.

  3. I always like hearing your thoughts. But when you rail against religion I think it says something about you as well. If you’re going to ask these people to understand you, then you have to understand them as well. Faith has almost nothing to do with coming to a “well thought out conclusion”. It’s the exact opposite of that. It’s believing that someone knows better than you. It’s about not feeling lost.

    Being an atheist means being okay with being a little lost sometimes. You want them to acknowledge that and not try to “save” you. But that’s part of their mission. It’s difficult for them to imagine someone not wanting to feel safe and secure like that. But that’s not your problem. Your problem is learning not to judge them just as you ask them not to judge you.

    • I don’t see how I am railing against religion in this post so much as I am arguing in defense of Atheism. Do you think it would be acceptable for a christian person to go around trying to save jews and muslims?

  4. I found this blog after a search for “losing faith,” because I myself am in a transition out of a faith lifestyle. Here is where I think you’re falling short: Christians or other theists will often speak of “losing” faith or “losing” god because while accepting the truth is joyful, it is also a very scary time for someone who has built their life/mindset/friendships and made so many choices based upon their faith. It is like “losing” a way of life, a way of being and thinking, and it is “losing” a piece of your identity. I think that this is where people are coming from… you’re right, they aren’t losing god, but they are losing god in the sense that they are losing a big part of their identity, and that’s a very vulnerable thing.
    Consider a full-grown adult Sudanese refugee who has lived there all their life, moving to Manhattan, New York and living there for the rest of their life. While they would probably appreciate the many new things that American big city life has to offer, it would also come at an emotional and psychological cost. While one might say they are gaining so much, you have to also consider that they are losing a lot.. after some time as they’re introduced to new cultural practices and ways of thought, they are bound to have some profound changes in their identity.

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