In early December, the hashtag #ExMuslimBecause briefly trended, followed up swiftly by #ExChristianBecause.
Both trends told stories of people who’d given up on religious belief for lots of different reasons;
#exChristianbecause I can find more wisdom in Harry Potter than in the Bible.
#exChristianbecause I don’t need to fear eternal punishment to be a good person.
#exChristianbecause I read the Bible and couldn’t go back – that book is the worst.
I was skimming through both hashtags tonight and the common theme seemed to be anger – anger at rules and religious ‘stuff’ that had scarred lives, and anger at a belief system which had allowed a few to exert control over many others.
I paused my Twitter skimming, to think and found myself trying to imagine what my world would look like, without faith. I realised that I couldn’t.
If I was asked why I was a Christian, then there’s simply no logical or scientific rationale that I could give you. For me, it’s just a knowing.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of God in my life.
As a kid, He was the quiet prompt that drew me toward Jesus – that made me want to go out to the front of church and make Him my forever friend.
He was that solid, reassuring silent presence as I navigated my way through teenagery.
He was the sunshine glimmering through the trees on the grey afternoon that I was given bad news.
He was the calm in the storm when at different points, both our parents were pretty ill.
In later years, He was the glue which stuck me back together after heartaches and losses, and He was (is), the nudge in the ribs which prompts me (pretty regularly) to sort my attitude out, to not be resentful, to not show off, to stop mid-gossip, as it dawns on me just how destructive my gob can be.
It has nothing to do with church, with priests, with institutions or with rules. It’s just the safest place in the world to be; my lighthouse (as the song goes) in the middle of a dark and stormy sea.
I’m a #ChristianBecause I know that I am loved by a God who died to prove the point. Who could ever walk away from love?