Disclaimer: This is my personal journey. In no way do my words reflect the whole of the Christian experience.
It hurt. The cycle of expectation/praying/waiting and reward/punishment/trial had a huge psychological toll on me to the point where I hated being alive. My mind was a hall of screams with fingers scraping for a way out of my head, a way out of my body. The expectation of something good that accompanies having good faith collapsed into anguish and personal disappointment when things went awry. One day, I prayed too hard, fasted too much, and subjected my reality to the deepest and most intimate form of God’s existence. The result? A near nervous breakdown. I cried all day and night, so paralyzed by anguish that my mother had to change my clothes. I had taken faith too far and doing so almost cracked my mind.
After that episode, I made a conscious decision to step away from faith and religion. I stopped expecting. I stopped expecting both good and bad things. I expect nothing. If something good happens, I celebrate it. If something bad happens, I mourn, but I mourn without being crushed. I move on quickly, knowing that this is life. Good and bad things happen. This allows me to live more in the present instead of in the future. With faith, it was always about living in the future: future life, future rewards, future home, future everything. I was so deeply ingrained in the future that I was unaware of my own hatred for the present, and this hatred disturbed my mind and poisoned my desire for living consciously, for living in the now. Death took on a different role. Death was truly the end. How can I say that? Because it is. Death is the end of this life, and although it’s not a perfect life, it is still my life. And I want to appreciate every day of it. I couldn’t do that with faith. My present state of mind doesn’t think it can. Doesn’t want to if I am to be honest.
I’m not going to say things have become easier since becoming agnostic. Life is still an asshole. As always. But it also has some good things. And those good things have magnified in importance because death has also grown more important to me. I will say that being free from the cycle of expectation/praying/waiting and rewards/punishment/trial has given me more peace of mind. I still pray. I know, sounds contradictory, but I pray in another way. I pray only for protection for my family and friends and to express gratitude. To whom do I pray? God, the universe, life, nature. I still believe something greater is beyond the sky, just not in the same way that I’ve been taught.
And what about salvation? That my soul will burn in hell if I reject the blood of Christ, more so for me since I knew the truth? A greater punishment awaits people like me as written in the Bible. Truly I have committed the greatest sin: grieving the Holy Spirit. I no longer function in that reality. I don’t believe in hell or heaven. Maybe when I get older and the gravity of death proves too much for me to bear, I will shift back into that reality and seek solace from it. Or maybe I won’t. I only know the now. And that’s enough for me.