The “Leaving Christianity” series was a way for me to personally process, then publicly share, my experience of deconstructing my fundamentalist Christian beliefs and finally walking away from them altogether. Even in this series, I feel like I have barely begun to explain the many questions, answers, and ideas that led to me leaving Christianity, and the many new experiences that came as a result.
I’m glad that, over time, I have been able to return to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus with a fresh perspective. Since I grew up surrounded by these messages, they hold a deep value for me. Now I am able to look at the stories of the Bible metaphorically and glean a deeper meaning from them. I am able to look at the teachings of Jesus metaphysically and apply them to my life even now.
No matter your religious beliefs or background, if there’s one thing I hope you will take away from this series, it’s this: It’s okay to question and even change your beliefs. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. God is something too infinite to be captured in a belief system. As your understanding of him grows, your beliefs should grow, too.
There is a Zen Buddhist saying which goes, “Don’t mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon.” Religious beliefs, teachings and doctrines – no matter which spiritual tradition they are derived from – are all like fingers pointing at the moon. But they are not the moon itself. Don’t focus too much on the fingers; instead, look to what they’re pointing towards.
A similar idea is shared by one of my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, who wrote, “Every viewpoint is a view from a point.” Every spiritual tradition, every religion, is a view from a point; each one is looking at the same thing, but from a different point of view.
My goal is not to talk anyone out of their beliefs, but instead, to encourage people to have a healthy relationship to their beliefs. Keep an open mind, welcome questions with curiosity, and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas and viewpoints.