So you’ve left Christianity (or some other religion) and after a period of never wanting to hear anything about it again, it’s finally time to work out what to do with it.
Recently I decided to actually write my feelings about religion despite any upset that may cause people close to me and, at the same time, define what I’m about now that I don’t have it anymore. Since then my brain has been stamping about yelling at me “BUT WHAT ARE YOU ABOUT!?!?!”, usually at 3am in the dark, dark morning.
Gawd’s sake, calm down. Don’t take it all so seriously.
As is my custom during days of confusion, I turn to the Source of all Knowledge… The Bible.
Just joking. 😀 It’s totally Google.
For a few days I drowned in a sea of other people’s opinions so that I can now present to you my 5 options for dealing with this thing we term ‘ex-christianity’.
1. Forget About It
(I’m just assuming this one exists as obviously those people who have forgotten about it don’t, you know, then write about it).
Just… move on. Start a new life in something you’re passionate about and live as does everybody else.
This has to happen eventually in some form. Some manage to do it easier than others. At the point I regain a Sense of Purpose, Belief in Love and a Place to Call Home again I hope I’ll be ready to say goodbye for good.
2. Be Angry
Christina Greta’s so angry she even wrote a book out about it. So much anger out there; videos showing the ‘contribution’ of religion to the world over the past month, blogs by teenagers, video rants, even just people I meet on the street get angry about Christianity and religion and what it does to people in the world.
I’m angry too. Or rather being exposed to Christian things makes me angry because it reminds me how much of my life and energy I wasted on insecure people’s bullshit.
I just don’t want to dwell on it. Or spread it.
3. Intellectualise It
The writers of Patheos intrigue me, a wide range of intellectuals and thinkers on the subject of religion both theoretical and experiential, blogging, discussing etc. There are dissertations against famous Christian books *cough, cough, Lee Strobel, may you go to a Muslim hell for your deliberate deceit*, debates by Christopher Hitchens and books by Richard Dawkins etc, etc.
To be honest, it all just gives me a bit of a headache and I enjoy life a little less after wading through it. There’s something empty-hole-ish about reading loads of information about why you don’t believe in a concept.
The only thing I can devour all day is anything written or promoted by Alain de Botton, who set up ‘The School of Life’ including producing the 10 commandments for Atheists and a book called Religion for Atheists. An unfortunately titled book that sounds more belligerent than it is. If he ran for President I’d vote for him.
4. Get Active
Shockingly, there are conferences for atheists.
And just like the Christian world, the secular world is broken down into niches and speakers and events etc, etc, including my always all time favourite Womens Conferences *shudder*. Regional Conferences and Think Tanks attract ‘top note’ speakers, although I doubt they take up a love offering. Which could explain the higher price tag and lack of free night sessions.
Student groups, political protestors and bitch fights… you can even go to an atheist home group! Yep, it’s all here, all those things we hated about organised religion that we thought were the bastards of church and humanity rather than what they are; the way people organise themselves around shared values.
Pretty sure I entered Kids Ministry as an excuse not to go to these sorts of things.
5. Use it as a Springboard
I’m not an Intellectual. I’m not Angry (all the time). I’m definitely not a Conference Junkie. And I can’t Forget about it just yet.
So I’ve created my own fifth category.
It is to use all that I’m against to propel me towards what I’m for.
Is it possible that we can use those things which frustrate us and make us angry about The Past like a Springboard instead of a Swamp?
Coming out of religion was like breaking free for me, painful and difficult but at the same time wonderful and liberating! I still have moments where I think “Wow. Is this actually my life? Am I actually getting to do this?” from the simple experience of snowboarding alone down a Spanish Mountain, the sun burning my cheeks, fresh air stabbing my lungs.
Those negative feelings about The Old Life could be used to write and inspire people towards the wonderfulness I’ve found in The New Life; uplifting things, positive things, that even people who haven’t been involved in a religion will find encouraging and meaningful… there’s so much sadness and hurt and bitterness out there around religion.
Could we use our negative experiences into a springboard towards all that is positive and good about this world!?
But first, what are you doing (or did you do) with your ex-christianity?