It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog, and it’s been even longer since I posted consistently. I’m not here to promise a triumphant return to blogging, though I would like to get back into it. No, I’m just here to post an update on what things are like for me now that it has been four years since I left Christianity.
I wrote a series of posts about how I became a Christian, how I became more Christian, how my faith fell apart, and how things went after I left Christianity. So I thought it only appropriate that I should do a post about how things are now, especially since I haven’t been blogging enough to give you some idea about that.
Let me start by saying that I am still not a Christian. You probably figured as much. I’m pretty sure that’s something I would’ve posted about, and I’m guessing this post would have a different title, were that the case.
I still do not believe in god. I really see no use for it in my life. Well, I take that back. I fully am able to understand why people turn to religion. Life is hard. So hard. There are times that I find myself wishing I could believe in god again. It made things so much simpler.
It also helped control my anxiety. I have always struggled with anxiety, but it was much more manageable when I was a Christian. Whenever my anxiety would rear it’s ugly head, all I had to do was pray it away. This was especially effective when dealing with my social anxiety. I only had to focus on the fact that Jesus was by my side, and I was OK. I knew that the only thing that mattered was that I was doing my part to build god’s kingdom. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me. I believed this so strongly, that my anxiety stayed in check most of the time.
That has not been the case, since I left Christianity. I have had quite a struggle, in fact. For a long time, it made me wish I did still believe in god. But I realized recently that it wasn’t god, it was my belief. The mind is incredibly powerful. But I don’t need to believe in god to use the power of my mind to quiet my anxiety.
My anxiety disorder hasn’t been the only difficult thing that I have had to deal with since leaving Christianity. I also have become a lot more cynical. The world is full of selfishness and cruelty. I was pretty sheltered from it when I was a Christian. Or maybe I chose not to acknowledge it but instead see the best in people. Whatever the case, the past few years have been brutal with the realization that the world is not the way I thought it was.
Still, through it all, I am at peace with my lack of god in my life. Not having a belief to guide me has forced me to really take a hard look at things. It’s allowed me to look past tradition and convention and determine the kind of life I want to lead. It’s made me a better person, in that I don’t have a standard with which to judge other people’s actions, and I can more clearly see that most people are good people just trying to get through life the best way they know how.
OK, so I guess I do still see the best in people, contrary to what I said above. It’s just that I am aware of the cold reality of life at the same time.
I think that’s made me more compassionate. Life is not as simple as “God will provide” or “I’ll pray for you.”
If there is no god, you have to figure out your own plan. You have to find alternative ways to show people that you care. It’s a lot more work, but it’s also a lot more rewarding.
And you get to have sex without feeling guilty about it after, so there’s that.
I’m not evangelical in my atheism, though I was never really very evangelical in my Christianity either. I don’t begrudge people the right to have – and the comfort of having – their beliefs. I get it. I just don’t feel like I need that, and I don’t see any rational basis for believing in any religion or spiritual belief system that I know of.
That doesn’t mean that I am a total skeptic though. I do believe there are things we can’t explain yet. I do believe there is value in spiritual language to describe some of the concepts that are otherwise difficult to explain. But for the most part, I just don’t see the point in believing in fairy tales.
So that’s where I’m at, four years after realizing that I didn’t believe in Jesus anymore. Sure, I am no longer a model of Christian virtue, but I am still a kind, caring, honest person. I am living my life in a way that is true to myself and respecting others’ right to do the same. I’d say that’s good enough for me.