Imagine you have grown up to believe we can’t breathe under water. We take deep breaths, submerge our heads, and glance nervously around under the surface. So it is with religion. Staying under water too long is dangerous. Pondering a world without god is not safe. If you look around too long you may see the cracks in your belief – your faith. You may drown.
What finally brings you to the turning point is not a fixed path – not everyone chooses to take that first tentative step for the same reasons. But one day you dive down and take a deep, delicious breath. The first realization is that it is still you that is doing the breathing. You haven’t been struck down or drowned. This version of you feels more complete – in control. Everything seems more vivid, more fragile and more precious. You feel more alive – free of the bonds of a belief which has kept you trapped in half a world for so long.
For many, this is not the end of the journey. The real tests come when your new world is threatened. Stress, sickness and death make you look nervously towards the surface. This is what a lifetime (many lifetimes) of blind faith has taught you – trust in your confines – have faith. Swim for the surface and everything will be ok.
But you know this is no longer true. You smile and take a deep breath.