"Letting God Go" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
In my new book I chronicle my journey towards the peace of mind I have today. Order it HERE
My beliefs were in trouble at several points in my life. But I want to share one moment in particular.
I have atheist friends who gently questioned me along the way. They would read my blog, back when I talked a lot about faith and belief and God and so on, and ask me questions as friends would. I experienced the frustration of trying to explain my beliefs and realizing I was running out of ammunition. As I was talking or writing, I was starting to even question the voracity of what I was saying.
Do you know that feeling?
I knew I finally arrived at the final frontier of my faith when I responded to my atheist friend's question, But how do you know
there is a God? What proof
do you have?" , and I said, I just feel it."
BOOM! I knew I was done.
It took three steps:
1. I had come to the conclusion many years ago that there is no proof of God's existence. Of course not. There cannot be and there should not be. Otherwise, why would we be taught that faith is necessary? There may be evidence, but this is not enough to reach a verdict. There must be proof and there isn't any. This, theologically speaking, is consistent with the nature of God.
2. So, abandoning the possibility of rational proof, I resorted to my feeling of God. I felt something. When I thought about my God I felt something, and very deeply. But this was a problem because I already knew that feelings and thoughts have a mutual agreement to corroborate one another. This is why I knew I was in trouble. I knew that we humans are capable of believing anything at all, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and that our feelings will confirm those beliefs.
3. This was when I finally stopped believing my thoughts. When I realized, painfully but joyfully, that the word is not the thing, that the belief is not the thing, that the idea is not the thing, then I abandoned my trust and dependence on my thoughts and feelings. I noticed them and that was all. When I realized What Is rules, that Reality is All, then peace of mind settled in for good.
And only when the mind is at rest can we know what is beyond the ideas and the words.
I do not reject my history or my beliefs. I do not get upset about them. They just are. Like this cartoon suggests, the God I believed in set me free. But I came to a place where I had to set that God free. I had to let God go.
This is the only way I could find out what is True.
Sometimes I recognize my own struggles when I hear or read other people. When they insist they will never question their belief in God or never doubt his existence or will never ever not trust the wonderful feelings they have about God, when they feel assured deep in their being about God, then I wonder if they are being invited further into the abyss perhaps we have all feared and are firing off their final rounds of defense. I'm not dismissing belief. But I do claim that there is something beyond it.
If you know what I'm talking about, or are afraid you are about to, come join us at The Lasting Supper
. This is the kind of stuff we talk about in a protected and supportive space.