So you have finally come to a place in your life where you are comfortable with the loss of god. You can admit his absence out loud without fear that you will be struck down; which was always weird anyway, since “struck down” individuals never did seem to have any relevance to faith. Maybe that was just superstition. It’s a common side-effect of believing in an all-powerful creator who knows our every thought.
Then one day you realize that all that daily god talk that is so typical in our daily lives doesn’t look the same anymore. In fact, it seems downright crazy. You spent most of your life talking this way yourself, so why is it troubling?
That’s where I am right now. And yes, it sure did take a while.
Maybe there is just more of it in my social media lately. Everyone asking for prayers. Okay….well, that’s kind of like saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. It’s just a thing one might say. But I never realized before how many people are claiming to have actual debates with god. They really believe that god is sending them messages and everything that happens to them is attributed to how well they “listened” to him. And even though I used to do this same thing, I can’t help but look at this now and feel embarrassed for the poor soul who is living their entire life in a bubble of superstition.
Where is god leading them, exactly? Every Christian will have moments when they accept that god’s plan for them might be tragic. When nothing is going your way, you get down on your knees to pray that god’s will be done. That he will lead you to where you are supposed to be. When you stumble upon something you like, you give credit to god as if prayer led you to better days.
But god doesn’t lead us to what we want in life. Christians know this sometimes, but it’s a hard concept to keep in your mind. Often god’s plan is suffering. But who wants to hear that? That’s just the words you say to someone who has prayed and things have not gotten better.
Even if Christians are right about god, 90% of what they credit to god has to be bullshit. I mean, what’s the point of free will? Oh, sure. You prayed and prayed that god would help you with your finances, and then today after church you found a lovely old dresser in the trash. Clearly god is telling you to use your furniture refinishing skills to start your own business!
Are you kidding me?
At best prayer would offer god praise, and perhaps you would get some comfort from unloading your burdens on him. Never mind that he may allow worse burdens tomorrow. Maybe prayer will give you comfort in knowing that god is in control and someday you will have eternity to look forward to. That none of this matters….
It’s just that it is difficult for me to experience god this way and then swallow the long Facebook status updates of how much god has done for someone. Even according to their own reality, god doesn’t work like that. This trial we are going through will strengthen our faith, and then god will reveal the great thing he had planned all along.
Again…. how could god work that way? If he really is going to come through for you so that you finally get that great opportunity you wouldn’t have had unless this other horrible thing happened first? Then god is an asshole for not doing that for a million other more deserving people.
In order to believe in god, I had to accept that god owed me nothing. If he did care for me, then heaven was all he was offering. I just needed to follow him and believe; because after all, he had given me the ability to choose. I could live with that as long as there was always a path, through him, to grow spiritually. But I found that to also be untrue.
Are you listening to god? Are you talking to him? Or are you making religion fit into your own superstition? Because yes, that can happen even if god is real. It was one of the realizations that led to the unraveling of my faith, but it is also a realization that is accurate within that faith. What else could be true?
Maybe it is only bothering me now because for the first time I am coming up against the smugness of Christians who think they know better than me. Because my faith wasn’t strong enough to hold on to what god had in store for me. I respect some of these people who are in constant communication with their god, so I do not wish to offend them. But I often feel as if I understand their god better than they do. And I don’t even believe he is real.