leaving the church pt.2

i’ve just had a very interesting read about the church and religion- i didn’t agree with all of it, but it made me think. i’ve thought about this issue over and over again, but maybe now i want to collate my thoughts.

to be very honest, i started this simply because i felt guilty- i couldn’t cope balancing both the religious and non-religious, and i felt i needed to make a choice. i made that choice, and as a defense mechanism thought of ‘supporting arguments’. that might not be the best way to have gone about this, and might prove to some that i haven’t ‘truly disbelieved’, but it was honestly how it happened.

over time, i started thinking, and some of the ‘supporting arguments’ grew stronger. i still went to church (i still do, but that’s another topic) and i still saw the faith and love that they had, and i still strongly admired that faith. but something had changed. i no longer felt part of that, they had become they and i was separate. in biblical terms, the scales fell off my eyes, and while i admired and respected that strong faith that they had, but i didn’t (couldn’t?) summon that faith in myself anymore.

with that break, i began to accept myself and my change more deeply. religion bothered me less, i accepted (and am still accepting) that my choosing to leave isn’t something to be ashamed of, and that perhaps it’s just the way i’m changing as a person. i’ve realised- it’s simply a choice, there doesn’t need to be moral connotations attached.

i think after it all, what troubles me the most, (and perhaps what prevents me from making a clean break of it) are the ties of community and love that have been forged with religion. i know this choice has hurt, and still hurts, many around me, and that hurts me as well. i used to compare leaving the church to an ended relationship. when the relationship ends, you cut off all ties, at least for a while, to heal and to move on. similarly, i wondered if i should do the same. i’m still wondering.

i’m not sure if i will decide what to do anytime soon, but then again, i suppose deciding is part of the process. honestly though, i’m glad that this happened. leaving is part and parcel of life, and i suppose this experience will teach me many lessons and give me courage for the rest of life. we’ll just have to see what happens, and trust.

Time is tricky. You have whole months, even years, when nothing changes a speck, when you don’t go anywhere or do anything or think one new thought. And then you can get hit with a day, or an hour, or a half a second when so much happens it’s almost like you got born all over again into some brand-new person you for damn sure never expected to meet.

E.R. Frank, Life is Funny (via bookmania)