Thinking Thursday…

I ran into an old friend at the local video store a few day ago, and our conversation got me thinking. As most of you know, I no longer consider myself religious or even theistic. I’ve pretty much embraced the naturalistic world-view and in a lot of ways, I’ve never been happier. I’m beginning to reclaim responsibility for my own actions and choices, and I no longer have to wonder about WWJD. The only entities I have to answer to are my wife and daughter and myself. It’s pretty groovy.

Not everything is so rosy though. The community I based a good third of my life on is pretty much closed to me now. Yes, there are a few shining examples of acceptance and true friendship, (thank you so much, you know who you are!), but realistically, I can’t go back to the place I called “home” for so long. Sure, I can go there physically, and there are even some who would still welcome me, but it would be awkward and difficult to say the least. Better to just let that part of my life go.

That’s the problem though. I’ve invested so much of my life and energy in that place. I never finished college, never got a degree, never became a teacher or scientist, never followed those intellectual dreams. I thought that there was a god who had a plan for my life, and that plan was for me to be a lay-minister, sharing god’s word at a summer camp. Maybe it was just an excuse, a way for me to avoid taking on real challenges, but I like to think that I had the best of intentions.

Most people assume that one de-converts from christianity (or religion in general) because of anger or bitterness. “I got hurt/betrayed by god/believers so I’m leaving those bastards!” That can be true for some, but for me, there’s no bitterness about god or other believers. Most of them are people who realy want to do the right thing. My disbelief is the end result of many years of questioning and thinking, and following the truth no matter where she be. If I’m bitter at all, it’s because I can’t shake the feeling that it was all for nothing. My education and training prepared me to be a Director/Program Director of a religious camp. I spent some of the best years of my life thinking up ways to proselytize and convert kids into a religion that I no longer believe in. Not only did I waste my own time, I spent it working against the very things I cherish now.

It’s so hard not to feel that I’ve wasted my life.

So what now?

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Thinking Thursday…

  1. David B

    I know part of that feeling. I hadn’t invested nearly as much time, money, or energy into camp as you had, but certainly the emotional and intellectual effort. I know more about Christianity and the Bible than probably 95% of Christians (and you probably do too; I think it’s often that way with intellectual apostates), and it’s almost a shame that I don’t get to use that knowledge in everyday life.

    Even more than a year after becoming an open atheist, I sometimes still get very uncomfortable thinking back on my efforts in proselytizing at camp, to my friends, through youth groups, through singing groups . . . . I sometimes feel like crashing Celebrate and just going on a huge apology rant for teaching people that crap.

    One of the things that helped me sort of move past the guilt and remorse was to think back to my development as a Christian, to try and understand what shaped my decision to go whole-hog into it. Part of it was being born to Christian parents. Another part was more personal, more a psychological response to home life. I probably would have submerged my “true self” into some other fantasy or endeavor if it hadn’t been Christianity.

    This part of the “post-Christian decompression process” is really tough; best of luck working through it.

  2. mike baker

    listen, anything you do in life is not a waste of time as long as you learned something from it. you can’t tell me that you didn’t learn anything from your experiences at camp. because i know i did.

    and remember any “christian” person who judges you or doesn’t accept you for who you are is not following the rules of their own religion. i mean realy isn’t that one of the first rules you learn as a christian.

    even as an athiest you are already a better christian than they are.

  3. Matt Bailey

    Hey Scott,
    I certainly hope that I am not one of those people that have shut you out or whom you have shut out. I have wondered if you might be bitter about something, or if something happened. I read now that you are not and nothing did.

    I certainly haven’t been in touch for a while and don’t know a fraction of the questions that were running through your head while you were working out your world view. I am sorry for that – not that I would have tried to “fix” you, but simply because I was not there and I hate the idea of being shut out of your life now.

  4. dezrah

    No worries, Matt, I’ll just say that if you’re still reading my posts, you probably aren’t one of the people I was referring to. 😉

    Anywho, I didn’t mean to imply that I was shutting people out of my life, rather, that I’ve been shut out of some people’s lives. Also, because of the nature of the changes in my life, a career and lifestyle that I had spent the majority of my time and effort on, is now closed to me. Not by choice, but as a consequence of trying to live a more honest and true life.

  5. I loved aas much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following.
    unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly
    a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s