Why I’m giving up God for lent

Image: Stefan Kunze

Catholicism was a theme in my house, but not an overarching rule. We celebrated Ash Wednesday some years, but more often than not, we didn’t.

It’s been decades since I’ve observed Lent. Well, I just signed up for a program put on by philosopher/theologian, Peter Rollins, called Atheism for Lent. I missed it last year, but caught it in time this year.

Some people give up chocolate, cigarettes, potato chips, or porn for Lent. But I, on the other hand, am giving up God…

In this program, we’ll read some of the greatest critics of religion (from Freud to Nietzsche, to Marx — even from within the church like Eckhart and Kierkegaard) not to critique them, but to open ourselves to critique.

You could argue that, on the cross, Jesus was an atheist. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” was not spoken from the lips of someone who was firm in their belief of a God. Jesus was viscerally, passionately doubting God in that moment.

Dark nights of the soul are transformational, not because they’re moments of confident belief, but because they're soul-shattering occurrences of doubt.

What’s also interesting is that theism and atheism pretend they hate each other. But if you look close enough, you’ll see they actually love each other. As much as they fight, they both speak of the same God and need that God to be a thing to exist.

Interestingly enough, some of the most outspoken atheists in history have voiced the same truths as the ancient prophets. In fact, the early Christians were considered atheists.

This is fascinating to me.

This comes at a perfect time in my life where I’m focusing on obliterating the idea of God being a superhuman being in the sky. I’m doing what I can to get away from a superstitious version of spirituality and, instead, embodying God as the thing that lives me.

I’m into cracking my old beliefs wide open to allow something bigger and more alive to come through. I want to be knocked off center. I want to feel my old beliefs rattled and kicked around the room for 6 weeks.

This old anthropomorphic God isn’t dying easy, I can tell you that. But this looks like it might help put the old guy in the bag to make room for the Divine.

P.S. I’m not being compensated for selling this program, but if you’d like to take it along with me, I’d love the company. You can sign up at any time (it’s $40) and catch up on the daily reflections/lessons. Learn more here:


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