The Praying Deist?

Previously published on my Tumblr page,

I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that I’ve been having a really hard time with things, with my depression creeping up. Also things are going to be a little bit tight for me financially for the next several weeks, so it’s very important that I do certain things to get everything in order.

I’m being forced to take some time off of my job, because I have too many hours for the year. I requested for my boss to concentrate that time around when I’ll be resuming classes (end of August, early September) and she agreed to my request. So thankfully I won’t have to work for the first week of school and that gives me some time to get acclimated to my school schedule. The bad part is that it will make my paycheck take a big hit, but luckily around that time I should be receiving some financial aid.

When I was driving home today, for some reason, I thought about how I used to just sit in my car and pray before work. I felt so overwhelmed, everything seemed so big to me- and it wasn’t because of depression. I truly didn’t feel equal to the task of any job that I was first starting. Those times were so refreshing and so intimate for me, but when I thought of praying for current events, I deliberately quelled the impulse. After all, what use was prayer to a person like me, who believed more or less that God gave life to the world but may have left us on our own? Or even if he/she/it didn’t, that maybe They were concerned with bigger problems- or that maybe They expected me to look inward for the answer to my difficulties- inward to the gift They’d already given me? So I just gripped the steering wheel and said, “I got this”.

Somehow, though, that wasn’t very satisfying. So as I was sitting here, facing what I have to face in the weeks to come, and feeling very insecure about it, I decided to go look up a post that I’d written a long time ago about praying as “an unbeliever.” It was called “I believe…”.

The truth is, that despite my changed beliefs, I still feel the presence of my God when I pray. I can’t explain it- maybe it shows that my relationship with the Divine had nothing to do with religion. Maybe in a way I believe that God transcends religion.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote;

I know, I’ve mentioned before that “recovering from religion” didn’t have to mean a total loss of faith but I think I was just trying to say it just to make myself believe it. Now, it’s real to me. I’m not a Christian anymore. I don’t believe in a seven day creation, partings of the Red Sea, an Israeli Exodus from Egypt, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the Resurrection, the Final Judgment or the Second Coming but I sure as heck do believe in a god. I believe that some Benevolent Force has intervened in my life for the better. I believe that Something gave me strength when I had totally given up. I also believe that this “something” isn’t going to let me down.

So where did I go about forgetting that even though I’m not a Christian anymore, that I’m still “allowed” to pray? (I think that was actually a separate entry, but I can’t find it) Where did I go about forgetting that my faith in “something” can still be firm and unshakeable? Of course, feelings are subjective, but our perception of the world is all that we really have. If I choose to believe that a Benevolent Force is guiding me and giving me strength, then why can’t that be as valid as other peoples’ highly subjective beliefs?

I know I did just write about not being sure if I could trust in the idea of hidden agency anymore, but that’s not a completely exclusive idea. I’m willing to accept that if there is hidden agency, that we have no way of actually verifying it with any of the methods that we now have at our disposal. So the idea of the existence of hidden agency can be viewed skeptically, but not totally ruled out- until we can gain more evidence. With that in mind, it’s important for me to realize that my beliefs will continue to change as I learn more and as I continue to grow as a person. It could be true that I have not reached my final destination as far as faith and religion is concerned.

For now, though, I’m going to keep praying. I’m going to keep “talking to the ceiling” whenever I’m in a crisis. It may be a sign of weakness or denial, and I may just be doing it because I’m used to doing so. I do remember, however, several times when things were horrible and I didn’t pray, because I just wanted to die and for my pain to end that way. Fortunately, I’m not at that point anymore- I still have a lot of hope.

If this is what it takes to keep going, then so be it.


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