I was a fundamentalist Christian for most of my life. During most of that time I never questioned what I was taught. You see, I am not a confrontational person by nature. I did not want to be considered rebellious. The pastor and Sunday school teacher were older than I was and they believed. Surely they knew more than I. I surrendered to preach. I wanted to be like these spiritual people. I wanted to share my faith. I had the truth. Everyone needed to hear the gospel message.
I attended church faithfully. I read my Bible often. I listened to preaching tapes everyday. I prayed and had a walk with God. I read Christian books and surrounded myself with people who helped support that belief. I witnessed to the lost. I was fully committed.
Yet, as I got older and met people who believed differently than I, questions arose in my mind. (I intend to write about my deconversion in detail later.) Questions I thought I knew the answers to. Soon people pointed out the flaws in my answers. Maybe things were not as I suspected. I tried to push the questions out of my mind. They never went away.
I did not feel I could express these questions to the religious around me. I already knew the answers they would give. I wanted an outside opinion. So, I did what all people do nowadays with questions…I turned to Google! Before I knew it, I found I was not alone. There were others out there that had the same questions I did.
My journey went from belief to questions to doubt and ultimately to disbelief. This post is for those who find themselves at the questions/doubt stage. You are not alone! I have sat where you sit. I have asked the same questions you ask.
For the last year or so of my deconversion, I still attended church regularly wearing a suit and tie with a smile on my face and a Bible in my hand. I sang along with the congregational songs. I shouted “Amen.” during the sermon. Yet, I didn’t believe any of it. I was an impostor. I was not intentionally being deceitful. I was trying to “fake it until I make it.”
I will not tell you what to believe or how your journey should go. I do want to provide some resources to help you along the way.
Skeptics Annotated Bible
On our wall hangs a sign which reads, Live, Love, Laugh. Three simple words. Yet I want these words to characterize your life. So read on to hear my advice on these subjects and I will throw in a fourth for free (Learn).
Live your life. Enjoy your childhood. Every day is different and unique make them all great. Develop your own personality. Visit as many different places as possible. Meet people from other parts of the country and world. Take risks. Don’t judge people by their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Take vacations. Embrace technology. If you get a once in a lifetime opportunity, seize it! Work hard. Be honest. Be mindful of others, but never let anyone control you. Be respectful. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t be afraid to be different. Just be yourself and live your life to the fullest.
Love yourself. You are an awesome person. Love your siblings. Look out for each other. Defend each other. Learn what true love is. Love is commitment. Love is thinking of a loved one more than yourself. Notice the good things loved ones do for you and express your appreciation. Find a partner who will love you. Someone who will make you a better person. Then spend a life showing them your love. If you have children, devote your life to them. Show them unconditional love. Just make sure you let the ones you love know how much you love them in every way every day.
Laugh loud and laugh often. Laugh at yourself. Don’t be easily offended. There are lots of serious and sad things in life. So, take every chance you get to laugh. Find humor in the mundane. Master the art of sarcasm! Attempt to make others laugh. Laugh until your side hurts. Laugh until you cry. You know you’re going to laugh at dad.
Learn to read. Learn to write. Learn to do math. Develop a passion for knowledge. Ask questions, lots and lots of questions. Think for yourself. Learn the Scientific and Socratic methods of investigation. Let doubt be your default. Never stop learning. Be humble enough to realize you could be wrong, but brave enough to change your mind. Read books, lots and lots of books. Write! Write about what you love. Expand your vocabulary. Words are the vehicle which transport thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Make yours a Rolls Royce! Just remember…People deserve respect, but ideas do not.
In conclusion, life is short and often hard. However, if you follow these principles your life should be great!
Happy New Year!
This is my very first post on this brand new blog! I hope to post many many more throughout the year. Stick around to see what 2015 has in store in the mind of marlowe!