Where i’m coming from

I recently came across this letter that i wrote to God in January 2006 in one of my attempts to rekindle my faith. I think it had been one of my new years resolutions that year to go to church and read my bible and be A Good Christian again.

It’s clear how confused i was, and how much i wanted to believe, even though i had so many doubts. Nothing made sense to me, but i was somehow sure there was some kind of a god or spirit out there, and i obviously really cared about not offending that being.

I want to post it now, so that you can see where i’ve come from, and why i’m so much happier now that i’ve given up worrying about all this stuff!

Hello God. I’ve been missing you. You know I spent last year pretty much ignoring you, or just being indifferent towards you. I was confused and didn’t know what I believed, so I just chose to ignore you and religion most of the time. And then I was thinking, there’s something missing in my life, and I made a wild guess that perhaps it was you. Well I’ve got so much to be thankful for, and I really have a good life: I’ve got a job that I enjoy (most of the time) and pays me well, I live in a beautiful city and have pretty much everything I need, plus a wonderful partner to share it all with. So if everything’s so good, why do I feel so sad and empty a lot of the time? Is it that ‘God-shaped hole’ that people talk about?

So I thought I’d go back to church again, I’d read my Bible again, I’d pray again. And I mean proper prayers, not my indifferent sort of prayers where I didn’t really care whether you were listening or not. I thought it was time I started up a proper friendship with you again and got to know you like I knew you when I was little. Only I’m not sure whether I ever did, or whether I was just convincing myself. It’s hard to know for certain, you see.

And now I find, you’re not where I left you. You’ve gone somewhere else and I can’t find you where I thought you’d be. Well to tell the truth, I can’t go back to where I used to be. I’ve changed. My childhood beliefs were all based on what other people had told me, and me taking their word for it. I can’t do that anymore, God. Different people say different things, and I don’t know who to believe. Who’s right, who’s wrong? Or is it all relative? Maybe everyone’s right, in their own way. Maybe it’s only with the combination of every belief that we get the full picture. I suspect that any individual view is probably a distorted picture of you …

Can we ever know you completely, or are you un-knowable and un-fathomable? Are you external, somewhere up there looking over us, or are you internal, the still small voice in my heart? Maybe you’re my sub-conscience, or maybe my super-conscience? Are you one God, are you a trinity, or are you many? Could you be different things to different people? Is it up to everyone to find their own truth? Is the truth within us, or can we only access you in one way? Did Jesus have all the answers, or was Mohammed right? Did the Buddha really find enlightenment? Is Jesus really the only way to the Father, like he said?

What if I don’t believe in heaven? Can I still be a Christian if I find that reincarnation seems a more probable theory? Or maybe we’re just deluding ourselves, and we just die and that’s it, game over. Well, that seems unlikely, I like to think that some part of us lives on … but hey, can I just say I don’t know? Shall we just wait and see? Do I have to have any particular belief?

Will I ever know the truth with absolute certainty? Or do I just have to have ‘faith’? What if blind faith just isn’t cutting it for me at the moment? Can’t I find some answers somewhere? Yet if I do, how can I know that I can trust those answers?

Is the Bible as meaningful to us today as it was when it was written? Should it be updated and re-interpreted to fit today’s world, or does it remain the same for all eternity? Do you have a new word to bring to us today, or is the new word actually just the old word, heard in a new way?

Is there such a thing as a Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit fill me? Has it ever done, or did I just imagine it? Could it have been wishful thinking, getting carried away in the excitement and emotion? If someone prays for the Holy Spirit to fill me, and it doesn’t feel like anything is happening, is that my fault? Am I too cynical, is that what’s preventing me from coming near to you? It’s hard to trust you when I’m feeling so uncertain.

Do you love me at all times, or are there times when you can’t bear to look at me because I’m so sinful? Do I have to earn your favour? Do I have to repent and receive forginevess? Will I be cut off from your love until I do that? Or can I come just as I am to worship you?

Will you help me to be a better person? I don’t really like myself very much at the moment. I want to be a better person, and I’ll do my best to change and become more loving, more tolerating more accepting … and less STRESSED!!! I’d really appreciate your help, if you’d like to help me. But you’ll have to speak a bit louder, God, cos at the moment I honestly just feel like I’m talking to myself. Still, I’m here and I’m willing for you to take me, break me and re-make me, if that’s what you want to do. It’s okay with me.

I’ll try to listen more carefully. Maybe I’m saying “Quiet Lord, thy servant is speaking” when I should be saying “Speak Lord, thy servant is listening”. I’ll make an effort, I promise. We’ll have some quiet time together today, how’s that?

Just let me know, yeah? Just give me a sign or something. Or until you do, I’ll just keep going to church and doing the things that I think might awaken me to you again. At least I know that I want to know you again. Last night I was crying because it felt like you’d abandoned me. But then I thought that’s a good thing – at least I’m showing some sort of emotion, which I guess is better than indifference. I’m coming back to you, God, and I hope you’ll find me.

With love,
aimee
January 2006

I can tell that i was heavily influenced by Sara Groves at that time, an artist who i still appreciate. I had also clearly been reading some of the “Conversations With God” books by Neale Donald Walsch books. I’ve no idea why i found reincarnation particularly plausible just then!

Needless to say, i never did really find God again, although i tried hard a few times after this. I even decided at one point to deliberately suspend all rational belief in order to have the blind faith that i thought i needed. It’s funny what cognitive dissonance can do to us, isn’t it?

This explains why i am so passionate about science, reasoning and rational thought these days. That is the place i find true comfort; that’s where things make sense to me.

For more about my current thoughts and beliefs, see:

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11 comments on “Where i’m coming from

  1. Thanks for sharing this aimee. It seem to me that you were doing a lot more thinking and questioning at that point than some people do in their whole lives. You were making a real effort to make sense of life, and at the time you thought that the answer had to involve a religious explanation. Given your context and knowledge at that point, I think you were acting rationally in many ways.

    If I might hazard a guess about your interest in reincarnation… this might have prompted by fear of mortality. After I began my “rational enlightenment” about 15 years ago, the very last irrational belief I discarded was my belief in some kind of life after death (in my case it was not religious, more an arbitrary personal construct made of wishy-washy hopes). I think it’s probably the hardest thing of all to accept – that we “just die”.

    • thank you Mike! understanding why we exist at all, and how we can cease to exist is complicated. stories and beliefs may be comforting, but that doesn’t make them true.

  2. Christopher Hitchens used to say: You don’t become an atheist; you discover you’ve always been one.

    He thought, just as there are people constitutionally incapable of living without superstition, there were also people equally incapable of accepting what was logically incoherent and empirically false. It’s just that it can take years to admit to yourself that the rituals have always been empty for you, and the theology never convincing.

    Certainly I’m like that. As a young child I simply accepted that adults said stupid things. The headmaster said suffering made you strong, parents said you should eat when you weren’t hungry because other children were starving…and priests tried to explain how Cain wasn’t really marrying his sister. But it wasn’t till age 13 that I found the word for what I was.

    So I wonder: When did Aimee become an atheist – as opposed to become comfortable calling herself one? Did she ever truly believe, or only till teen years, or into her thirties?

    The archeology of one’s own memory. It takes a lot of digging, and it’s full of surprises.

    • I don’t know when i became an atheist, but i remember the moment at which i realised it. Funnily enough, somebody was praying for me to receive the holy spirit. I had this lightbulb moment: “I don’t think there is a holy spirit!” and it all came tumbling down right then! :)

  3. That’s quite a long letter that should be read by many to uncover their eyes and to create a question mark is their conscience. And it seems that you were indeed a little confused. I hope you are better now. I guess that believing is not bad as you get to blame something for all the bad things happening to you, or at least questioning. Also, you get to thank someone for your happiness although the credit belongs to someone else. However, in the present time, I think that we are all mature enough to accept that the things we do and the things happening to us are a consequence of our actions and that it is not the will of the God/Gods, as in ancient times. I also think that God is a good tool used to make people stop questioning about the state of things and to create a set of moral rules in the society (although these are moral rules and do not need a divine punishment to be enacted) Therefore, God is a manipulation tool used by the law makers in the past. This “not questioning” rule has stopped us achieving many purposes and uncovering many mysteries of our world that could have been solved before we got to the critical point we find ourselves today. There are so many to be said on this subject and the implications are numerous. Nice post!

  4. One needs to find a little time these days to remember God and think about him. People are getting so busy and forgetting the real purpose of life.

  5. I think that the purpose in life is, that people should live how they want to live.
    God left us with many choices, one less benefitial than the other but in some way we can choose what we want, and whatever we may choose maybe our destiny.
    Many Hindus believe in the possibility that only the important points, atleast the points in life with the greatest influence might be written and the little ones may be our choice.
    Example: Point a and e are important points to reach in life, but b to f are minor points. Numerous possibilities could be here and it may be our choice wich one we will take, except for a and e.
    It may be possible that it was your destiny to have doubt your about God, and maybe its even your destiny to not believe in God.
    I kind of agree with Akasha because people have done the horrible things in the name of God, just because some of them wanted power.
    This may have led atheist to question the concept of God, i can understand them.
    But the human errors and wrong choices are not Gods fault, i believe.

    I hope my post makes sense, lol…

    ziekenhuisdieet

  6. Nice post. Your writing style is very beautiful and your article is very attractive. You share a very useful information that is very useful for a lot of people and it will also help for many people. Keep writing. Thanks for sharing.

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