To the person questioning everything you believe:
I know how scary life might seem right now.
I don’t know what’s led you to this moment of doubting it all, or what exactly “it all” is for you. Maybe “it all” is the idea of God you’ve had since childhood. Maybe it’s the set of beliefs you’ve built your life and faith around. Maybe it’s your understanding of who you are and what your purpose is in this world.
It doesn’t matter what started your questioning. It might have been something small that caused a crack to form in the foundation of your worldview. Or perhaps it was a catastrophic event that left you trying to piece your faith back together from the rubble in the aftermath.
Whatever the questions or whatever the cause, you need to know this:
You are okay.
You are allowed to ask the hard questions.
You are not alone.
In my experience as a formerly very religious person, it seemed as if there were “normal” doubts and questions to have, and then there were those questions. Those questions crossed a line. They were too taboo to openly talk about. They threatened to label you a heretic.
If you are reading this, I’m guessing the kinds of questions you’re asking are those kinds. You may not feel like you have a safe space to ask them, or you may feel immense shame for even wanting to ask them at all. When you’re asking these kinds of questions, it’s easy to find yourself wondering, “What is wrong with me?”
I don’t have to know the exact thoughts you’re wrestling with to know a few things about who you are. You’re not a heretic, nor is there anything wrong with you. You are brave for asking questions outside the norm. You’re reasonable for engaging in critical thinking. You are practicing open-mindedness by considering if there are other viewpoints. You’re growing as a person and not staying stagnant.
Whether you’ve only just anxiously acknowledged the doubts mounting inside you or you’ve shouted your questions out loud for all to hear, I admire you for letting that inner voice speak–even if right now it’s only to yourself.
When I began rethinking it all in 2017 and listening to my inner voice of truth, I knew I had a choice to make. I could either run back into the comfort of familiarity (therefore choosing a life of inauthenticity), or I could step forward into the unknown and choose to be true to myself. Either way, the choice would cost me something. But the cost of choosing to live a lie was just too high.
Our beliefs don’t just tell us where we’ll go after we die; for many, our beliefs are woven deeply into our identities and are what give our lives meaning. Tweaking your theology is one thing, but rethinking ideas that inform who you are at your core and why you’re here? That’s no easy task. Hear me:
You have every right to feel whatever difficult emotions come up in this process.
I know it might feel like you’re playing with fire. It doesn’t feel safe or familiar at all to open yourself to new perspectives and own up to the reality that there might be flaws in your ideologies. It’s freaking scary territory when the ground no longer feels stable to stand on, especially when you’re the only one you know asking if the ground beneath you is splitting apart.
You may feel alone right now, but I can promise you that you are not. When I first began rethinking everything I believed, I had never heard of someone going through what I was. Isolated from my community of faith, I had no one to process my questions with. That is, until I started knocking on the right doors around the internet. Since then, I’ve pieced together a list of resources and began building a new community of spiritual misfits and religious outcasts traveling on the same road. You’re not alone on this journey.
To the person questioning everything you believe, I’m here in your corner. You have nothing to feel ashamed of because what you are going through is as normal to the human experience as breathing. Nothing may feel safe or certain anymore, but I believe that is where real freedom starts.
You are okay. You are allowed to ask the tough questions. You are not alone.
You have a safe place to question everything here, because questioning everything in pursuit of authenticity is the very reason why this place exists.