A common theme for ex-Christians which I have addressed (and no doubt will continue to address) are the assumptions Christians make about our personal walk with god before abandoning him. They know we couldn’t possibly have ever understood god the way they understand him. They believe we are simply missing a piece of the puzzle that they are not missing. Our foundation wasn’t built on the right ideas. Of course, their own foundation is very strong. It is clear by their continued faith in god.

And I, along with many of you other ex-Christians out there know something, too. We know exactly what they are talking about because we were once every bit as full of faith and certainty. We already know these Christians are not holding some elusive piece of the god puzzle, because we absolutely would have found that piece during our long journey out of religion.

Christians, what would it take for you to stop believing in god altogether? I’m not talking about questioning man’s definition of Christianity or the church in general, but to question the idea that a god even exists. You’re a pretty far distance from that place, wouldn’t you say? All Christians have struggled with doubt, but there are ways to get back on track. You are always closer to god than you are to a world without god. So when your typical tools are failing….do you think you would give up on god right away? Could god disappear just that easily?

No, of course not.

Suppose it has crossed your mind that maybe everything you have been taught about god is a lie. Just maybe….because when you still believe, that maybe is a tiny voice you push to the back of your mind. It’s not your own critical thinking yet, but rather an attack on your faith. So you seek to disprove it. You fight it. You pray. You do still know that god is real, and you have always been strong with spiritual leadership and answering the tough questions- so the answer for this will be found. God will help you sort it out. You are sure of it. And often you can convince yourself and move forward.

But what if the answers you find only create more doubt, and god doesn’t seem to be interested in your faith crisis? How is that possible? He has always come through before….I must not be genuine enough. I will re-examine my heart and seek him with more sincerity. You feel as if every source available knows practically nothing about god. After all, you had come this far without wondering so deeply, why should they be any different? But you aren’t the first. Why won’t god lead me to someone or something that will help reconcile this conflict? And now doubt has become a burden god will not take, but that you can no longer push to the back of your mind.

At some point you will have to examine your “maybe” more objectively and have the courage to confront it for what it is: your own actual doubt of god. And why is that so shocking? We can’t see god. We have no tangible proof of god. Why wouldn’t we wonder? Lot’s of people don’t believe. There will be a mental struggle of not knowing if this is really you thinking this, or if there is something tricking you into thinking it. You will tread lightly. And you may be stuck in the back and forth of belief for years. You will search for god from scratch, and you may not be able to make him appear.

Christians, what would it take for you to stop believing in god? Would you leave any stone unturned? Because I sure didn’t. When Christians offer advice on how to renew my faith or claim to understand why I walked away, they are minimizing an overwhelmingly complicated time in my life. Their advice doesn’t even dent the surface of where I have been to find god.

Don’t they understand? When I was still faithful to god and wanted to believe, even I was unable to convince myself that god was not missing. No stone unturned. And who are they to tell me I simply looked for him in the wrong places? Why would he be hiding?

I say a lot of things about a lot of experiences here, and no one post encompasses my faith story. I lived the life and my faith was enough that I would have given my life for god. So Christians, before taking anything I have said and making an assumption about where I have been and what mistakes I have made in my thinking; stop and simply believe that my faith was every bit as strong as yours.

Consider it. Ask yourself, “What would it take for me to change my own mind about god’s existence?” Think about how hard you would fight for god, and how difficult the road to get there would have to be. And assume instead that you are ill-equipped to rewind my entire deconversion experience.

 

4 thoughts on “What Would It Take?

  1. This whole question is a good one. In my case, the thing that started me to question the existence of God (I do not know my answer on this, but I do lean toward the existence of some kind of personal God), is the pain and suffering in this world, especially the suffering that cannot be attributed to humans (for this can be attributed to free will). Others might find contradictions in the Bible (which are there), or some things that look bad to us today (Read Psalm 137:9 for example). None of those are factors to me, for I do recognize the Bible as a very fallible human book, that is more of how the communities that produced it (The ancient Hebrews, especially after the exile for the Older Testament, and the early Church for the Newer Testament).

    Thanks for this post.

    1. I think what kept my faith going so long was an acceptance of god for whoever or whatever it might be. God owed me no answers, and if god disappointed me it was my own mistake for expecting him to behave according to human rules. He was always bigger and better and even if I did not understand why he did what he did, it was enough that he was in control. I accepted all of it. None of it shook my faith- suffering, biblical contradictions, my own personal tragedies. Fine. God is in control.

      For me it began when I set out to better understand the origins of human belief in god and how we determined all these things we claim to know about him. How can I sort out the bullshit if I don’t even have the full story? Not only is this the way I like to problem solve (start at the beginning and tell me everything, in order), but these were the questions I thought I might ask as an atheist and I wanted to be sure of myself when defending my faith. So I started researching other religions and the histories of theirs and my own. And I discovered that we know nothing. Knowing that you know nothing offers a lot of clarity about the things you thought you knew. It unraveled from there.

      Thank you 🙂

      1. I see what you are saying. I agree that all religions are human inventions, but still cannot bring myself to say that even if all the gods we worship are all made by us, there isn’t some essence out there. Maybe someday, though.

        1. You are right. Once I let go of what I thought I knew and realized I didn’t know anything- I think that was kind of exciting. Mainly because all the things I didn’t like about religion were gone. I stayed there for a long time, knowing that god could be anything. The only difference now is that I don’t feel a god-like essence is out there. Not in the sense that we think of god, anyway. But I’m not sure any of us ever rule that out entirely.

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