Is it better to self deceive?
I can't believe I'm even asking the question, but it's burning away at me so I don't have much choice. It's also got massive personal ramifications, and my previous answers have turned my whole life on its head.
I'm going to start by wondering whether truth is more important than comfort? I ask because truth doesn't necessarily lead to an increase in happiness. In fact, I would say in my case the opposite has proven true. Prior to 2006 I had a large number of very close friends, people that I truly loved and respected and would have died for. Actually I still would, but in every other way we're oceans apart. When I left Christianity it was not because it had wronged me, or demanded more than I could give. I left because I no longer believed it to be true, leaving behind a way of life, a culture, a support network.
I haven't rebuilt that circle of friendship. I genuinely don't think I ever shall. Even as I write this I'm welling up, which tells me just how deep some wounds still run. And this is why I ask about the truth vs comfort thing, because I can't have both. It really is one or the other. I cannot return to a religion that I believe to be built upon historical falsehood; I mean what kind of man would that make me? I can answer that, actually; It would make me a snake, a fraud, a parasite clinging onto something just because of what I could get from it. Now I have my flaws, but I won't do that. Yet sometimes I do, if I'm being truly honest, wish that I didn't know what I know. Perhaps ignorance is bliss?
This is so hard to write. I can feel myself unravelling. I sense an ocean of contradictions within me, a craving for friendship and community on the one hand, a desire for truth and honest enquiry on the other.
I'm ten times smarter than I was five years ago, but no happier. I feel a bit pathetic owning up to that. I can accrue new knowledge and use it to guide me in the world, yet I do so knowing that its come at a cost. And this is where the rubber hits the proverbial road; I made a life changing choice and my life changed. It's a bit late in the day to be surprised about this, isn't it? Oddly, I remain on the fringes of my past life because my wife and children continue to attend a Church. I try so hard not to influence my kids too much, yet to be a parent is to influence, either in one way or another. They have to reach their own conclusions about this and I won't, or at least I shall try not to sully their thought processes.
So there it is. I stand between worlds. One foot on one side, and one in the other. I can miss the old yet cannot return, and yet also feel the strong pull of honest enquiry. In a sense I've chosen what I believe to be the truth over comfort, but I've no idea whether this makes me brave or naive?