The process from believer to non-believer was emotionally and intellectually difficult, though more-so emotionally. Everytime a discussion about the bible came about...like the historical accuracy of the bible, or the deplorable acts sanctioned by God of the bible, or the Old Testament/New Testament disconnect, or science that directly contradicts assertions of the bible, I found myself jumping through hoops trying to explain it away. I participated in all kinds of debates trying to prove the other side wrong, but in hindsight I was really only trying to prove to myself that it made sense on paper. It hardly ever did.
At some point I started avoiding the debates, using excuses where I blamed non-believers for their snarky/know it-all-attitudes (which do exist
), but it was really just a way of me avoiding having to think about the things that bothered me about religion, like the feelings I would get in the middle of a debate where I found myself defending rape, slavery, genocide, and simultaneously rejecting science, history, and my own sense of morality. It was like a 3 year-period where I avoided having to explain or defend or assert my beliefs. I guess in hindsight, a 3 year-period where I knew I didn't believe anymore, but wasn't ready to be honest to myself about it.
I think a big part of why it was emotionally draining is because my mother is a devout Christian. She puts God first in everything and a part of me wanted that to count for something; for her calling for Jesus to ease the pain episodes to not be in vain. For me to not look at her unwavering faith as silly, and thus look down on her for clinging so tautly to it.
I guess I've come to realize that I control that. It's not in Gods hands or the devils plan or anything else. I can still value what makes her happy and gives her comfort, and discuss the bible with her, and listen to the gospel songs that we love. My unbelief doesn't have to destroy tradition and a system of comfort that exists throughout my family. And even if there are some disputes, it's better than the cognitive dissonance. A lot more liberating.
Me and Christianity was sort of like my relationship with that girl I used to date in my teenage years. I fought so hard for that relationship just to prove people wrong about us lasting. I put up with a bunch of crap, overlooked the signs of decay, stayed with her even though the prospects of the other fish in the sea seemed more attractive, and forced myself to make a dysfunctional, unproductive, bad sex relationship work for the sake of making it work...by the time we did break up, it hit me like...damn. Why was I so reluctant to get away from you? I don't even like you and I haven't for a long time.
It feels good no longer having to be intellectually dishonest to myself just to "keep the faith" alive. That sh*t used to give me headaches.
Edited by Random Thoughts - Oct 11 2013 at 6:49pm