Sometimes you have to remind yourself that one of the reasons you aren’t a part of something anymore isn’t because you didn’t like the thing itself, but because you didn’t like the people involved.
Not just because it clashed with your science or your personal research, but because people who are fanatical stop listening the moment you tell them you disagree. They are convinced you aren’t there to teach them, that you’re there to yell at them for being wrong.
I will admit I learned my extreme patience from these arguments, however, butting heads without any support is the most difficult experience of my life. And honestly, going through depression without ANY help from my “faith,” caused me to lose it. To be told over and over again that I just needed to SNAP out of it. Now, the faith itself isn’t to blame, and I need to be very clear about that.
My depression became a catalyst for the change I needed to make in my life. I was going to end up in this place anyway. Studying Astrophysics was already leading me in that direction. My faith was too small. It couldn’t stand up to the questions I had. It fell before me like all of the others when I had questioned them. For some people, faith is necessary. It is good, it keeps them good. To call it a crutch is a false equivalent and cruel. I don’t care if the fear of an afterlife is what causes you to be decent. As long as you are decent.
I was lucky enough to be raised in a religion that promoted equality of caste, gender, race, and denomination. One that was adamant “God” was the center and we were all on paths home. If anyone says otherwise they’ve made a habit of misreading the texts.
My mother explained the analogy best to me when I was 14. We were driving back home, and she decided to take the opportunity to teach us something; by taking a different road. It took a little bit longer, but we got to see another part of the landscape around our house. While driving she explained the roads were different, but if used properly, they all lead to the places we wanted to go.
That is what the faith I grew up in taught her, so she taught us. But people corrupt it and spin it into shadows of what it could be.
I don’t care to argue this. I’m not here to inform you about things I no longer practice, I just need to get the words out. Because I’m sitting alone a room, unable to do anything. This is the last I will speak of faith, or lack of, unless it is to answer a question that delves into why I am the way I am. I’m not here to tell you to believe or not believe. I write because I want you to think for yourself. Don’t let “traditionalists” get in the way of reading and learning things on your own. If you’re going to argue with people like that, you have to know more than they do.
One day you might find after you’ve learned as much as you think you can, that you don’t know anything at all. That the arguments are petty and small. That there is beauty in our insignificance. We tiny people, who may fade without a whisper, should spend the limited time we have learning and doing as much good in this world as we can. Because there will never be enough time.