Once upon a time, I was in a long-distance relationship. We would chat every day on the phone, claim to love each other, and enjoy each other’s company. But there was a big problem… we lived in different countries. Eventually we did meet a few times, and we really enjoyed the times we had together. Unfortunately, it became apparent to me over time that this relationship wasn’t going to work out. Long-distance aside there were other issues going on, which I won’t detail here on my blog. So what did I do? I called it off.
While our relationship was mostly virtual, I felt a big sense of loss and loneliness at the time. It felt like a part of me had been brutally ripped apart, with nothing to relieve the pain. Part of me wanted to go back, and I had fond memories of the special times we had together, but part of me also saw the reality for what it was – it was an unhealthy, non-functional relationship that wasn’t likely to work out. My heart was chasing an empty dream, but that was all it was.
Enter Christianity. We are told that we are in a special relationship with Jesus Christ. He loves us and wants the absolute best for us, to live the life we were supposed to live according to his will. Well OK, it depends on what brand of Christianity you’re in. The more conservative types see Yahweh as a muscly grey-haired wrestler with an appetite for punishment… but that’s side-tracking a bit. But what kind of relationship is it when they don’t even talk back? When they keep you guessing and suffering and blindly stumbling around trying to discern what their ‘will’ is for you? What kind of relationship is it when they punish you for not believing in them, whilst providing no evidence for their own existence at the same time, or they punish you for not doing what they say? Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who enables people to go to Hell for eternity?
To the Christians reading this…
If you are truly content in your religion and are fully satisfied with being in a relationship with Jesus, then I have no more words for you. Stop reading this right now.
Yet, you are here reading this right now. Perhaps you do have some doubts, and that is totally OK. I had several. I would encourage you to investigate every single one of those doubts, don’t put any under a rug. Investigate objectively, with someone else if needed, and see if your doubts have any merit.
If you are unhappy in your religion, you have come to the right place. The thought of leaving may frighten you. You may wonder how it is possible to even live a fulfilled life without religion, but myself and many others who have left will tell you that it is possible. I am not going to sugar coat things here. Leaving is hard, and likely won’t be without consequences. You may lose friends over it, and like a breakup, you may feel sad and disappointed for a while. I know I was. I was sad to find that the God I once believed I had a personal relationship with, who had great plans for me, wasn’t who he said he was, and didn’t even exist. I was not happy when I realised that there probably wouldn’t be an afterlife, where all our wrongs could be magically made right, and we could see lost relatives again.
Trust me, the benefits will far outweigh the losses from leaving. You will feel better over time. You will be in control of your own life with your own purposes instead of being at the whim of someone else’s. You can follow the evidence where it leads with clarity, instead of blindly chasing make believe. Why spend all your life chasing a supernatural force ‘out there’ when you can look inward? Put ‘faith’ and trust in your own abilities, and that of those around you, and you can achieve much more than you thought you could.
I should probably emphasise here that leaving your religion isn’t a magical solution. If you’re an unhappy person, you aren’t suddenly going to be happy and fulfilled. I am not going to present an ‘alternative shop’ to the religion that is Christianity. In fact, if you are looking for something to replace Christianity by replicating it, you will be mistaken, although I totally understand if you feel that way. What you will have is your own rational thoughts, and that of others to guide you. You will no longer seek to use make believe as a crutch to meet your needs; overall, that is a much better thing, for yourself and the world as a whole.
Leaving is scary for many, but a journey is taken one step at a time. When I didn’t know what to do, I read Leaving Your Religion, it gave some useful practical advice in doing so for me. I also created this blog, as a way of helping myself and others who have been through religion. If you are wanting to come out to your Christian friends and family, read my post here on how you might be able to do that.
The grass is greener on the other side, come join us. It won’t be easy, and the grass is far from perfect, but it will be real grass.