What Happens When You Lose Your Religion?
Here’s the thing, when “Worship services begin to appear hedonistic; prayer requests turn into gossip; prophecies are no longer encouraging and your pastor’s words become empty…” we begin searching for more; similar to Pandora’s box, this action seems innocent but, it usually leads to altering the course of one’s life.
As previously mentioned in my last post, Psychologist Jeffrey Anderson suggests that “Religion works exactly like a drug–like cocaine, or methamphetamine–or like music, or like romantic love…” Similarly, it’s been said, when our minds and bodies adapt to various drugs (illegal or not) dosages need to be increased in order to get the same effect and gratifying type of reward.
[Related thought: maybe this suggests that those highly involved in church ministry are more prone to have addictive personalities; that is, they dove deeper into their faith in order to find more of this drug-like gratification]
But, what happens when the floor finally falls out from beneath us? What happens when we wake up one morning and realize that we no longer believe?
Again, losing one’s faith is 99% of the time a slow and steady process; as research shows only 1% of those who’ve lost their faith lose it overnight.
What Exactly You Lose…
You see, losing one’s faith usually leads to the loss of one’s community, family, and overall structure in which held their entire life together. To say it’s daunting would be the understatement of the century; everything is happening so quickly and seemingly so indiscriminately that one far too easily spirals out of control.
It’s the deep epistemological questions that are now rising to the surface; being uprooted; picked and prodded at; flipped and then turned upside down.
Like a rollercoaster, it can be disorienting.
I’ve said it before but, how we perceive the world is how we experience life. Alongside this goes the fact that one of the most dangerous things to do then is to aimlessly dabble with existential thought and various other types of theory, hermeneutics, and/or theology.
Because, when the very root of our perception is tampered with we begin to lose a grip on the reality of whatever we thought to be or, define, life, reason, purpose, meaning, identity.
Your former constructed sense of self and who you thought yourself to be, has now been shattered into pieces; your set of beliefs that once gave you meaning in this life are now undermined.
Within Christianity, but not limited to, these existential types of questions, that threaten the very foundation of this religion, quickly become liabilities; as opposed to being embraced as spiritual growth opportunities.
Exile, anathematization, excommunication…
To put it more plainly: rejection, isolation, and loss (again, in other words, trauma).
But, call it what you want (that is if the word traumatic doesn’t sit right with you); regardless of what you label it these types of events and negative experiences obliterate one’s fundamental assumption about the safety [or, lack thereof] found within our world.
The past two years of my life this reality has never been more strong. pic.twitter.com/vTnlmhly49— andy gill (@itsandygill) July 5, 2017
And, speaking of being grateful for things most of us take for granted, an underlying sense of safety should be at the top of this list; that is if you’ve yet to lose it; because, without it, normalized functionality goes by the wayside and becomes virtually inexistent.
The question I’m left with is how then does one rebuild this sense of safety in order to later find secure people and community they’d hopefully be able to call their family…?
[as I’m entering into this new season of my life; and, have personally gone through the grueling process of deconstruction… I’m leaning in to taking this space towards focussing solely (or at least, mostly) on reconstruction; because, how many of us have found ourselves on the tail end of this journey of loss and/or walking away from one’s faith community? Yet, we’ve no blueprint on how to go about rebuilding and reconstructing…]
[If any of this interests you head over and “Like” my Facebook Page and follow along there; or, check out this past article that’ll fill you in a bit more]