[Warning: This answer is long, so if you hate reading, the short answer is: “Yes. Now go and enjoy your life!” But if you’re struggling with doubt and want a more complete answer, then you’ve come to the right place.]
Science and reason have done more to make the modern world than any other force in history. We must think clearly about all claims, and face the universe with courage and an unblinking conviction to understand reality as it is instead of how we wish it were.
~ Michael Shermer, Editor of Skeptic Magazine
The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word.
~ Proverbs 14:15 (The Message)
While I enjoy exploring these individual questions, there’s one question that simply cannot wait until the very end to be asked, and that is: “Is there life after God?”
I can tell you from experience that losing faith can be one of the most gut-wrenching, depressing, and difficult things a sincere believer can go through. I know there are other believers who are struggling with their faith as I did (and to some extent, still do), so I wanted to address some of the issues Christians can face when they begin to lose faith, and explore what promise life still holds for those who doubt.
The Value of Religion
We should start by admitting that Christianity can give our lives meaning, purpose, and perspective. It feeds us the answers we crave: it explains who we are, why we’re here, and where we’re going; and it helps us cope with life’s most difficult problems, like fear, death, loss, injustice, guilt, morality, insecurity, and loneliness. When we begin to doubt, we’re forced to readdress all these questions and fears.
For the sincere Christian, the search for truth is not just about exploring a few dry facts and coming to the most reasonable conclusion. When your entire worldview is wrapped around your faith — when you truly believe you have a relationship with the creator of the Universe, who loves and cares for you personally — the transition from belief to disbelief can be confusing and stressful.
Doubt is especially confusing because it can be difficult to know whom to listen to. Both believers and non-believers seem equally confident in what they believe, and seem to have valid rationalizations for their conclusions. But clearly, someone must be wrong.
And doubt can be stressful because of the threat of eternal damnation. It’s not enough to just doubt the existence of hell, you must know there is no such place.
My Own Fall from Grace
Some people describe their loss of faith like a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders: the rain-clouds part, sunlight comes pouring down, AC/DC’s Back in Black begins playing, and a church explodes behind them as they stroll confidently away. While I’m happy for these people, this was definitely not my experience.
It was never my intention to doubt, nor did I believe it was even possible. Serving God had been my number one priority for over 30 years. In all things, I wanted to put God first. If I asked questions, it was only for the purpose of strengthening my faith (I didn’t want to have zeal without knowledge).
In my life as a Christian, I’d learned about other religions and why they were inferior to my own. I spoke with believers in other religions, and read their literature. And in reading the Christian rebuttals to their arguments, I was confident I knew exactly why they were wrong, and I felt I could intellectually defend my position.
But I wasn’t content just believing in God, I wanted to know God was real, I wanted the same confidence that my pastor and other Christians seemed to have. I wanted to be able to intellectually defend the existance of God in the same way I could defend Christianity against other religions. I wanted to know why things like evolution were false, and how to prove to others that stories like Noah’s ark were historically true.
The Bible teaches us that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), so I read my Bible and listened to my audio Bible as often as I could. But after doing so for some time, I began to wonder if this kind of “renewing of the mind” (Romans 12:2) wouldn’t work for any religion. If I studied the Quran or the Book of Mormon every day, wouldn’t I just be “renewing my mind” in that direction? Was the Holy Spirit increasing my faith, or was I just brainwashing myself?
I searched for other ways to boost my faith and confidence, and I found my faith reinvigorated by reading stories about Near Death Experiences (NDEs). Surely so many similar experiences couldn’t be wrong. But these accounts were also confusing, because non-Christians and atheists would also claim to have positive NDEs. (This bothered some Christians to the point that they began to speak out against NDEs, labeling them as demonic deceptions.) Additionally, religious and cultural backgrounds seemed to play heavily into these experiences, and many such stories were being ignored because they didn’t fit into the “typical” NDE mold (the stories that seemed more like dreams). Reports of NDEs eventually inspired tests designed to prove that departing spirits can float above their bodies, yet such tests have never yielded any positive evidence.
I later found my faith revived again with the discovery of the Intelligent Design movement. I finally felt I knew God existed, and I could prove it! Cells were far too complex to form by chance, and therefore this complexity — this information — required an intelligent designer. But I later reasoned that a cell would actually require far less information than God’s “brain” (as it were). How could I justify that the less complex thing was impossible without a designer, but the more complex thing could exist without one? It was more probable that the cell should arise, based on the information requirements alone. Also, cells were made of material that was known to actually exist, and was plentiful in our Universe. No one knows if supernatural materials exist, and if they do, if they can support higher thought. Once again, my faith was squelched.
The Quest for Truth
I knew, as much as I loved God, that I was being biased by never really giving the opposition a chance to speak. If I was ever to be certain of my conclusions, I needed understand opposing points of view, and be able to defend myself against them. So I began reading books about Atheism… written by Christians. And later, I began watching debates between Christians and Atheists. I didn’t really want to believe the atheist view, I just wanted to hear what they believed, and then learn why they were wrong.
I wasn’t easily swayed. As much as my bias was with God, as much as I wanted to believe, as much as I wanted to see God and Christianity emerge victoriously from logic and reason, I also wanted to know the truth, and be able defend it with logic and reason.
After watching many hours of debates, I began to see the logic in what these non-believers were saying. I didn’t want to side with them, these atheists were often smug and arrogant, the opposite of the brotherly love shown by Christians. I wanted nothing to do with them, but they seemed to be winning the war on every front.
The only front on which the Christians were winning was on the emotional one. The Christian position seemed to ultimately rely on a strong appeal to emotion: “God loves you! Jesus died for you! Don’t you want your father’s love? God forgives you! He wants to save you from eternal torment, and to bring you into a heavenly place filled with love, peace, and joy!” Even if true, these are not logical arguments; they don’t prove that God exists or that Christianity is true, but they make us feel good, and so these are the underlying sentiments which seem to drive Christianity. We all want love, forgiveness, protection, and we all fear death, the unknown, and pain, but we should not let these emotions dictate our conclusions about reality, no matter how reassuring they are, or how much these conclusions help to meet our emotional needs.
If the Bible is historically true, why were these Christians having such difficulty proving it? Just as we have physical evidence for things like an ice age, there should be plenty of good evidence that drives scientists to conclude there was once a global flood. And with all the miracles I’ve heard about, why haven’t scientists been able to prove that miracles can happen whenever we pray to a specific god?
I think the one debate that represented a turning point for me was when Kent Hovind used the Loch Ness Monster as evidence for a young earth and the recent extinction of dinosaurs. Were Christians really so desperate for evidence that they were willing to accept anything that helped to confirmed their bias?
As I continued reading and learning, my faith waned. Reality began to sink in.
The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don’t want to go there.
~ Bart D. Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God
Depressed and Confused
I went through a long and stressful period of cognitive dissonance where my mind was unsettled about an issue that affected my entire worldview. Our minds like to be made up, especially about such important issues.
I didn’t go from 100% belief to 100% disbelief overnight, I don’t think anyone does (and if they do, their faith wasn’t that strong to begin with). For me, this ratio changed gradually until the scales finally tipped more toward disbelief. Was I absolutely certain there was no God? No, I don’t think you can ever be certain, because you can’t prove a negative (e.g. try proving invisible fairies or mermaids don’t exist), you just come to seriously doubt it.
When the scales tipped completely, I felt a tremendous sense of loss, as if a close friend had died. I wondered: How can I feel loss if God never existed? But I reasoned that as long as I believed God existed, I could experience loss. It’s like believing you’re going to come into a large sum of money, only to find out you were mistaken. It doesn’t matter that you never really had the money coming, as long as you believed it was yours, you can still feel a sense of loss.
I remember the first night I didn’t pray before going to bed. I wasn’t angry at God, I just believed so little that I saw no point in petitioning the void; no one was on the other end. It was just me, all along.
From there I fell into a deep depression; the kind of murky funk that finds you listening to the song Mad World over and over again. I wasn’t suicidal, but I did wish I’d never been born, and I couldn’t wait for life to be over. Life no longer held any grand purpose or promise. Life didn’t matter, I didn’t matter, nothing mattered. I would live out my useless, pathetic, meaningless life, and then I’d be gone forever. As the song says, “Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow.” The world was an absurd accident, and I no longer wanted any part of it.
The truth is that Christianity makes such grandiose promises that when you lose what you thought you had, reality appears bankrupt by comparison. Christianity also drives into you that life is pointless without God, so when you conclude there is no God, the first conclusion you jump to is that life must be pointless.
Family and Friends
To make matters worse, no one I knew could relate to my position. Growing up in church, all my friends and family were devout Christians.
My wife saw how depressed I was and could only conclude (from her perspective) that this is what happens when someone rejects God. She saw me as someone who had become deceived; I’d believed “a lie from the pit of hell,” as she put it.
I knew the look she was giving me, it was the same look I’d given people for decades: she saw me as broken, and the only cure was God. I felt like saying, “Don’t look at me that way! I know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. I’m not broken, I’m not deceived, and I don’t need fixing, I’ve just realized the truth, and it’s a depressing truth.”
I didn’t know if our marriage could survive my loss of faith. I’d even considered hiding my doubts and feigning belief, but later concluded I couldn’t live a lie.
We couldn’t talk about God without arguing (and we rarely ever fought). I once asked her, “Would you still have married me if I wasn’t a Christian?” “No,” she replied. Ouch. That one still stings. My wife was normally the most loving and kindhearted person you’d ever want to meet, but it didn’t seem to matter to her how great of a husband or father I was, if I wasn’t going to raise our children to believe in God, then she would’ve preferred someone else.
After that experience, I had little desire to come out to my Christian friends, lest they see me in the same light. I didn’t pretend to be Christian, I just didn’t volunteer any information.
The Natural Enemy of the Christian
In losing faith, the ex-Christian makes himself (or herself) the intellectual enemy of Christians, because his conclusions now threaten what they still hold dear. Since the ex-Christian’s conclusions cannot possibly be correct, he and his opinions must be marginalized and demonized. Perhaps he is a deviant, who is intentionally blinding himself so that he may take part in the lusts of his flesh, sans guilt. Or perhaps he has become deceived, or is in denial, or is in rebellion against God, or is lost, or closed-minded, or dimwitted, or perhaps it was never God’s plan to save him, or perhaps he will eventually come to his senses and return to the fold. Whatever his problem, it cannot and must not be that he has carefully and honestly pondered the evidence, and discovered the actual truth of the matter.
What Doubt Gets You
When you choose to doubt, you are literally going up against the 2,000 year-old institution of Christianity, and the millions of minds that have evolved the story to protect it.
The concepts of God and Christianity have become extraordinarily well adapted at protecting themselves. Wherever there is a spark of doubt, there is a ready-made excuse to douse it. Don’t expect the answers to be obvious, if they were, no one would believe.
True believers are continually shown by reality that their god doesn’t exist, but have developed extensive coping mechanisms to deal with this cognitive dissonance.
~ Mark Thomas
When you do doubt, you also lose your network of support. I once attended a church service where a young man dedicated his life to God and was baptized, and the entire church gave him a standing ovation. But who applauds the man who leaves the church? Who is there to encourage him in his walk away from faith? Where do doubters gather to offer encouragement to one another? If you’re going to leave, you may have to go it alone; this is one area where you church cannot support you. The truth must be more important to you than anything else.
And what is the reward for your skepticism? Well, you might just earn yourself eternal damnation… so there’s that. And while you’re waiting to burn, you might also enjoy some disapproving looks from your loved ones, who now view you as lost and deceived. And, of course, there’s all the uncertainty and self-doubt.
The truth comes at a price. But what you get in return is an opportunity to glimpse the world for what it really is. If I only get one life to live, the truth is something I’d like to know.
Why Ex-Christians Deserve Respect
Ex-christians who refuse to follow the herd do so at great personal risk. They deserve our respect for their willingness to stand up to authority and tradition, for checking their facts, for following their convictions, and for risking everything in the name of truth. These people are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, without letting their emotions or personal bias get in the way. The risk eternal damnation in the name of truth. I imagine if there were a God, especially one who respects those who seek truth, even he would have to respect such conviction.
The Christian risks little by comparison. Even if wrong, he lives out his life in a reassuring delusion, with the full support of his God and congregation, and will die believing that paradise awaits him on the other side.
My Turning Point
It took me a long time to crawl out of my funk, but I emerged with some very different views. Here are the top ten things I’ve learned from the experience:
1) Just because I won’t exist forever, doesn’t mean I don’t matter or my life has no meaning or purpose. I may not matter forever — in some eternal cosmic sense — but I matter right now, in this very moment, while I’m alive. I matter because at this moment, I am real. I matter to my children, to my wife, my friends, my family, my dog, and to everyone around me. We matter to each other, if no one else; my life has meaning and purpose to them, if no one else. And even if I have no one, I matter to myself. Who decided that we must live forever or matter to a deity in order to really matter? And isn’t it better to matter to another real being than to an imaginary one? If your mother or father, or son or daughter dies, how can we say their lives held no meaning? If they matter to us, they matter.
2) If God does not exist, the existence of the Universe is no less mysterious and awe inspiring. Moreover, the odds that you or I would ever come into existence are extremely small. The atoms that make up our bodies have probably always existed in some form, and we are the conscious assembly of those atoms. As Carl Sagan said, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” The overwhelming majority of the universe is unconscious and will never be able to contemplate its own existence; what a rare opportunity it is to be a conscious part of the Universe, even if only for a short time.
3) Life is far from perfect, but there are still so many things to enjoy: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the sensations, food, music, movies, nature, books, pets, technology, new discoveries, sunlight, emotions, laughter, hugs, learning, art, love, holding hands, romance, sex, strawberries, water slides, fireworks, baths, having your back tickled, massages, that first stretch in the morning after a good night’s sleep, ice cream, chocolate, science, games, sports, walking, playing, swimming, kayaking, running, flying, biking, sledding, driving, horseback riding, creating, writing, painting, building, exploring life and the Universe, having children, and introducing them to all of this wonderful stuff.
4) The secular worldview is actually much more understanding of what it means to be human. Christianity tells you, “You’re God’s failed experiment (Gen 6:5-7). He gave you free will, and you disappointed him (Romans 3:23). You don’t deserve forgiveness, you deserve eternal damnation, but if you ask God nicely, maybe he’ll forgive you (Ephesians 2:8-9). Not because of anything you did, you’re still a dick — but only because God’s a nice guy.” The secular worldview says, “Look, you’re not evil, you were born into an imperfect world with an imperfect mind. But as imperfect as you are, you are still one of the Universe’s crowning achievements, and that’s pretty amazing.”
5) Suffering is the price we pay for the opportunity to be alive, but not all suffering is bad. A game without any challenges or obstacles would quickly become boring. Likewise, the obstacles and challenges we face in life can actually make life more interesting. You can’t have a Friday without a Monday, or enjoy warmth without feeling cold, or anticipate a drink without feeling thirsty. If you spent every day at Disneyland, or every day was Christmas or your birthday, you would lose your appreciation for these things. If you don’t have a significant other, your loneliness helps you to appreciate them all the more when you have them. It through not having things that we learn to appreciate and enjoy them so much more when we do have them. And even when horrible things happen to other people, this can, strangely, give us reason to be thankful that these things didn’t happen to us. (And as strange is it may seem, when horrible things happen to you, you may actually be able to increase the happiness of others by serving as a warning, or you may later be able to help others wade through similar circumstances, or you may simply make others feel thankful that those circumstances didn’t befall them!) The challenges that are least welcome are those that can never be adequately overcome; those that forever suck the joy out of life (such as unceasing physical or emotional pain).
6) There’s no need to take life so seriously. As a Christian, I felt the need to be ready to evangelize at every opportunity. I feared that if I didn’t acknowledge God before everyone, Jesus wouldn’t acknowledge me before God (Matt. 10:32). I was on a mission from God to save all nonbelievers from eternal damnation. I didn’t see people for who they were, I saw them as saved or unsaved. I no longer feel this kind of pressure, and I feel like I can finally relax and appreciate people for who they are, and not just what they believe.
7) For some reason, as a Christian, I saw the United States as 80% secular, with believers being a small minority. As a non-believer, I see the U.S. as 80% Christian, and atheists are in the minority. Also as a Christian, I never understood why “the world” hated us, we’re such a loving group! We “love the sinner but hate the sin!” I now realize how presumptuous this was, to assume that we alone have the truth, and that all others are deceived sinners. No one wants to be looked at this way, especially if it’s not true. But in all fairness, I’m sure Christians also hate being viewed as anti-intellectuals.
8) Christians are not the enemy; they really are generally good people with a sincere interest in doing what they believe is right. A person can no more be blamed for being Christian than a dog can be blamed for having rabies; they are at the mercy of their own brain and their environment, and some people just never have the inclination, or ability, to challenge their beliefs.
9) There is no ultimate justice, and this means that some people will get away with murder (literally and figuratively). However, I wouldn’t trade places with these people for a moment, because those who intentionally bring harm to others are not usually well-adjusted, happy individuals living in a healthy environment. You don’t shoot up a school because your life is going great and it’s a logical choice, you do it because something is wrong. And there are many reasons why we make such poor decisions. It may be a response driven by our emotions (fear, jealousy, anger, etc.), or an instinctive response, or a mental illness, or maybe we didn’t have time to carefully think things through; or it may be a genetic disposition, or environmental influences, or some social injustice or inequality, or maybe we weren’t breastfed long enough, or we were just too immature to know what the proper decision should’ve been. We’re all imperfect, but I’d like to think that if given enough time to ponder our hurtful actions, a healthy-minded individual would always conclude that harmful behavior that is unnecessary is illogical, and therefore “wrong.”
10) Finally, death is the end. But the good news is, you won’t know you’re dead, and you won’t care, the same way you didn’t know you weren’t alive for the billions of eons that preceded your birth. The fact that you don’t remember a time before you had a brain is evidence that you won’t remember the time after you lose it. And given the choice, isn’t it better that billions should disappear than be tortured forever? Knowing that you will die makes the fleeting moments of our existence all the more valuable.
The Future… future… future…
They say nature abhors a vacuum, so with God and eternal life out of the picture, what kind of future is there for the unbeliever to take hope in? For me, I replaced my hope in God with hope in science and humanity.
What makes me hopeful is that we humans have a long history of rising to the occasion and solving our problems. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we humans also have a long history of doing pretty shitty things to one another, but our ability to empathize helps us to recognize why these things are bad, and why we should no longer do them, and we seem to be learning from our mistakes. (If you don’t think so, try getting slavery reinstated in the U.S., or getting the ban on interracial marriage restored.)
When mankind wanted to communicate across long distances, we invented radio, television, and phones; when we wanted to travel long distances, we invented boats, cars, planes, and rocket ships; when we wanted to eliminate sickness and disease, we invented vaccines, medicine, surgeries, and treatments; and when we wanted to share information, we invented language, writing, the printing press, and the internet. We’ve invented many devices, appliances, and forms of entertainment that make our lives easier, safer, more productive, and more entertaining. I believe mankind will continue innovating in ways that will make our world even better.
Over the past 150 years in the U.S., we’ve figured out how to treat or prevent many diseases, we’ve slashed childhood mortality rates, we’ve eliminated 90% of deaths caused by fire, we’ve doubled our lifespans, and we recently cut the death rate for childhood cancer in half. We’ve matured, and have become more sensitive to the needs of others; we’ve abolished slavery, given equal rights to women, elected a black president, and we’re becoming more understanding of those with different sexual orientations. We’ve found cures for diseases like Polio and (recently) Hepatitis C, and we can look forward to cures for things like Alzheimer’s, AIDS, depression, dementia, chronic pain, epilepsy, mental illness, and cancer. We will (ironically) help the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see. Also, worldwide, mankind appears to be losing its appetite for war; far fewer people die today from wars and genocide than ever before.
As Steven Pinker points out in his book Better Angels of our Nature, life today is better than it was 100 years ago, and life 100 years ago was better than it was 1,000 years ago. Thanks to the work of those who have come before us, we’ve eliminated many forms of suffering that once plagued mankind, and made our lives more enjoyable through tools and technology. (For more reasons to be thankful, check out this list.)
I’m not saying the world will ever be perfect, I’m just saying it’s better than it was, and there is good reason to believe it will continue to get better.
In the future, computers will also get smarter. They will begin processing insane amounts of information to better inform mankind, and help us to make better decisions, from healthcare to political decisions. Unlike humans, computers have the capacity to store and process unlimited amounts of information. They can weigh all possible outcomes of every decision better and faster than any one man. They may even become relied upon to help run cities, countries, or even the world. They can do so without bias or favoritism, and they can continually measure every outcome, including our individual happiness, in order to make recommendations that continue to make our lives happier, healthier, and more satisfying.
Robots will continue to take over mundane and dangerous jobs; they will clean our homes, do our dirty work, and drive our cars (preventing thousands of deaths every month!).
In the distant future, I believe mankind will begin exploring distant worlds that we are only now beginning to discover. Perhaps we will even prepare them for future human habitation; filling them with plants and animals of our own design.
Eventually mankind will defeat death itself. What a great day it will be when we can finally drive a dagger into the heart of the grim reaper. No longer will life be a race to cram everything into one lifetime; we will be able to take time to grow, to smell the roses, and to fully envelop ourselves in whatever time, place, or topic, that delights us.
That’s not to say that death is a bad thing. To the contrary, if you were born into this world with no way to escape, you might be begging for death after a few millennia (everything gets boring after a while). It’s dying before we’re good and ready, and the pain and indignity that often accompany aging, that is undesirable.
Our elongated lifespans will doubtlessly bring our species to a new level of maturity and understanding; a world full of 1000-year-olds is bound to be better behaved than a world full of relative adolescents.
Perhaps in exchange for an indefinite lifespan, future humans will agree to limit themselves to no more than one child per person, preventing problems with overpopulation. Such challenges will arise, and we will, no doubt, continue to rise to the occasion.
The knowledge we gather in our own lifetimes and the children we bear today will help to create this future. You and I won’t be able to live in this future, but we can contribute to it, and we shouldn’t take for granted that we are an important part of human history, and that we already live in a miraculous modern world that our ancestor’s could’ve only dreamed of.
But even if we eventually do beat death… what’s the point?
This is a bit like asking God, “Why do you exist?” If he existed, I imagine he might say, “There is no reason, I just am, and I find it preferable to not being.” And for us, the answer is the same: there is no specific problem we were created to solve, we’re just here because we’re here; and now that we’re here, we find we fancy life and the experiences life brings, and each other. There is not a reason for our existence, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have good reasons to want to continue existing.
Nature may not have intended to create us, but now that we’re here, we might as well enjoy life and take a look around. Yes, nature still leaves a lot to be desired, and there are a lot of bugs left to work out that nature couldn’t’ve anticipated, but we’re at the brink of being able to say, “Thank you nature for getting us this far, we’ll take the wheel from here.”
“If there is no point in the universe that we discover by the methods of science, there is a point that we can give the universe by the way we live, by loving each other, by discovering things about nature, by creating works of art. And that—in a way, although we are not the stars in a cosmic drama, if the only drama we’re starring in is one that we are making up as we go along, it is not entirely ignoble that faced with this unloving, impersonal universe we make a little island of warmth and love and science and art for ourselves. That’s not an entirely despicable role for us to play.”
― Steven Weinberg
So if you’re struggling with doubt, the good news is that (as most ex-Christians will tell you) you get over it. And you’re in good company, there are many former Christians who have struggled with doubt and lost faith (including Mother Theresa!). In fact, here in the U.S., belief in God, heaven, and miracles is on the decline.
And while religion can have some positive impact on our lives, religion isn’t always necessarily good for you. Religion may make us feel closer to some people, but it can also distance us from everyone else. And in the long run, those who leave religion appear to experience lower rates of depression than those who become more religious. And those without religion are also more likely to experience successful marriages, as evidenced by a lower divorce rates compared to people of faith. (And that’s really saying something, considering atheists have no religious mandate to remain married.)
While it took some time, I can honestly say I’m just as happy now as I was when I was a believer, if not happier, but this did take some doing. I had to identify different things that made me happy and redefine what makes life worth living.
In the end, I reasoned I could either spend the rest of my life being miserable, or I could try to enjoy life for what it’s worth. Since being miserable isn’t much fun, it seems logical to try to remain optimistic and find fulfillment wherever we can. If this is the only life I get to live, I want to enjoy it as much as humanly possible.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
~ Abraham Lincoln
I’m not in denial over how much life can suck, and it can, I just choose to recognize that it could be worse (it could always be worse). Life will never be perfect, but I’m thankful that I live in a world that is better today than it was 100 or 1000 years ago, and I’m hopeful that life will continue to get better for those who follow in our footsteps.
As for my wife, well, she eventually realized that just because I doubted God’s existence, it didn’t mean I was going to start smoking crack, sleeping with prostitutes, and eating babies (though I do enjoy a well prepared baby). I think she realized I’m still the same man I always was, I just don’t believe. We’ve since seen several Christian couples we know get divorced — a reminder that it takes more than mere Christianity to sustain a marriage.
So there is life after God, and it’s every bit as savory as life with God. In fact, some might say better, since you feel you have a better grasp on reality, free of superstition. So seek out those things that bring you joy and contentment, keep your chin up, and remember to always look on the bright side of life.
Your fellow human,