This post has been a long time coming. Actually, I’m writing this now without planning to post it. So if you are reading it then like A) I’ve lost my mind. B) I’ve grown some ovaries. C) I’m intoxicated. Perhaps I’m just tired of pretending to be someone that I am not.
During the second half of high school and most of my undergraduate degree I was a faithfilled, dedicated Christian. I loved Jesus and truly wanted to serve him with my life. Some time in my fourth year I began to question this faith. I knew that I never truly felt ‘saved’ and my faith was an almost constant source of guilt and anxiety: I looked at the people I loved and ‘knew’ they would be going to hell; I felt like I always needed to have a hidden ‘conversion’ agenda in my friendships; I hated judging others based on their lifestyle choices. How condescending is the oh-so-common Christian phase “We accept ____ people but just not their lifestyle/sin/choices”. That doesn’t sound much like acceptance to me.
For a few years after that I wavered between trying to regain my faith and life according to the Bible and being a content Agnostic. Without religion though, I found that the guilt and anxiety that I had felt for so many years was gone. The relationships in my life improved because I was being honest with myself and others. With most others that is. Maybe you’re one person I wasn’t honest with. It is probably because you’re someone who matters very much to me but who happens to be a Christian and, because I lack courage, I worried about losing you in my life. I withdrew by avoiding Christian events and discussions outside of church. Anyone who asked about my faith was given an honest answer but few people asked (this isn’t saying it was your fault, it is easy to assume that someone would continue to practice the faith they had for so long).
I think this blogger sums up my reluctance to expose myself quite well: “I never have abandoned morality, just as I still can not find the strength to tell any of my family members and friends (at least the Christian ones) the truth – I have become the very thing they pity most. It is not that they will hate me, or get angry. It is rather that they will feel sorry for me and try to counsel me and pray for me and murmur this poison: God is beyond the wisdom and logic of man. They would do the things that I would have done. And so I keep my silence and I go to Church on Sundays and I sing praises to God in the car with my mother and I pray at family gatherings like a good Christian would. Except that I’m not.“
There it is: the truth. I’m tired of lying. I no longer consider myself a Christian and I don’t foresee that changing. I hope that I don’t lose your friendship but, in the end, that is your decision.
[ETA: this was written a month or two ago. I decided to post it because it doesn’t really matter anymore. It was going to come out eventually and I hate pretending.]