I stopped believing in God

Michelle tells us how she came to terms with losing her faith in God after 13 years as a Christian and the impact it's had on her life.

True Stories

girl praying

"I'm learning all about evolution now."

I became a born-again Christian when I was 13. My family and friends were supportive and I spent most of my teenage years around my church and with Christian friends. When I was 24 I met my current partner, who happened to be Atheist, and we moved in together. My family and friends were fine about it as they knew a lot of non-Christians and didn’t expect his views to alter mine. The problem was that he was a great debater and knew a lot more about the Bible than I did. I started reading into Christianity and scouring the media for information on the issue of faith.

I prayed a lot and felt in my heart I’d never stop believing, but the more I learnt, the more doubt was cast in my mind.

Realising I didn’t believe

Over a period of a year I went from steadfast Christian to non-believer. One day on the way home from work I heard a little voice in my head that said, “I don’t believe it”. I was terrified and blocked it out, but it came back. In the end, laughing hysterically, I told my partner: “I don’t believe in God.”

He was shocked because he knew how big the revelation was. It was like a switch had been flipped. I couldn’t believe it myself, but I genuinely had stopped believing. It’s like when a child finds out Father Christmas isn’t real and although they’re upset, there’s also that part of them that says, “Oh, OK then”.

Learning how to cope without God

I couldn’t pray about it, or do anything to bring my faith back because the minute it was gone all the things I had taken comfort in suddenly seemed pointless. There was also a huge part of me that felt abandoned by God. He’d always been there when I needed him – how would I deal with challenges in life without him? But then my partner quietly pointed out that if I didn’t believe in God then he had never existed and I had always done things by myself. My belief had simply been a motivator for my own abilities and conviction.

Over the next few months I struggled to come to terms with what my life was about. Everything had been intrinsically linked with my belief in Jesus and his purpose for me, but now my life was empty of meaning. I came to learn that in embracing my new life I could decide afresh what I wanted it to be.

Telling other people

It was hard telling my friends, one of whom I’d known since I was six years-old. They were thrown by my announcement, but our friendship is strong and we’ve learnt to respect each other. The hardest person to tell was my Mum, who became a Christian shortly after I did. She cried because she couldn’t understand why I’d changed. I didn’t know how to explain it, but she can see I’m happier now and she doesn’t seem to worry about me.

An atheist future

Since my revelation I’ve been learning about the evolution of our planet and the human race; I’m like a small child at the Natural History Museum who wants to know everything about life and the universe. I feel able to embrace the world around me and I’m more in control of my life. It’s my life after all and I’m going to make the best of it, whichever way it’s going to take me. That was an important thing to come to terms with. I felt so strongly that my life had a set path and was afraid of what it would mean if that path were taken away. Now I know life is more like life on the open sea. I can’t see where I’m going all the time, but I have faith I’ll get to shore when I need to.

I want people to know that losing your faith isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a journey and you get to decide where that journey takes you. It’s hard for people to understand that when a person loses their faith they didn’t do it on purpose. My transition from believer to non-believer didn’t happen in phases. It was like a switch had been flipped that I can’t flip back. I won’t say life is perfect being an Atheist, but in my eyes it’s far more fun.

 

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015

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