The statistics abound. Fewer people going to church, fewer people subscribing to the concept of a deity, a rise in atheism and agnosticism, more demands for separation of church and state. As someone who was raised, and still essentially lives in, a ‘Christian home’, I understand completely.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve been to Sunday service. After cumulatively more than two decades, I decided that I needed a break. The reasons were myriad and varied, but the primary point was that I realized that my spiritual development was being stunted in favour of my religious development. No sane person can look at history and not acknowledge the disruption, destruction and distress that religion has caused.

So now I get the questions at home. Am I done with God? Did I stop believing in him? Have I been taken over by ‘the world’? And I know it would be pointless to explain my spiritual decision to a religious person.

I didn’t stop going to church because I stopped believing in God. I didn’t stop going to church because I’m consumed with “the World”. No, I stopped because I’m tired of the sameness of the message. I’ve heard all the Bible stories. I’ve heard all the interpretations of them from at least three different preachers. I’m tired of the hate and hypocrisy, the tunnel vision. I’m tired of hearing a supposedly enlightened person use a platform to attack one set of persons repeatedly. Where’s the value in the message if it is used to condemn consensual sex while non-consensual heterosexual sex ruins lives on an hourly (and in some countries, minutely) basis. Where’s the message about rape, where’s the condemnation of pedophilia? Where is the church’s focus on feeding the hungry, tending the sick, housing the homeless, clothing the naked and so many other things that are mentioned in the Bible more than condemning and judging?

I stopped going to church because I’m tired of The message being peppered with hate and condemnation. I’m tired of my understanding of The Creator being filtered through a judgemental being. I’ve long thought that we are foolish to think that we can comprehend the magnitude of a being who can create something as complex as this existence. How can we, who have still not fully grasped how our own bodies work, really believe that we understand the mind of God. How can we put so much stock in the interpretation of a book that was written and edited by man? How can we think to understand something that we only know someone else’s concept and interpretation of?

So  stopped. I took a big step back. I decided that the only way I could really understand, was to seek for myself. I’m no longer seeking religious understanding and validation, I’m seeking spiritual awareness and enlightenment. I need to reconnect with what is truly important. I need to learn to love fully and without qualifications. Maybe some people need the filter, maybe church is the best option for them. It wasn’t for me. 

3 thoughts on “Awakening

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