It seems that the last vestiges of my faith have slipped away. God, the gods, Yahweh, Brahman, Allah, and/or Tao have left me with nothing. How can I go on believing what I can no longer believe? How can I believe something which offers me no evidence? The staggering silence in the midst of my doubts has been like a slap in the face – misery compounded on misery. So it seems that my options include anything from deist or lower. I am not sure what I am yet, but I don’t see any way to reconcile my faith as a theist, or as a Christian, or whatever else you might have called me.
I don’t intend to get into all the details of why the evidence is largely underwhelming and ambiguous, nor how I went about my search. Some of that has been discussed in some of my other recent blog entries. I will say that my prayers have not been answered, and that, to me, was the final straw. It’s all well and good when you pray that you’ll have a good day and then it gets “answered,” but it seems that the prayers that ask for unambiguous evidence always get shunted. I’ve found that one of the most revealing questions that we can ask of the theist’s world is, “Why doesn’t God heal amputees?” A seemingly benign question, until you realize its implications.
But for the past little while, I’ve been doing a little informal experiment. It’s not double-blinded, and it does not include a representative sample of the population, but I think it is still telling. It impacted me, at any rate. For the past month or so, I have not prayed at all. I have also not read the Bible – well, except for what I have to read as part of the Religious Studies course I’m taking. At any rate, there has been no significant communication back and forth between God and me, and what’s more, as the last bits of my faith have slipped away, my life has not been particularly “Christian.” I mean, I haven’t gone out and started drinking and doing drugs and all that, but I have not made any conscious effort to remain Christian. For at least a month. The lines have been cut. The IV has been drained. The door has been shut.
And what has been the result of this? Absolutely nothing. I have noticed no significant difference between my life as a Christian, consciously striving to be closer to God, and my life as a non-Christian, just living and doing my thing. There have been no major calamities during this time period, no strange occurrences, and most disappointingly, no miraculous events or special appearances. (I thought that perhaps God might want to contact me to patch things up after having such a great relationship before. Apparently he’s moved on.) In fact, there have been several notably good events that have happened to me. I have been spending time with my friends, and have had several great times with them. Just a couple days ago, I managed to sell the acoustic guitar that I have been trying to sell for about two years now. A guy emailed me after seeing one of my ads, and he and his daughter came to look at it, liked it, and the next day he came by and paid for it and took it off my hands. I literally jumped in the air and did a happy dance. I finally got rid of the stupid thing. And did God help with that one? Not likely. I know it’s not a thing of dramatic importance, but he said he cared for the sparrows – I thought he might have tried to help me sell the thing.
No, life has been no different on the other side of the fence. It still has its ups and downs, its good days and its bad days. I had those as a Christian. The only difference is that I don’t attribute all the good things as a blessing from God, and all the bad things as a “test” or as Satan trying to destroy me. And what about this unhappiness? I heard that life without God was supposed to be unhappy and miserable. But I have talked with non-Christians, and they seem no more or less happy than anyone else. I’ve talked with happy atheists, and I’ve talked with miserable Christians, so what gives? Where is this difference that everyone talks about? I see none of it.
And like I said, there have been no miraculous appearances. Life on the outside has been 100% business as usual. If God has no qualms about sending angels (and we know from the Bible that he doesn’t) or appearances of Jesus (and we know from the Bible, particularly the Gospels, that he doesn’t) in order to get people to do or believe certain things, then where’s mine? Where is my message from heaven? Where’s my heavenly door-to-door messenger, shining in white? It likely sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I’m absolutely not. If God is how it says he is in the Bible, then why on earth does it not line up with anything we see today? In the Bible we see talking animals, heavenly angels, Satanic temptations, miraculous healings, fantastic visions, and the dead being raised back to life. Where is this stuff today? We’ve got dubious accounts of healings (which is a whole new ball game that I can get into if someone wants me to), and we’ve got some equally dubious accounts of visions (many of which are completely contradictory to the Bible, or at best are about things not mentioned at all by the Bible), but that’s about it. Moreover, we have those same two things in about every other religion on earth. So it’s more likely that these sorts of things just kind of….happen. No matter what religion, or what God, you believe in. What’s with that? I was told that I was getting some kind of special deal with Christianity, and I find out now that it’s not such a great deal after all.
No sir, life outside the confines of Christianity appears to be no different. If that’s the case, then why are we in the confines? I just don’t see the point anymore.
Addendum: I realized just now (about an hour later) that this post makes me sound exactly like a little kid trying to get attention. His parents won’t pay attention to him, so he runs off and makes trouble to get them to pay attention. Well, the analogy holds correctly. I’m a kid, throwing a tantrum, to see if the big Daddy in the sky will show me enough consideration to at least let me know that he exists. I don’t even care at this point if he loves me, but I’d at least like to know if he’s there. Right now….he seems to be an absent Father. If I get smited or struck by lightning, I guess I’ll know otherwise.