It's the end of 2010, which for me marks right at two years since I began seriously questioning my religious beliefs. I started out quite tentatively, reading books and speaking with no one about my questions. I was unsure of how others would react and I was filled with anxiety about my doubts. I feared where they might lead and I worried over my eternal fate. I eventually started reading blogs by atheists, which felt a bit like sinning. After all, I was openly tempting myself with unbelief, right? It didn't help that I would only read the blogs late at night when everyone was asleep, so as not to cause a conflict with my husband. That made what I was doing seem that much more shady. Eventually I found a friend or two to talk with and by the end of the first year, even my husband and I managed to have a strained conversation or two about my questions. My anxiety was beginning to lessen as I became use to my perpetual uncertainty and as I found others with similar questions.
2010 was a much easier year for me emotionally because I was "out of the closet" so to speak with my husband. Though we still don't talk much about differences in beliefs, we are less defensive with each other. He reads my blog to know my current thoughts and sends me links to articles on occasion. And on occasion we discuss them. This year I found several friends who were open to discussions of faith, a real blessing to me. A few of them even willingly attend a book club with me now where we discuss faith and science issues once a month at church. I enjoy discussions of faith and feel my questioning is a healthy sign of a serious and reflective faith. I no longer feel shame, or guilt, or anxiety about my questions, though I do grow a bit impatient with others who don't seem to question their own beliefs. I am more confident in discussing faith issues, not that I have the answers now, but I feel I have a right to ask the questions. I've also done a fair amount of reading, which has helped me think through issues. Starting this blog was the fullest expression of my willingness to discuss difficult issues. Though it began as a way to not overwhelm a friend of mine with countless emails from me, it has turned into a valuable way for me to work through questions, get advice and encouragement, and practice giving voice to my doubts. I appreciate those of you who have been a part of it.
Over at Exploring our Matrix, a thread has started discussing the faith journeys of similar others, who began as conservative Christians and have deconstructed their faiths, leaving themselves uncertain as to what is next. There are a few who regret this experience, but others, like myself, wouldn't go back to their starting point, despite the emotional difficulties and uncertainty. I noted in the thread that I call myself an "agnostic Christian" at this point, which sounds a bit strange and might be an oxymoron to some. It just highlights my uncertainty as well as my continued attraction to aspects of my faith. I look forward to another year of thinking and wondering. Happy New Year Everyone!