The Reluctant Atheist - A look back

So, inspired by CaraColeen's post of her old journal, I went and found some of MY old journal entries.

My father (biology teacher/devout Catholic) was very surprised to hear of my budding atheism in the past few years. His memory of me in high school is as a Bible-thumper, youth minister wannabe. He likes to tell himself that I stopped believing because I absorbed my husband's perspective.

Not so. Even when I was very much mired in the depths of religiosity, I had doubt, and it killed me. This was written 11 years ago, when I was 17. I was in Paris for World Youth Day, at the Sacre Coeur Basillica, listening to various speakers.

It's chapels with glorious art & sculptures & paintings dedicated to God that just fill me with awe. Just thinking of what inspired these artists almost makes me jealous of their faith.
This young woman says "Jesus loves you. All you have to do is believe." That's all. For me, that's almost like saying "You can touch the stars. All you have to do is fly." I've been searching for my faith, actively, for more than two years. And still, I can't believe. I WANT to, with all that I am. I want to welcome God into my heart, but something always stops me. I have sacrificed so much to get here, and still it isn't enough.

Now this guy says to give all you are to Christ. I guess I want to want to. There's a saying "Let go & let God." But I cannot. I feel almost like a baby bird that can't believe that he can fly. That first step out of the nest is the worst. I don't know if, as I step off the edge, I'll be disappointed, and plummet to the earth below, or if I'll soar with God.

To be able to let go & let God is the greatest gift. I wonder if the people who say that realize that it isn't that easy.


I have to say, I mourn my loss of faith. I *liked* the idea of a benevolent being who was looking out for me, and loved me unconditionally. However, something being "warm & fuzzy" doesn't make it real. While I think most believers are self-deluded, they have comfort in their delusions.

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Comment by CJoe on July 14, 2009 at 2:55pm
This is good! I'm glad to help inspire :D...

Every time I look back on old journal entries, I remember the struggle it was to "believe". When I was in Nashville, there was tremendous pressure to speak in tongues and I just couldn't do it... because I wouldn't fake it, and I just felt like what I heard from other people was gibberish. There were some that believed I wasn't "saved" because I couldn't speak in tongues and pushed it really hard. It was actually a bit traumatizing, especially considering the fact that my grandfather (a Southern Baptist preacher) doesn't speak in tongues... and that meant HE wasn't "saved", which was preposterous and absurd to me, as well as offensive. How dare they judge someone's salvation?

Anyway, my biggest issue with the Christian community was that it was so anti-intellectual. I was horrified, actually. Once I "got serious about my faith", I honestly expected there to be intellectual Christians. At the time, I didn't realize that was an oxymoron. What I was looking for was the freedom to be who I was, and to enjoy asking questions and getting answers... what I found was condemnation and censorship. It was shocking, but I tried (unsuccessfully) to adjust. I thought the problem was ME.

Anyway... this is great. I'm going to post more journal entries; I hope you will, too. :)
Comment by Dave G on July 14, 2009 at 3:22pm
I kind of wish I'd been more of a journal writer in my youth, I'd like to be able to look back and see the old me.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 14, 2009 at 3:28pm
Oh man... I always thought journal writing was a bad idea. Just seemed like personally recording evidence to be used against you when it fell into the wrong hands.
Not if.... WHEN.
Weird thing about it, though.. I wasn't even that bad of a kid.

WONDERFUL post! Thanks for sharing!
Comment by James on July 14, 2009 at 3:38pm
Thanks for sharing! I'd like to be able to look back and see what I though in my youth, but then again I was never super religious at any point. Sure, I used to believe but never strongly. It would be cool to have a reference to see just how far I've come though.


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