I got my letter from the Bishop confirming my request to have my name removed from the records of the church (my excommunication) is being processed. I was surprised to find it was a little difficult to read. Not because it was mean spirited in anyway. This Bishop is a man of admirable character. I have heard hard stories about spiteful and angry separations. Thankfully that is not how mine was at all.
I don’t think it was the consequences the letter warned of that made it difficult to read. I don’t believe in them anymore, but I still had a twinge of fear, and a sense of finality, and severity. It gave me a moment’s pause. As sure as I am and as clearly as I can see that I have made the right decision why should I still hesitate? How can there can still be that voice saying, “what if”?
I took a moment to indulge that voice. I thought about it and it didn’t take me long to determine exactly “what if”.
“If God exists, I hope he’s got a good excuse.” – Woody Allen.
I cannot endorse the cruel and vain God of the bible or the remade version of the modern apologetic. I refuse to support the discriminatory and ignorant doctrines that hinder social and scientific progress. I cannot accept an all loving being that wouldn’t do more to stop the horrors done in His name.
If I am wrong, and there is a God I will face him with the same defiance I feel now.
I don’t think the pause I felt as I read the Bishops letter was a concern for my soul; it was concern for my situation. I don’t think that it was about leaving the faith, as much as it was leaving the church and its social group and support structure. There are good people, good friends that I will have a harder time maintaining friendships with. I hope this proves an unfounded concern but it seems to be the tendency. Mostly I think I feared the change – looking back at the charred ruins of a bridge I will never cross again.
Once I had indulged that fear, felt that last tie cut. I experienced something else: relief and freedom. I felt invigorated and inspired to make this life (the only one I’m going to get) extraordinary. There is real suffering in this world and I intend to do something about it - unshackled by ancient superstitions and religious obligations on my resources.
A personal note: For all of you that have been good friends to my wife during this time, I am truly grateful.