Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Losing my religion

That's me in the spotlight,
That's me in the corner,
 losing my religion.


I have a feeling that part of the problem with Christmas this year, is that it's the first year in my life when I really, truly know that I don't believe.

It will be the first year that I do not go to church or a carol service of any sort, by choice.

You see, I have wrestled for years with my Christian faith. And have come to the conclusion that it is not OK with me. There are too many central tenets which are antithetical to my personal beliefs.

I do not believe in the Christian idea of heaven.
I do not believe that god is "our father"
I do not believe in a virgin birth
I do not believe in the creator god of the old testament
I positively abhor the god who smites and advocates death and destruction as judgement against his enemies. That is not what or who GOD is.
I despise what has been done in the name of god throughout the centuries
I do not believe that Jesus is the only son of God
I do not believe that god is male... or female
I do not agree with only men being allowed to minister.
I do not believe in the resurrection
Nor do I believe in the rite of eucharist.

It is pretty undeniable that I am NOT Christian.

To paraphrase Emerson,I am ashamed to see what a shallow village tale our so-called religion is".

I have read and re-read the bible. Debated on the doorstep with Jehovah's Witnesses. I have read spiritual texts from many people and belief systems. At grad school in Cambridge I used to go to church twice on a Sunday - mainly for the beautiful music. As a mum of one I used to go to Quaker meeting most Sundays. I have had a lot of religion in my life.

But I now know that I cannot call myself Christian.

I am spiritual. Deeply so. And believe in a universal god energy.

But I know that my rejection of Christianity puts me at odds with so many - some who analyse their own faith deeply, and others who live inside it like a cosy old jumper which was handed down to them by their grandmother. A large part of me is sad that I cannot do that, be like that too. It would be much safer, easier, accepted, acceptable, straight forward.

And so here I am this Christmas - knowing that for the first time in my life it really isn't about the baby Jesus for me. It truly isn't. It is about the light and darkness. And celebration, feasting and family. And so tomorrow, we shall celebrate Solstice with friends, food and creativity. That is what feels most "true" for me. But the Pagan festivals are not settled in my soul either. They are new to me.

So here I stand. Between traditions. Knowing what is not true for me. Sensing what might be. Everything is shifting, it feels uncertain.


  1. so identify with this Lucy, but I do call myself 'christain' although i dont go to church, or read the bible, or believe 'the way' is through Jesus, but I do feel I live by christian values of love and kindness to others and i do pray to MY higher power- sometimes she is a she, other times a he! As a Reiki teacher I follow the reiki principles as part of my daily prayers, I love hymns that praise god (my god!), I sometimes celebrate the pagan festivals, I love to follow the cycles of the moon, and i am interested in religions but choose not to follow any. I take bits from each of them that resonate with me. I know christians who have issues with that, but thats their stuff not mine! Be filled with Love and Light and create happy times with your family! much love Rachael xxx

  2. totally relate. Am celebrating Yule this year for the second time after an upbringing in the Christian church and feeling strangely relaxed about it all. I hope you have peace in your heart throughout the season. We don't need labels or boxes do we?

  3. Totally we don't need labels or boxes. But I feel I have a hole where that bit of uncertainty used to live - though there was doubt, it was wrapped in the familiar, in tradition, in childhood, it was comforting in some way. For many years Jesus has been one of many teacher/ guru/ wise figures rather than (perhaps ever) "the one". My problem was, the way things were, every time I came in contact with church,the Bible etc I would get so angry, so grrrrrrr. I needed to admit that it really wasn't true for me, and that was OK...

  4. Wow, I connect with you so much here on this. I wrote a very similar post a few years ago. I have no anger but I like no rules. Do/believe what feels right. :)

  5. So many of us have been here. I was raised Christian but left the Church 30 years ago. When you are a Christian you KNOW the truth and much of your identity is tied up with being a Christian. So leaving this behind left me feeling vulnerable and not sure who I was. But I decided I was OK with that. It was OK not to KNOW. In fact, I felt better about that. I would never have had the journey I have had if I had not left the Church. Just allow yourself to be where you are and honor your journey.

  6. Someone sent me a little facebook graphic the other day that said "If people tell you you can't have Christmas without Christ, ask them how they can have Thursday without Thor"

    That's probably a little snarky and unconstructive - I accept other people's rights to celebrate their holiday as they see fit, but like you, Lucy, there's very little I respond to about the Christmas season that has anything to do with actual religious holiday.

    I love your description about the season as being about light and darkness - that resonates strongly for me. For what it's worth, I don't actually have a Christmas/Chanukah (I was born Jewish)/Solstice tradition - what I do varies from year to year.

  7. My own personal take on it is this dearest.

    I don't read the bible, as I think much of it is twisted, manipulated, made up. I violently disagree with any sort of crusades, and all campaigns where evil is done to others under the veil of being religiously ok, or in the name of god. I think the Christians stole a lot of the pagan holidays and layered over the top of them with their own symbols etc. Generally, I think Catholicism stinks. I think there are truths buried under all the muck of every religion. Within the Christian texts, the concept of God as love, is where I'm at. Love energy, prayer energy, I do believe in. God with one face - no. I think god has a million faces. That's why I'm a believer in multiple faiths, the ceremonies and rituals are all valid as they are simply local interpretations and expressions of the same thing. Wherever there is love, there is god. I don't believe god is a separate entity from us, or a heavenly father above. this is a comforting image, especially when our own father may have failed us, so I get why people cling to it. I think God has fatherly aspects, as well as motherly ones, as well as childish manifestations as well as clownish ones. God is as much in a flower or the laugh of a child as a piece of turd or a Lamborghini. God is not male or female specifically, god is not exclusive to followers of any particular religion. Being close to god is simply choosing love over hate. People try to own god for themselves, pin it down, use god to induce fear in others, to control others. This is human greed and selfishness. God is seperate from that and beyond that crap. God is you, and me and everyone and everything. God does not hate because god is simply accumulated helpful, positive energy. We feel far from god when we are angry with ourselves, angry with life, but it's there for the taking, ready for you to fall back into the love blanket that god is. It's the fabric of the universe, and we are all made of that stardust that is also called the force. XXX

  8. Well done Lucy for being so honest and open. It's lovely that you've arrived here. It wouldn't be "much safer, easier, accepted, acceptable, straight forward" for you to be Christian, it would be a betrayal of who you are.
    Reading the comments, I love the comment above from Motherfunker, it echoes exactly how I feel about religion. God is energy, religion is manipulation of that.

  9. Thanks all - thanks Amy - and as always go MF!!! xxx

  10. I can totally relate to this. We haven't considered ourselves as Christians for a few years now, but have still celebrated Christmas as we always have. We go to our city's cathedral crib service on Christmas Eve, not to worship God, but to enjoy the tradition and a religion's songs.

    This year I know that I am going to change very deeply in a spiritual way. After a crisis a few weeks ago, I have decided to stop dancing round the edges of a more spiritual life and start making a true intention to explore my spiritual side in far more depth.

    I know that next Christmastime we will be celebrating the Solstice as much as, if not more than, the newer, Christian story.

  11. Wonderful Claire. Love that feeling of something brewing in the spiritual sphere!!

  12. I think it takes real courage and conviction to move through all that you have, and come to a personal conclusion about your sense of faith and spirituality. Good for you!

  13. I am totally with you Lucy, I was where you are a couple of years ago. I am relaxed about it all now, I hope you come to be as well.
    It's so true what MF says, the "Christian" holidays are so Pagan in origin! So we do not have to give up all of the holidays we held dear as "Christians", we just have to go back to our roots!



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