After about 40 years as a Christian Scientist (or at least trying my best to be one), I have left behind not only Christian Science, but Christianity and all organized religion as well. Religion is something I honestly have absolutely no use for in my life. The concept of “God” as found in the Bible is something I have inescapably found to be abhorrent and morally reprehensible. I’ll just toss out various and sundry genocides (Canaanites for example) as a prime example of what I see as amoral conduct on the part of God. I know many will strongly disagree with me, and that’s fine with me. We’ll just agree to disagree.
When I was a Christian Scientist, I often visualized the scenario if there was no Christian Science, or if I was to leave Christian Science, what faith would I follow? I quickly came to the conclusion that I would probably be of no religious faith at all. I definitely would not go for another Christian faith. Despite the protestations to the contrary of many mainstream Christians who know of Christian Science, Christian Science is a Christian faith–just not their kind of Christianity. Christian Scientists study and follow Jesus’s teachings, and the Bible is central to the faith, albeit in a way that is different than in other Christian faiths. A couple of points of agreement I do find with Christians vis a vis Christian Science is that Christian Science is false in its interpretations of biblical teachings, and it definitely cherry-picks what it wants out of the Bible, although many mainstream Christians do plenty their own cherry-picking too.
I have sampled other Christian faiths over the course of my life, and always found them lacking; sort of like cotton candy: sweet, and it seems like something is there at first; but it quickly dissolves to nothing–no substance. I also find conservative Christianity to be completely reprehensible for reasons too numerous to list here. In a general sense I deeply resent the way conservative Christians seek to impose their beliefs and morals on society as a whole, and are completely absolutist in their conviction that the Bible is the absolute and irrefutable truth about life, the universe, and everything. They seem to have forgotten that church and state are supposed to be separate. So, I am one of the growing number of folks who are generally categorized as “spiritual, but non-religious”. I have not abandoned my belief in a higher power, and I’ve written about my current concept of a higher power in a few other posts, so I won’t repeat myself here.
Being non-religious is, for me, liberating. Fortunately, where I live it’s not unique. The largest religious “affiliation” where I live is “non-religious” (this includes atheists, agnostics, and those who classify themselves as “spiritual”). In many ways, I’ve never felt stronger in my faith than I do now. I feel free to explore my thoughts and my own unique relationship to what I call my ‘higher power’, or sometimes I call it ‘Creator’, as many Native Americans call it. In the Lakota language, it is “Wakan-Tanka”. This translates roughly to mean the “Great Sacred” or “Great Mystery”, but is usually taken to mean “Great Spirit”.1 It does not necessarily refer to one particular being in the sense that those of the Abrahamic faiths think of God. Being non-religious is to live a life free of creed and dogma, and free from control of one’s thoughts and actions by others, and to have an unfiltered relationship with my higher power. I feel that I have developed a closer relationship to my higher power than I’ve ever had before. I am more attuned to my spirituality, and it is a stronger part of my life.
Most of all, on a personal level, being non-religious is to be who I am and who I am meant to be. It’s not the path for everyone. For some, it is Christianity or another religious faith, and I respect that. If you are as happy in a church as I am not being in a church, I honour your path. Many former Christian Scientists have become very evangelical Christians, and that works well for them. A few have become on-line friends of mine. While we may have divergent paths, our origins are similar, our reference points painfully familiar. I will respect your path if you respect mine.
1 “Wankan-Tanka” (definition). The Dictionary of Spiritual Terms. n.d. Web. 21 January 2014. <http://www.dictionaryofspiritualterms.com/public/Glossaries/terms.aspx?ID=710>