Christian emptiness

I hear over and over how Christians have doubts all the time. They question their beliefs, the story goes, on a daily basis. This doesn’t always show through in the certainty of their often logically flawed arguments, but I suspect they do sincerely have doubts. How couldn’t they? Their religion is asking them to use the vacuity of faith to believe something that is totally preposterous. And this leads me to wonder: How intense must their feelings of emptiness be?

It’s a common position for Christians to look down their noses at others for not having what they’ve deluded themselves into believing they have, but let’s just ask ourselves about the sort of people who tend to turn to Christianity. There are, of course, all the wealthy white people who are paranoid of minorities (and thus, generally, become Republicans), but most of these people didn’t “turn” to Christianity. They were simply indoctrinated by their parents. (What a happy coincidence that they were born into a particular family in a particular culture that got the right particular religion!) The people who tend to find themselves moving towards the Christian religion as adults are quite frequently those who have hit rock bottom: drug addicts, prisoners, divorcees, and those whose lives have otherwise taken a turn for the worse. For adolescents, it’s frequently enough those who have had a rough time with bullies and the pressures of being a teenager. It should be clear to anyone that this is nothing more than comfort-seeking.

So, again, I’m left to wonder just how intense the feelings of emptiness must be for those who need to escape the trials of life with religion. I had a tremendously difficult time transitioning between junior high and high school because all my good friends went to different districts (plus, hey, I was a teenager), but I never turned to God. Indeed, my junior high (and grammar school) was a Catholic institution; I actually slowly lost my faith through high school, though not in the difficult transition year I had. And so knowing just how hard that was for me and that I never even came close to feeling as though I needed God, I actually find myself feeling genuinely bad for people who feel they need to turn to Christianity, just as I feel bad for those who feel they need to escape through drugs.

Camp Sunshine polar dip

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I’ve been participating in a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a sort of retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses. I did this as part of my group Atheists of Maine; we raised more than any other group, coming in at $2,169 (though donations are still being accepted). To commemorate the experience, all the participants did a polar dip in Portland (no, not the hipster, faux Portland in Oregon) this past weekend. My GPS brought me to the wrong place, so I unfortunately missed the main event by literally minutes. Of course, that wasn’t going to stop me from following-through on my promise to do something stupid:

AoM Polar Dip

Take a stroll on over to the AoM Facebook page to see a few more pictures.