• Sam Goodchild

Coming Out of the Spiritual Closet

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

I admit it. I’ve been in the spiritual closet for a long time.

Here in the UK admitting to believing in God is often mocked and derided. Some intellectuals and academics claim it’s superstitious;

They imply that it’s a primitive or less intelligent way to think:

“the higher one’s intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold “beliefs” of any kind.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

Or that it’s not sober thinking:

“In George Bernard Shaw’s words, ‘The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

In fact, I’ve kept my secret for almost 20 years.

When I was a teenager, people were shamed for admitting they were gay. Now thankfully, that’s changed. It’s a good thing that people can speak openly about their inner world without being shamed or shut down. That’s evolutionary thinking. I wish the same respect was afforded to someone talking openly about their spirituality. I envy the Americans, there you are not automatically considered delusional if you believe in God.

Surely anyone feeling they have to hide who they truly are is a sad business?

And yet, I know how superior and ‘right’ an analytical atheist can feel – because I was one. When I was around 12 years old, I distinctly remember watching a science program on TV and having a ‘realisation’ that God was a lie. Up until that point, I had assumed God was real – a man with a white beard on a cloud and I’d say my prayers to Him at night. At the end of this TV program, I was sure of three things.

- There is no God.

- There is no life after death.

- This – creation, the earth, humans was all an accident.

The next 18 years I was very angry with Christianity and the church. I used to argue against the existence of God. I believed Jesus existed – too much ‘historical evidence’ to be a myth but I thought he was a good man who advocated compassion and did some good deeds in the world. I was certain there was no way he was a mystical son of God.

Perhaps then, when I had my ‘awakening’ at age 30, being very familiar with my own powerfully arrogant atheist mindset, I decided to keep it to myself.

How did this change happen?

It was as quick and instant as the TV programming incident. But this time, rather than deferring to some external authority figure on the small screen, I was being prompted by some unseen force from within. I was browsing in the spiritual section of a bookshop – not somewhere I was used to hanging out – looking for a present for my brother. I hated the word God. And yet I found myself pulling Neale Donald Walsh’s ‘Conversations with God’ off the shelf. I then got the urge to open the book randomly at any page – I decided in that moment if I liked what I read I would buy the book. The line I read sung to me. Something resonated. It was a moment when my life changed tracks. A ‘sliding doors’ moment.

I took the book home and read it cover to cover. I found myself back on a spiritual path.

I’m not religious. My view of what God is changes, (I certainly don’t think She is a Bearded man on a cloud any more) my spirituality changes and evolves. But since I dedicated myself to knowing the Truth, God hasn’t gone away.

Do I have doubts? Yes, sometimes.

Do I have moments of complete ‘knowing’ and a sense of connection to a great Divinity? Yes (and I wish I could hold on to those!)

Science was god in my world for those 18 atheist years. Now I don’t believe it has to be a choice between one or the other. I value science, the scientific method, the ability to think critically and question everything. I also value trusting my instinct, tuning into my intuition and connecting with the Divine.

So what I’m saying is - I’m coming out. I believe in God. There, I said it. I believe in the Divine, and that there is a power greater than myself at work in the Universe. If that makes some think I’m intellectually inferior, deluded or stupid, so be it.

I’m Out and by Goddess, I’m proud.

Are you in the Spiritual Closet? Or have you had any negative experiences ‘coming out’ spiritually? I’d love to hear about your experience – drop me a message in the comments below.

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