Monday, 12 March 2012

"The Thing that Makes Me Irrepressibly Happy"

I am a member of Rational One of the members posted this yesterday about his deconversion from religion. I was moved by the post, and I thought it was worth putting out in the general bloggosphere to be shared with the people that read this blog and for anyone else who is thinking of making the change, but is worried about feeling a sadness about leaving behind a lifetime of religious belief.

Read the original post here.
I cannot tell a lie to my friends here at the Rational Skepticism forum; I am undeniably enraptured with the romance of non-belief.
Many were the hours, in the wake of my Born Again Christianity, when I prayed with fervor in the face of failure and a complete lack of any miraculous response. Yet continually I sought Him out, and daily I increased in the galvanization of my unwavering faith.

To me, the pursuit of knowledge engaged by the Scientific Community was an advance column of satanic despoilment and sabotage, seeking to fascinate Mankind by the wily devices of the deceiver. The pursuit of peace and friendship amongst nations was merely the time-wasting conceit of a hell-bound world that failed to acknowledge the Soon-Coming King of Kings who would return imminently to set the whole accursed business aright. 

But in all of this certainty was included the disappointing acknowledgment that the text upon which my life's narrative was founded was itself excavated from the deep historic caverns of events long past, and that its prophetic fulfillment was drawn upon the unfocused reconnaissance of events that were yet to come. I was born too late to see Him raise the dead, and (perhaps) too early to witness the culmination of earth's sinful career in the establishment of The Kingdom. The utter dissatisfaction of it left me weary. Give me a miracle! Or give me an aspirin.

One day my doubts were focused like a laser beam that scorched and eventually tore enormous punctures in my armor. The occasion of this focus was the near-fatal, 95% third-degree burning suffered by a small child in a lighter fluid episode wherein his earthly father did everything in his power to rescue and comfort his agonizing son, but in which his Heavenly Father stood dispassionately by and did nothing. The lance of religious absurdity unhorsed me entirely when the call went out to praise God for his miraculous provision of a medicinal treatment that partially preserved the boy's eyesight even as he writhed in torture and looked forward to a life of pain and disfigurement.

My original doubts were one thing--the inconsistency of the scripture, etc.--but I now realized that the endless effort to justify God in the face of His absolute, consistent failure and undeniable absence from the scene left me unable to continue working on the campaign. The conflict within me allowed me to realize that I not only doubted the truth of my beliefs, but that I also no longer felt motivated, excited, or fascinated by them. 

I used to stand upon the seashore at night listening to the waves lapping the beach and thinking of the awe-inspiring power and authority of their loving Creator, who set the waves in motion and just as certainly established our moral impulses through his Holy Spirit. I now ventured out of an evening with the assurance that the same stars that gave rise to these stormy moonlit billows also engendered the arrangement of heavy elements that was the consciousness inside my head; and that this was the reason for a feeling of connected-ness and awe. I began to understand the fact that no one is telling us what is right or what is wrong, that good and evil are discoveries to be made by those who have the courage to set sail and embark upon the rollicking journey, the trans-oceanic quest for a better world, and a better humanity.

The wind is astern, we are under full sail; science gives us questions that beg for answers, discovery gives us mysteries that arrest our attention; no one is watching us from afar, and no supreme authority is cherishing with wringing hands any plans for our damnation either in a lake of fire or in a dull choir of endless praise. My life began when I was born upon the pitching deck, with the voyage well under way; it will end when I am enshrouded and committed overboard to the whispering waves. For now I am content to walk upon my sea legs and steer by the stars, seeking on behalf of my grandchildren for sunny ports and high intrigue. 

All of these, the thrill that comes with the freedom of my new birth into the realm of Atheism, the ability to finally jettison absolutism and dogma, make my life a romantic adventure into which I plunge with the coming of each gorgeous dawn, a precious treasure that I wish to share while life and breath remain. 

I am truly happy. 
Truly inspired.
And very truly yours,