How are you? I’m okay. I’m writing because I’ve been talking with my therapist and one of the constant issues that comes out in my discussions is that of Christianity and my history and experiences with it. As you probably know, I’ve had a lot of issues with anxiety and depression throughout my life. Looking back, I see that my understanding of Christianity compounded a lot of it. I felt a lot worse because of Christianity in that I felt I could never do right by it even though I tried very hard to do so. I think that over time I became disillusioned with the whole structure: the culture, the rules, the politics, and so on. I never truly felt accepted anywhere I went to church—even the Bible studies in high school were overcast with my depression and anxiety.
Additionally, I had had my intellectual doubts about Christianity for some time. Once I moved to Seattle and put some geographical distance between myself and my past, I realized that I didn’t know if there was a god or not. I suppose I would like to believe there is one, but if one exists, I’m unclear of its scope, so on some days I’m a deist, but most of the time I’m an agnostic. That was hard for me to come to terms with for a while, but I’m now comfortable with it.
Perhaps this isn’t a surprise to you or perhaps it makes you sad or angry to read this. I can understand that. If I had a child and they strayed from something I held as the most important thing in my life, that would upset me. However, I have felt bad over the past few years because I haven’t felt as though I’ve been entirely honest with you. Nor have I felt dishonest because it’s just not something we have talked about. I guess I am just tired of feeling as though I have to keep a big part of my life hidden from the both of you. Not sharing this has kept me from feeling as close as I might otherwise. I would like to feel closer because I care about both of you a lot and not being honest about this feels as though it gets in the way of that.
None of this is to say that I am anti-Christian. In fact, I appreciate the values that you have instilled in me through Christianity. I have learned and continue to practice respect towards others, kindness, generosity, fairness, and such traits that I hope make me a positive influence on others. Even though I may not now believe the same things as you, spiritually, I find that our moral grounds are very similar and I am thankful for that.
Of course, I’m still interested in hearing about your lives as they relate to church and such. I believe that if you have found something that makes you happy and gives you meaning, then that’s great. Christianity didn’t provide that for me, however, so I’ve seen it best to no longer practice it. The things that are important to you are important to me because you are my parents and I love you.
After seeing you the other week, Jeremiah told me that you were both very proud of me. That made me happy to hear him write as much, because I can never quite tell. I hope that after reading this you are still proud of me.