Please Accept My Eternal Damnation

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Please Accept My Eternal DamnationAn Open Letter to an Evangelical Christian Friend,

Thank you for sharing your life with me. I enjoy the time we spend together and value your friendship. I sense your disappointment each time that I decline an invitation to visit your church. I have tried to explain briefly that my relationship to religious things in complicated. I am open to a deeper conversation about these things, but it has not transpired.

Thus far you have merely insisted that your church is not like those churches.

It is a lovely thing that you have found a church where you feel welcomed and supported. I am truly happy that you have you have a faith which comforts you and I understand the instinct to want to share your joy. I remember it, even. But from time to time, I am concerned that our relationship is predicated on you trying to save my soul.

Which is not going to happen.

It seems like you think that if I just heard the Good News, I’d be in.

I won’t.

I believe in neither Hell nor Heaven. I accept the possibility that they may exist despite my disbelief. But I am done living my life in fear of the one and pursuit of the other.

I can still recite the names of all the books of the bible and there are hymns that will always have the power to make me weep. I appreciate prayer in its many forms, and am fascinated by theology and religious expression. Losing my faith was one of the greatest losses I have ever experienced.  I can no longer believe in some great plan, or a benevolent benefactor in the sky, and if my eternal damnation is a result of that loss, so be it.

I describe myself as an engaged agnostic because it’s easier to explain than a mystical atheist.We could talk about that more, if you'd like, but just to be clear, I have no interest in trying to convert you to my view. I think faith is a lovely thing for those who can afford it. I no longer can.

And so, my friend, I need you to accept my eternal damnation and decide whether or not you’re interested in being my friend in the here and now with no agenda – no expectation.

I really hope you are.

[cross-posted at DailyKos.com]

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4 Responses to Please Accept My Eternal Damnation

  1. Debbie says:

    Wonderful piece. I do still pray like a Catholic in desperate moments, but it is more in line with soothing myself than expecting an outcome.

    I’m what you might call an “obnoxious agnostic”. I love to engage in debate about these things, and I play devil’s advocate from either side…

  2. Laurustina says:

    I frequently debate with The Mister, who grew up casually Catholic but is a confirmed atheist. It’s funny to me that I always end up taking the Christian side of those arguments, becoming the Jesus Advocate.

  3. Miss Bliss says:

    I guess I continue to be someone who believes in something that is so big that it can accommodate all my doubts, confusion, free will, rage, faith, shame, wonder, rebellion, disdain, and love. It’s too big for names or churches or temples or any of the other ways we try to make it small enough to fit our agenda.

  4. Laurustina says:

    That’s a beautiful way of thinking of things. Thank you, Bliss 🙂

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