The Web Log of Jon Henshaw

My Human Condition: A Letter to a Friend

Written by , published on and related to 🤔 Philosophy


I recently emailed a friend who was interested in learning about my loss of faith. This is what I wrote him.

Chris,

As with most things in our life, Dan B. had a role to play. He’s probably the person who pushed me to think more critically about what I believe. I’ve basically told him this, but he has yet to respond to me – either through fear of believing he could play that part in someone’s life like that or quite possibly he doesn’t even care. Other than that, I would say that my journey away from believing started with George Bush. Sounds silly, but it was then that I was able to see all too clearly what religion, politics and fear can do to people. It controls them, irrationally so. It was then that I knew if I were going to understand any type of truth – truth being a life quest for me – I would have to break myself away from “fear” itself. Fear of death, damnation, etc…, because ultimately, it was that fear that controlled my beliefs and actions. One of my favorite bands, Over the Rhine, put my situation into vivid perspective with the lyrics from their song Spark

Obsessions with self-preservation
Faded when I threw my fear away
It’s not a thing you can imagine

You either lose your fear
Or spend your life with one foot in the grave
Is God the last romantic?

Through my loss of fear – not all fear mind you – I was able to pursue the truth about my religious beliefs. What I found, through much contemplation and much reading, was that we are superstitious beings that have an insatiable desire for hope and meaning in our life, and for most people, like myself, religion has been the antidote. However, as I slowly learned, Christianity was no different from any other system of supernatural and meta-physical belief – in that it became obvious it was simply a form of superstition and an attempt for humankind to make sense of their existence.

The problem with any religion is that it requires belief, not facts. All religions, including Christianity at its core, are simply make-believe. For example, there’s literally no difference between a relationship with Jesus or God and that of an imaginary friend, because they are imaginary friends. I have to say that weening myself from my adult imaginary friend, Jesus, was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, and I experienced the loss that someone would experience with the death of real person.

Simply put, there is no religion that can stand up to rational and logical thought, which is where I choose to put my faith for the time being – that of a skeptic and a freethinker. It’s currently the only thing with substance and which makes sense to me. I also throw “agnosticism” into that mix, because I don’t believe for one second that I know why I exist, the true meaning of life or how everything got here. However, I can say with certainty, that there is no evidence for the existence of god or gods and religion is obviously a human-made coping mechanism for the condition and experience we call “life.”