I look back fondly to a time when my religious beliefs were the bedrock core of my identity, the driving passion behind my ambitions, and the framework I used for understanding every experience and idea.
It was a mostly happy, peaceful period, rich with deep connections and a strong sense of purpose and progress.
Then my beliefs began to get detangled from the concepts and values they’d been so neatly tied to . . . from all the good things I treasured and pursued.
It got to where I could no longer see my beliefs as the only possible, necessary accounting for everything I wanted and went through.
Somehow, my friends could tell exactly what was happening with me right away . . . like, they could literally read it on my face or something.
And from then on, there was nothing I could do to change their opinion of me or what I was going through (or why).
In their minds…
…I must be offended or hurt, so my questioning had to be akin to just me throwing a tantrum.
…I must be clinging to misinformation and clever lies.
…I must still really believe deep down, but be suppressing my beliefs in order to indulge in something contrary to the values those beliefs were meant to tie to.
…I must be immature, and simply lack the wisdom of experience needed to really comprehend a deeper truth.
I tried everything I could to believe the same way again.
All I wanted was to wake up somehow from the nightmare of mounting, unresolvable tension between myself and everyone around me.
In many ways, that’s still my hope.
Yes, I’ve felt mistreated for losing faith in my beliefs.
But the more time passes, the less bitterness and anger I feel because I know no harm was ever meant by anyone.
It makes total sense why I was treated as I was.
If a population is convinced having certain beliefs is what’s most important, well . . . yeah, you can imagine how most would respond to someone seemingly in conflict with those beliefs.
My mission now is to show why I believe such conflicts need never be.