My recent fifteen minutes of fame has got me thinking about my book again. You know, THE BOOK I keep talking about writing. About me. About my life. Well, all of you new readers and your comments and your private emails to me have inspired me deeply. I see a real need here. More than ever I see that this penguin's journey from God believer to humanist is a journey that needs to be shared.
In previous posts (here, here and here) I talked about reading Harris' The End of Faith and Dawkin's The God Delusion and how I felt that perhaps atheists were asking too much of believers, or rather that they didn't seem to understand the turmoil that one enters when abandoning long-held beliefs, whatever they may be. But particularly belief in a God and the surrounding structure of religion and its community. For those of us raised in cults or high-control religious groups, the leap into rational thinking is a leap into the great unknown, a darkness so vast it threatens everything you've come to believe not only about the universe, but about yourself and your place in it. It catapulted me into a long, dark tunnel of depression--one which I thought I would never emerge from. Sadly, many ex-jws commit suicide before they reach the other side. The losses, the change, the reality of life are just too much.
So, what if I wrote my book about the experience of leaving, what it meant to leave, how it changed me, what it took every day to confront every belief I held dear for so long. A book about facing your own mortality once the eternal life carrot has been wrought from your hands; about losing your social network because of cult-enforced shunning; about living every day with the feeling that you're a stranger to a strange land. Would people read this book?
And then there is the fear. To write such a book (although let's be honest here, so much of it is written on this blog and in my journals and in the secret world behind every tear I've shed over the past 3 years) would mean the very real possibility of finally alienating my still-jw parents. They have not yet taken the hardline with the shunning practice. In that, I am one of the lucky ones. But it is very possible that if I write this book, it will confirm once and for all that I am an "apostate" and the pressure will be great on my parents to cut off contact with me completely.
So here I am, at yet another crossroads in my life. Tough choices once again. But really, is there any other choice? When I finally saw the man behind the curtain 3 years ago, there was no other choice but to leave the faith I'd been raised with. I could no longer live a lie. There was no going back. The reality: Kansas is no longer on the map, there's no ruby slippers and there really is no place like home; in fact, there's no home at all.
So, what next?