I’m not letting go of God, I’m just losing my grip. — Karen Bergquist, of Over the Rhine
This one sentence powerfully captures the two ways people come to non-faith. The first is blatant rejection.
Some people decide that this God stuff is nonsense and reach a point where they do not want to be associated with it anymore.
But many don’t make that decision.
Many, after struggling for months, for years, for decades, to hang onto faith, finally feel it pried, coldly stolen, from their bloodied, still-grasping fingers. When it is gone, they are often left with a deep sense of loss.
I still have faith.
But I have lost it a few times in the past, and occasionally still struggle not to lose my grip.
I know what it’s like to want to believe something that you cannot believe in.
I know what it’s like to be told you should believe this or that, and that there will be consequences in this life and the next for not believing it, but you can’t — no matter how hard you try.
I know what it’s like to give up on faith and then find myself, out of habit, praying to the God I have just said I do not believe in.
I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people who find it easier to believe than not to,
people who rarely question what they are taught,
people who are content to live life in the bubble they grew up in.
I know what is like to hear someone tell me I should not ask the questions I ask, and to know it’s because my questions are simply too scary. Most people don’t want to think about them.
I wonder if perhaps the majority of people formerly-of-faith in the world today did not let go of God — they simply lost their grip.
These people know something most believers do not know — believing is not simply a matter of choice.
Believing is about being willing to ask the questions most people are too afraid to ask, and finding out if your faith can stand up to those questions.
Sometimes it can. Sometimes it can’t.
You never know what the next moment may bring.
If you did, there would be no need for faith to begin with.
I think that struggle is what faith actually is.
That struggle causes me to need to hope in a God who will catch me when I fall, whether I fall because I have let go, or whether it is because I have simply lost my grip.