Relief

From time to time it hits me just how relieved I am to have relinquished faith.

My lovely bride and I were chatting about this the other day. For years she was plagued by guilt. She tried everything she could think of to assuage, dispel, or otherwise properly deal with such guilt.

It wasn’t guilt about anything in particular, mind you. She had committed no crime, sullied no character. Guilt just kind of hung in the air, like a fog.

For me, pride and discipline comprised my personal cats-‘o-nine-tails. I beat myself up over the continuing presence of these scourges on my character, my failure to meet the humility modeled by and demanded by the Savior.

Unlike my bride, I felt like I gained some ground in my personal struggles. She, unfortunately, remained plagued as ever.

And then…

And then we discovered the awful truth about Jesus, about religion. Jesus was just a guy (and maybe not even that; some say he may never have actually existed). Religion is just a man-made fill-in-the-gaps type of mental and cultural device. The Bible is just an old book, and not a particularly wonderful one at that. So we chucked god.

And, God!, does that feel good! The Mrs. has not felt guilty hardly at all since then. My pride and discipline issues are less imposing, less concerning than they were before.

The relief we both feel, seven years hence, is hard to overstate. Like anything, we have adapted to our new normal and so have been desensitized to it. But like grief at a loved one lost, or laughter at the memory of an old joke, or melancholy about times past, every now and then the relief sweeps over me anew. And I am reminded of the great liberation that comes from releasing (and being released from) faith.

And it is good.

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One thought on “Relief

  1. Thank you for this post – it led me to read the rest of your blog, from your initial essay to present. I can see where you come from when in the letting go of faith you have found relief. Your decision and choice is yours and ultimately, I desire you to continue to pursue that peace, hope and happiness that you (and the rest of us too) desire.

    I believe in all aspects, that we are to strive for that -provided we follow a rudimentary basis of morality. Of course, where and what that basis is founded on is up to each individual – and the social/economical system that we are succumbed to live in.

    Having been an unbeliever at one time, faith for me has provided greater relief than what I had when I had no faith.

    Although, as a believer (for me there are too many things going for belief than my prior unbelief), I often wonder and many times struggle, that what God truly intends in our faith in His provision is to have relief?

    But contrary to what God intends, man defines the way to get that relief is through rules, instructions, actions and descriptions.

    So the question in short, do we make the life of faith more complicated than God intends?

    Whether the story be true (for this sake let’s say that it is) consider the third man on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). A man seen by the state as a criminal, and while they were hanging on the cross, initially mocked Jesus for claiming to be “the Son of God” being unable to save himself or to be saved by God (Mat 27:44). A man who in his final hours changed his heart and stated (and maybe only by fear and in pain) that the mocking towards Jesus was undue and that the death sentence of crucifixion was unjust as Jesus was innocent by law. This man then requested, confessing that Jesus was to “come into His Kingdom”, to remember him.
    This request was granted by the statement of “today you will be with me in paradise”.

    No special prayer, no additional commitment, no “good deeds”, no thought, no action – just acceptance and letting go.

    I feel that as a believer, we can have equal relief to those who have no belief – and maybe more so knowing that in the end there will be eternal relief, joy and happiness.

    Now to just get that damn mind of ours to get out the way.

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