Shit like this is why I cannot be a part of this religion anymore. All my life growing up teachers and others were feeding my head with this idea that Lincoln freed the slaves. 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments all ratified. Then I get to the church and find out I’m still a fucking slave. Christianity is the slave-master’s religion, and I recognize it as such. If Hell is the price then I’ll pay it. The world’s white idol can fuck off.
I have cousins a few hours away in a couple of directions. I see one set a bit more often than others, and usually around Christmas. One of them is a minister and as expected his first concern is that one is staying faithful to God. I haven’t been to church in 3 years. In August of 2016 I posted a video announcing that I don’t believe anymore…that I am no longer Christian. I guess he and his wife didn’t see it. At least they don’t act like they saw it.
Every year when we meet up he usually asks me how long it’s been since I was at church, and says something to encourage me to go. Well I’m not going back. But I also don’t want to debate that at the table in a restaurant. I usually just nod my head while knowing that I’m not going back. This year I just really didn’t want to get into it. 2017 was extremely stressful with highlights of me selling my house and wrangling the move over to my mom’s with my dad in tow, dad’s health declining a bit more, my own trip to ER for heart palpitations…a visit I still owe money for. Then there’s the continued malaise, uncertainty and extremely annoying pronouncements from the White House. I just wanted the year over with and the family visit ended up wrapped up with all of that.
What came to me that morning, as I was obsessing over what my cousin was going to say about my non-attendance at services, was that my “service to God” is in taking care of my parents at this time in their lives. That it was acceptable to ‘The Divine.’ That it is good enough. I’m not a Christian. So I’m not going to try to influence anyone towards that path. The rest of what anyone thinks I “should be doing,” doesn’t matter.
As far back as I can remember I have believed in the existence of life on other planets. The way I view what’s ‘out there’ is heavily coloured by years of exposure to telescope images, science fiction shows, and science documentaries. Whether they have been here in body or mind is subjective. I hope they have. I hope somebody out there has figured out how to perturb the space around an object such that the perturbation can move sufficiently fast to cover the vast distances. It’s a hope I have. I don’t know. I have seen UFOs on four occasions, but I’m not going to detail those in this post.
We’re a small planet orbiting third in line around a small star close to the outer edge of a galaxy that’s composed of billions of other systems and because of certain hobbling beliefs, some people think we’re it…the only planet with life. I don’t believe that. I’ve never believed that, and I will go to my grave never believing that. I’ve never been satisfied with that idea. Even in my years as a Christian I believed there was life out there. I refused to allow doctrines to destroy my vision of a truly vast universe. I just tried to work in a savior for their ‘mankind’ and hoped that they hadn’t made as much of a mess of their history as we have of ours. I don’t do that anymore.
A few years ago I was talking with a minister friend. He said that he felt that anyone who believed in aliens didn’t know God or his word. I listened. I didn’t challenge him on what he was telling me because his opinion of my views on cosmology is none of my business. And after we got off the phone I said to myself, “Well I guess I don’t know God, then.”
Actually I do.
Some people’s gods are just too small.
Here’s part 2 of my interview on the Losing Our Religion podcast.
Those of us who, through deconversion and/or deconstruction, are challenging Pascal’s wager are playing for the highest stakes imaginable. We’re betting that God is bigger and more awesome than anyone has ever envisioned, that the creator transcends the book and is nothing like our feeble 2-dimensional notions. So I want to say to anyone who is just starting the process or is considering deconstructing their faith or deconverting from it to take heart. It can be scary. It will scare some people in your life, but I think in the end we’re going to be okay.
It was a privilege a few weeks ago to be interviewed on the podcast Losing Our Religion. Host Zac Gandara talk about my time in the church and the process of deconstructing and deconverting from my faith. This is part 1 of 2.
As I think back on those early days 35 years ago, I was a freshman in college and had my first full-blown encounters with proselytizers. At the back of every discussion, encounter, or argument was Hell. It was an idea ever-waiting to be dropped into the conversation at the slightest hint of any refusal to accept. And what I didn’t realize until recently is that Hell was always a gun held to my mind by a god who offers to remove it if I’d only believe.