Losing god was a relief. Not at first- but when I was confident about where my mind and heart were on the matter, the heaviest weight was lifted. Sometimes we lose religion and sum it all up with god, but god comes with a lot of baggage. Losing god means losing a safety net. A coping mechanism. Immortality. Heaven and hell.
It changes everything about the bible. Everything. Suddenly the bible makes perfect sense for the first time. Every fucking page. It seems strange to read it from this perspective; you know the words, but they mean something different now. I don’t like anybody in the Old Testament. But let’s face it, Christians spend most their time reading the Gospels and letters from guys like Paul. Does anyone actually like Paul? I don’t. And I can say that now, because losing god means losing guilt about the dumb little things that never mattered.
But the biggest relief was shedding guilt over one particular subject. The unsaved.
If there is no god, our reward is here on earth. We get back what we give. Good people will not meet some terrible fate that I must save them from. It’s okay if they do not believe Jesus died for our sins. I don’t believe it, either. And damn it feels good not to worry about that anymore. Religion creates unnecessary conflict, and many Christians spend far too much time wrapping their minds around how to make the pieces fit.
I have a good friend who I have known since elementary school. I know where her heart is when it comes to marriage equality. I know she supports it. We haven’t seen each other much in the last twenty years, but I know her. I also know from Facebook that her desire to serve god has increased at around the same rate mine has diminished. I cringe at some of the things in her news feed but I leave it alone.
The other day she shared a Christian article about that bakery in Oregon. Her comment was “Saving for later.” And I understood. I know why she’s saving it. She needs to figure out what the right answer is; and that answer will be something that both her and god can agree on. Inevitably she will decide that the bakery was fined too much money, or that maybe they do have the right to refuse service. But she won’t side with them, really. She will continue to support marriage equality, but from a safe place that doesn’t completely condone it.
Because unlike the ridiculous Christians who star in YouTube videos where they cry about how no one accepts their bigotry- my friend actually does have gay friends. And the eighteen year old version of her never would have had to think about what the right answer is. God gave her this moral conflict. And the bible. Oh, and the conservative Christian propaganda that constantly floods her social media. But I know what she believes and what she would say if all those things weren’t whispering in her ear.
I was in those shoes over and over again. Always negotiating between my heart and my god. Religion is a problem when even the Christians who do their best to be true examples of Christ are forced to fit terrible ideas into their lives. And into the lives of those around them.
Christians cannot question god, but they can certainly make excuses for him. If the god of the Christian bible is real, I don’t like him. I hate the decisions he made in the Old Testament. I hate that my life is nothing more than a test to see if I can solve the riddle quickly enough to worship this strange being for all eternity. He is self-absorbed and cruel. He allows horrible things to happen, and we aren’t supposed to care because of what awaits us in heaven.
In our modern culture, would we tolerate a person who acted like god? Jesus was alright- but he also represents a plan designed by an insane deity. God created us with free will and we disappointed him. Then he killed everyone. Then he decided to send Jesus to die for man’s sins; all we have to do is agree with the people on earth who say it is true and we get into heaven! Meanwhile there will be millions telling us to believe something else. And god remains silent.
We live, we die. And if we do figure out the riddle in time we get to exist forever as a new being who worships god for all eternity. Who is this guy? Why do I want to do that? Is this really the whole meaning of life- to worship a god I don’t agree with? Forever? Fuck.
We would hate him if he lived among us. We have evolved beyond the god concept of past generations. And still we say, “but he’s god” while ignoring all the obvious reasons we shouldn’t serve him. If he made us then he is the needy, unfit parent who manipulates us at every turn. But if he is the most powerful being in the universe, we also want him to like us. We want to win his game. We tell ourselves that he is good and perfect. And we even believe it.
Until we don’t believe it.
Losing god was a relief. There is no god to be angry with, no guilt for not measuring up, no fear of misinterpreting god’s intentions, and no one to save from eternal hell fire. It makes us all equal. When we are all the same, love becomes easier. Religion will always get in the way of people connecting with those who are not exactly like them. It’s an easy out, where you can hate people you don’t understand but disguise it as love. And that irony should not be lost on anyone.