Originally posted for So what should we do?
posted Sunday, November 19, 2006 by webmaster. Sent in by John at http://exchristian.net/letters/2006/11/so-...ould-we-do.html
I just hope I can recover to the point that I won't be begging Jesus for forgiveness on my death bed.
I feel for you, John. I don't think any of us can make any promises for you or provide a cut-and-dried solution to this question. After all, not a single one of us has yet been on their deathbed. We don't know how we will handle things when we do get there.
One thing I notice on this site is that many people deconvert very suddenly, and immediately feel obligated to talk to others about it. I keep thinking this might be in keeping with the evangelical mindset that one must be born again. In other words, a clear cut and definite change is the indoctrination. Part of this is knowing the time and date of when it happened.
Then there are others who deconvert over the course of many years to the point where they find they really have nothing left. Yesterday I read a very good story here http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/...-christian.html.
I will copy one paragraph:
"It was like I had a blanket, what I thought was a beautiful blanket, wrapped around me, protecting me from the elements. One day I noticed a loose thread and I picked and pulled at it and the blanket started unraveling. I tried to put it back, to weave it back in, but I couldn't leave it alone. I picked at it and worked at it and asked other people if they saw it and pretty soon, bit-by-bit, the blanket got smaller."
I fall into that category to some degree. There is more to it than making up one's mind. New neural pathways have to form inside the brain. New mental habits must be established. We have to find something to take the place of praising, thanking, and praying to God.
If you are at all like me you are going to find yourself time and time again in the mental habits of relating to God and Jesus. I've come across many stories and comments on this (exC) site in which people mentioned having moved from believer, to agnostic, to atheist. Thus, it seems not to be an over-night thing. I believe in order to be true to what we believe we need to understand what we believe and why. And we have to be patient with ourselves.
We have to allow time for the mental and emotional changes in our bodies and psyches to take place. I include bodies because our muscles, neurons, and other aspects of our bodies respond to or correlate with the things we believe. Something triggers the feeling for the need to pray or praise. That "something" is part of the body.
This stage alone took me the better part of a year. I'm not fully through it yet. The best I can suggest is to trust the process, focus on living today the best you know. Hopefully that will become your goal so that your mind will not automatically revert to Jesus whenever you find yourself in a crisis. Instead of praying I often talk to myself about the situation. That seems to do the same thing prayer used to do. It allows me to unburden my mind and articulate the situation. Possibly this can stand in good stead even on the deathbed. I have not been there and don't know.
Here, for what it's worth, is a thought that comes to me as perhaps appropriate for the deathbed:
"I have lived a good life. I have fought a good fight. I did the best I could with what I had. My time is over. I submit to the laws of nature. I let go."