There’s something unsettling about losing your faith.
If God died, like Nietzsche said, then it would be easier to make sense of losing him. I could be mad at him then for abandoning me, for dying before I died, for leaving me all alone in the world. I could mourn him. There would be closure.
But God can’t die if he never existed. A flame can’t be extinguished that was never lit.
There used to be a time when I felt God in the kiss of a summer breeze, saw him in the bark of a maple tree, heard him in the songs of birds. God was everywhere and nowhere all at once, and always in my heart. Jesus was the warm center my world crowded around, my purpose.
I remember when God “died”. I was standing beside the bed my ex and I used to share, shaking, trying to hide my phone from him so he wouldn’t take it from me. He was furious because I told him I didn’t love him anymore. He said, “Get out. Get out or I’ll make your life miserable.”
For a long time, I tried to hold on to hope. I thought, I’m backsliding, that’s why I can’t feel him. He’ll pull me in, like a fish caught up in a net.
The Parable of the Sower goes a little something like this:
A sower went out to sow. Some seeds fell to the wayside, and were eaten by birds. Some fell on stony ground and sprung up, but because the soil was thin they were scorched by the sun and died. Some fell among the thorns, but the thorns grew up and choked them and they yielded no fruit. And some fell on good soil, and sprang up, and produced fruit a hundred fold.
You could say I’m the seed that fell into the thorns.
Or you could say I’m the seed that woke the fuck up.
God asks you to believe in him unquestioningly, and then when you get a little curious he presides at his own trial as Judge, Prosecutor, and Witness. He says, believe in me and you’ll be happy for eternity, or don’t and rot in hell. He says, be happy when good things happen and be happier when bad things happen because those bad things ultimately speak to my awesomeness. He splits the world in two: the saved and the unsaved, the righteous and the unclean, the saints and the sinners. And then he sends forth his church to bring the unsaved to him, to dunk them under water and feed them wine and wafers until they stand when their told to stand, sit when their told to sit, and do what Jesus would do even if it’s at the cost of comfort, happiness, and freedom.
Do you know how many people I’ve talked to that believe they’re saved and aren’t? I mean, even if God did exist, they’re still boned and they don’t know it because they got some glossy message from the pulpit about how nobody is perfect and the only requirement for heaven is faith in Jesus. But Jesus said if your eye causes you to sin, cut it out, cause it’s better to go to heaven half blind than to go to hell whole. Meaning, if you’re sleeping with your boyfriend, either get rid of him or stop having sex or you’ll go to hell. If you’re doing drugs, stop it or you’ll go to hell. If you gossip, cut that shit out or you’re going to hell.
Oh, but what about forgiveness? Come on, Katelyn! That’s what Jesus is there for, right? To forgive!
I’m sorry, have you read your bible?
Half assing it with the divine sire of God doesn’t quite cut the cake. Doubt me?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
ONLY the ones who do the will of the Father. MANY will come begging for acceptance and be turned away.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
FEW find it. I’m sorry, but the entire professing Christian world isn’t a few.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Look, if you’re professing Christianity and still breaking those commandments every day all willy-nilly without a thought because at the end of the day, or the end of the week, you’ll just pray it all away, you’re lying to yourself. You’re a dog, you’re swine.
The irony of those pictures of White Jesus cradling a lamb or hugging white kids just eats me up inside. Jesus, when he is described, is freaking scary. He’s riding a war horse and pulling a sword from his mouth and decimating his enemy with a single blow. He’s a motherfucking juggernaut, not some soft headed nice guy out to spread sunshine and daisies across the world.
Furthermore, let’s get down to the roots of Christianity, shall we? Christ dies and comes back and tells his disciples, “Go make more disciples.” Meaning, show people what they gotta do to get into heaven and tell them to follow your example. In case you didn’t notice, only one of the twelve died naturally. They walked around with one pair of sandals, one robe, and no walking stick to town after town at the risk of their own lives. The closest thing to this sort of faith are the missionaries who throw themselves at the mercy of cannibals in the name of Jesus, or the Christians who died under the Communist regime in Russia, or the hundreds of thousands of Chinese Christians getting their tongues cut out so they can’t pray, and still praying until they lift their faces out of the dirt, leaving puddles of tears on the ground.
Let me breathe for a second, OK?
The thing about it is, the thing that got to me and made me finally give up and say, “I don’t believe in God,” is the fact that there is so much potential for the human experience. I have, on the outside, 80 years on this earth. A quarter of them are already gone. I could chose to put my common sense on the back burner and have “blind faith” in some deity that hardly makes sense when you compare one half of his holy book to the other, or I could take control of my life and suck every moment of happiness, pain, pleasure, and whatever else out of each and every experience, answerable only to myself and my son. The latter seems a whole hell of a lot better to me.
And if you’re reading this with a sense of heart break over the girl who a year ago was trying to baptize the world and is now some cynical backslider on the fast track to hell and damnation, pray for me. Seriously. If there’s a God, pray to him to save me again.
I don’t hate God. I don’t resent Jesus.
I miss them terribly. I want them to feel real to me again. I want my heart to skip a beat when I hear voices raised in praise of God’s glory. I want to cry during revival services. I want to look forward to death as a rebirth into a world better than this one, more clean and pure than what is.
But right now, I don’t feel it. I don’t see it.
Right now, I am the God of my world, the master of my fate.
And to tell you the truth, it feels pretty damn good.