I Made A Real Big Change

I guess I should start about how reluctant I am to sit and write about this particular subject. I’ve been staring at my screen, starting, restarting, writing and deleting. Instead of leading off with an aggravating introduction, perhaps I should just get to the point.

And that point is this: I can no longer call myself in good, clear conscience, a Christian. This didn’t just fall upon me one day when I wasn’t looking. I’ve always held a certain degree of skepticism about the story itself, the prophesies of the Old Testament leading to Jesus Christ, and the foundation upon which it all rests (not to mention the unfathomable and unreasonable stories, fables, allegories scattered about). When this doubt would begin to take hold of my thoughts, I dug in and studied. I probably have $400 worth of books on Christianity and religion written by some of the very best apologists. While my studies and help from bible tutors kept me in the fold, so to speak, my skepticism only made me feel inadequate and cursed.

Once these things failed to meet reason, and I finally admitted this to myself, denying their accuracy and supposed source did not scare me. In other words, I don’t fear damnation because of my unbelief.

This is saying a lot considering I grew up a moderate, but believing Christian, and since I have been married, I have been an active member. As a Southerner it is a practical qualification to be religious and a Christian. My wife is a devout Christian and she is the one who I have worried over and tried to please the most. It is important to her that her family belongs to Christendom, and especially that her kids are brought up knowing and worshipping God. Nonetheless, I came clean to her about my change of mind (I use mind instead of heart deliberately here) at about 6:30 AM two mornings ago.

I promised her that nothing in our family would change. I will still allow for her and the children to have the life they understand and are accustomed to. I will even remain a part of that until the kids are old enough to ask me my thoughts. I, however, can no longer live a dual life — pretending to believe but not really believing. It made me a miserable and tortured person.

I have no ambitions or intentions to lead anyone a way from their faith. I won’t harm anyone’s faith if I can help it.

So what does this make me?

Well, I can certainly say that I am not an atheist. I find that philosophy more arrogant, and which requires more faith than all the other religions combined. I am not an agnostic either. To me, that philosophy is lazy and too middle of the road for my liking. Therefore, I state confidently that I am a Deist — a monotheistic deist.

A deist in almost the same way Thomas Paine describes it. A deist in almost the same way as Albert Einstein describes it.

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

[…]

I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”

I believe in God. I believe in His majesty, His magnificence, His munificence, and His existence through the revelation of His creation. I reckon I believe these things much in the same way the ancient Jews did before they set out to interpret and create Him in their image; before the Christians took these Jewish teachings and customs and from which constructed Christianity; before the Arabs took a mixture of both and constructed Islam; and before Joseph Smith learned of this and began his own revealed gospel movement in America.

The fact is each revealed religion is questionable, equally debatable, and totally unverifiable. Moreover, all make mutually exclusive claims. According to someone, everyone is going to Hell. In other words, according someone, everyone else is wrong.

I’m satisfied to say, I no longer have to worry with that fight. I’m sad to say that I have lost something that has been with me as long as I can remember. But I’m honest enough to say; this is my decision from an inner-battle I’ve been fighting for years. One in which has been finally brought to its conclusion. I’m confident that I won.

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8 thoughts on “I Made A Real Big Change

  1. As a person possessed of profound spiritual faith, but no religion, it seems to me to speak well of you that you struggled with it so long. And didn’t end up an atheist, so far as I can discern from what you’ve said.

    I’ve never had cause to, nor been allowed to question mine, maybe, so I probably don’t enjoy a full appreciation for what you’ve gone through. But I salute you.

      • Anonymous: No, I’m not a Christian, though I spent several years during the 1990s studying the history, canon and various doctrines of the Christian religion in depth and correspondence with Garner Ted Armstrong – the Christian scholar, evangelist and historian possible most hated by run-of-the-mill Christians, discussing a lot of facets of Christian history. During that time I was similarly studying a lot of other religions.

        My faith was dumped on me somewhat out of nowhere about 50 years ago by force, first alone in the jungle on the island of Hawaii, then reinforced a couple of weeks later in Tucson. I was lucky enough not to have a Christian preacher around to explain how to interprete it.

        When I found one, spent the night in the Albuquerque Greyhound Bus Station telling him about the experience and the imperatives I concluded from it, [He was non-denominational and I’d called him on the phone – the only one in the book who’d come talk to me that time of night] he finished our conversation by asking me the obvious questions from the Opostle Creed.

        When I answered, he said, “I don’t know what you are, but you aren’t a Christian.” We parted on friendly terms.

        I suppose I get my guidance just examining who and what I am and measuring it against who and what I’m determined to be, changing what I find I don’t love and respect about myself, shaping myself into someone I can and do.

        It’s the best I’ve ever been able to come up with for guidance.

      • I don’t want to clutter up your blog with this, so you’re welcome to delete it if you wish. But if you read the last 4 paragraphs of the post, ‘So Long, and Thanks for all the Valentines’,
        http://sofarfromheaven.com/romance/ you’ll get a fairly sound example of my methods for brutal self-examination and attempts at self-honesty.

  2. Well, Jules I appreciate that.

    It wasn’t easy, I’d say it was more on the side of hard. It felt like cancer. Now that it’s over, I do, actually, feel like a new creation. But I think the Apostle Paul meant that in a slightly different way that I do.

  3. I like how you decide to write upon these landmine-type subjects: kudos to you 😉
    I personally find your post refreshing. I treasure logic above all other things and as such most religions make me scratch my head. I was raised a Catholic but there are so many things that do not add up, for most of which the way out of “mystery of faith” sounds far too easy to me. Too many aspects of religions are illogical and therefore inexplicable to me and I am not ready to take them at face value any more. I think our own brains and ability of logical thinking are among the best tools we have and we should never give them up for any reason whatsoever.
    Take care

    • Stefano,

      Glad you like it. It’s a touch subject and one that may not allow you to keep friends.

      Like I said though, it was cowardly of me to continue as I was. I’m not rebelling. I simply came to a conclusion which had already been held for quite some time.

      Like you stated it, I believe the Creator provided with Reason and Intellect for a reason. Having it stifled by dogma and “revealed” religion is an insult to both the Creator and his creations.

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