Sunday, 26 June 2016
I Made A Mistake Today
I made a mistake today. I attended a Christian family event. Went to support Joy really, as I knew she quite liked the idea of us going as a family. I got up in the morning with a best foot forward ethos, vowing to be on my very best behaviour. Vowing to be courteous, and something close to respectful. The trouble is that there is nothing about the doctrine of Christianity that convinces me that it is anything other than an atavistic yearning after an imaginary friend. And when I'm surrounded by dozens and dozens of believers, all singing and praying and solemly listening to the generic youthful pastor it strikes me as a wasteful, woeful experience. It isn't that the patrons aren't kindly and generous, and I believe they are truly seeking to be better versions of themselves. It's just that looking from the outside in the experience is weird and disquieting and just so far removed from my own personal experience. I honestly could not wait to drive the two hours home, to clear my head of it all. Perhaps much of this is to do with the fact that I shed my evangelical skin over a decade ago, and in the years since I have rebuilt my life, rebuilt me. The process is ongoing but today reminded me that there's always residue. The past always leaves a mark. And of course there remains the fact that many of my closest family are bible believing Christian's, delightful people on a journey so far removed from my own. Just how do I reconcile this with my instinctive need to value reason and evidence above all else? It is a challenge for me because I love truth. Even when it is blunt and cruel and indifferent. Seeking truth irrespective of how it left me feeling was a game changer for me. It meant that I had no excuse for self deceipt. I wonder if that is at the root of my discomfort? This suspicion I have that religion, in every shape or guise, is the ultimate expression of self deceipt. How do I even say this without causing offence or hurt to those I love? When I get too close to formal religion I just recoil now; I just cannot cope. Which is why my exposure to it will, from this day on, be limited to weddings and funerals and carol services. The week in week out stuff is just bewildering to me, and I came away feeling like I had forayed into an alien world. I deliberately spent the service attempting to surf the net on my phone, but even then you cannot help but hear some of the generic canards. All this talk about God being in control. About how he knew the result of the referendum. The generic preacher talk just kept on coming. I wonder if there were any amidst the congregation going through the transition that I underwent so many years ago? That desperately futile attempt to square the circle, to convince themselves that they don't have to walk away, that if they just pray enough, believe enough, some semblance of faith will return. I hope none of what I have written here comes across as condescending? These are just my very human musings on what was a genuinely weird day. I feel utterly detached as I write this, and I am trying to chart some path that allows me to have some level of respect for those who hold such views. Perhaps it is a weakness of mine that I even struggle in this regard?