Learning to live without Jesus has been like a roller coaster. Some days, it is incredibly freeing. Other days, it is just hard.
When I am angry at the injustices of the world, I no longer have the consolation that God will deal with dispensing the justice.
When I am stressed out about a situation, I no longer have the comfort that things will work out according to God’s good and perfect plan.
When I feel alone, depressed, or misunderstood, I no longer have the knowledge that a great and loving God is here by my side, who understands, accepts, and loves me unconditionally.
When I feel unsure about what I want to do with my life, I no longer have the sense of purpose of serving God.
When I feel hopeless and wonder what the point of life is, I no longer have the answer to that question. I’m left with nothing, really. I am here and I enjoy things about life – and there is a lot to enjoy – but it is also hard work, there is a lot of pain and suffering, and it doesn’t seem to have any real point.
Creating meaning isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Rationalism seems to be lacking in that arena in a significant way.
I often find myself thinking, and not to be sexist, but it has a lot to do with the fact that so many of the new atheists are men, that this area is greatly overlooked in the prominent discussions about atheism. It’s almost as if it’s not supposed to be important, that we don’t need something greater than that which we can rationally explain.
I feel like I am going crazy with all of the irrational thoughts I have that don’t fit into my new godless box.
At least I am not the only one.
An atheist believes you don’t make up extra stuff in the universe to help you make sense of it all and feel safe and cozy. But what we sometimes miss is that an atheist can, in fact, have a positive relationship with the irrational, can notice that existence is too weird to fit in any purely rational box. We can glory in that without duping ourselves with false beliefs.
I found Jennifer Michael Hecht through a podcast of Point of Inquiry, where she talks about her book Doubt: A History. She has a beautiful way of talking about life and its complex irrationality from a godless perspective. I have found a lot of comfort in her words, so I thought I would tell you about her. She blogs at The Best American Poetry and Dear Fonzie.
Here’s another great quote.
How can we shiny broken freaks possibly survive without each other? Impossible. We have got to cultivate faith in humanity, in art, in artists, and in the eaters of art. I have to focus on noticing how not alone I am. If we suffer together I think I can manage it. It almost sounds like fun. And it appears that we are suffering together. So okay.