This is a facebook message I sent last September to a kid from the church I used to attend [when I was a christian] who was inquiring about things regarding me. This is the abridged version of how I [as much as I hate this phrase] ‘lost my faith’.
I was a devout christian most of my life, though from the looks of things and from what people had seemed to tell me about myself, I wasn’t a very good christian, and that really got me down. I wondered why god would make people like us and we’re supposed to believe in him, but not give me the desire to do everything it meant to be a christian like I saw in my friends. Why would he make me a bad christian? So I went through periods of doubt and self loathing and blah blah blah. Needless to say, most of the time I was miserable, but I still tried my best to please god.
Then, that year of Student Life Camp at Baylor is when I stopped believing in god. I was going through another period of questioning things and was seeking answers desperately so I could get back on track with being a good christian. I was looking to camp to give me those answers. Well, I was too impressed with the pastor speaker guy we had that year, I thought he was an idiot. I tried to ignore that and I figured god had something else hidden somewhere else in camp that he was going to reveal to me.
Well, that night we were in that room in the building, that school room with the desks you know. Mark asked us what went on with us that day. It was an emotional day for everyone there…except me. People stood up and told sob stories about things god did for them. I listened intently and tried to learn from them. Then you stood up. You stood up and you started crying as you spoke. You brought nearly the entire room to tears. You were filled with such emotion, as if you actually felt what you thought you felt. Then you said these words: “I’ve never felt this close to god in my entire life…” I hung on to those words, they stuck out to me the most. I was like, “He said the word FELT.” I analyzed it and tore it apart to it’s very core.
. I sat there and said, “Kyle, why do you believe in god?” I legitimately asked myself. I wanted my real answer. You know what it was? “I don’t know…” That was my answer. I found out I didn’t know why I believed in god in the first place. So I asked myself then if I didn’t know, why did I keep up with it. Turns out, I didn’t know why I believed in god, the only reason I did was because that’s what my parents taught me when I was young and they told me it was true. I put way too much stock in what my parents and other people said.
Before that meeting was over, I was an agnostic. I came to realize that god was a feeling. Camp was a tool used to make that feeling more real. Having doubts or feel like you’re not close enough with god? Go to camp with a bunch of other people who feel the same way! We’ll play songs in a giant stadium and cry while we sing, listen to sermons and read our bibles under the trees. Someone is BOUND to feel closer to god after that. That’s still the thing, you’re going to FEEL closer to god. I knew that was the answer to all my questions I had been seeking for so long. It was so simple yet so wonderful. Because you know, humans are capable of feeling anything if they will themselves to feel it strong enough. The feeling of god is no exception.
Here is a real world example from a scientific study I read about:
There are 2 groups of people. Group A and group B. Group A are put in a room and group B are put in a room. Group A is given a bowl of punch to drink that has alcohol in it, however they are told it does NOT contain alcohol. Group B is likewise given a bowl of punch, this time it does NOT contain alcohol, however they are told it does. Group B starts acting drunk on the regular punch before group A even realize that they are drunk.
You see, you’re told something, and you believe it. I’m sure group B felt pretty stupid after they realized they weren’t drunk. So yeah, that is the short version of why I stopped believing in god.
Humankind yearns for more than what life really is, which explains part of the origin of religions. It’s nice to imagine something like a god watching over you and you getting all this nice shit when you die. So your parents follow that religion, well, so will you. Because you’re then taught it, and taught oh you better not question this religious stuff, and all that smart stuff is just mumbo jumbo! Just keep your mouth shut, and your eyes closed, and stay in line just like ever other religious person of your faith. You’re not taught to think, you’re taught to be quiet. So, you’re brought up as a christian, no knowledge of anything logical, and ingrained in your mind is the process of not questioning, so naturally you’re entire drive of curiosity has been cleared. No natural yearning for learning. hehe, anyway, in destroying this drive, you’ll never learn anything useful, which also, in your religion, will make you afraid of change. New information is change. You’re afraid of this, especially because you do not understand this. So you definately won’t learn anything new, and you’ll be taught that you’re going to teach your kids to follow all of this same path, so it’ll continue for generations.
Faith is believing what you know ain’t true.Mark Twain