Giving up God for Lent

What are you giving up for Lent? 

As we approach the festival of Easter, we aim to experience something of what Jesus felt on the Cross. In his cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God confesses the absence of God.

…let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.” G.K. Chesterton

During Lent, we will expose ourselves to some of the great atheist critics of religion, in order to purge ourselves of a faith in which doubt is bad and God is used as a crutch to cope with the uncertainties and hardships of life.

In the process, we hope to discover a richer faith in which our experiences of the absence of the presence of God are recognised and remembered.

atheism for Lent graphic

a 6-week Course exploring what it might mean to 

give up God for Lent

The above lines were taken from Peter’s course intro – apologies if I’m infringing on any copyright laws.

The point is that I’m giving up God for Lent. Or for those without my slightly twisted sense of humor … I’m giving up my limited understanding of God for Lent OR I’m letting go of the idols of God I’ve created over the years for Lent because I need to. Idols weigh the soul, mind and body down, so I’m trying to lay whatever I can aside, with God’s help, so I can walk more freely the pilgrimage that lays ahead.

Lord I find you in the seeking

Lord I find you in the doubt



Last time I posted I was giving up God for Lent, publically announcing doing the course “Atheism for Lent” with Peter Rollins and company, I took it down after 2 days, because Linda, my partner through marriage, said that it was too provocative for the season we were in. Last week she freed (retired) me from some of my self imposed limits by re-piercing my ear … a symbol of my concession to Christians who may not understand body piercing – like my dad who, in his honest appraisal of his eldest son’s jewelry said, “Why would you take the mark of the homo, son?” Apologies to any who might be offended by his statement. He died almost 18 years ago and I’d like to think he now has a broader understanding about many things, probably chatting it up with all the LGBTQ+ folk enjoying God’s presence – however that works. I’m looking forward to reuniting with him, but I digress. But hey, it’s my blog so I can go where I want…thank you very much, but I digress.

Some other good words from the facilitators’ booklet, pg. 5 – “Since ‘religion can hide from us as nothing else can the face of God,’ (Ikon, “The God Delusion: Where does your faith lie?,” Greenbelt Arts Festival, Aug 26 2007.) we attempt through this “Atheism for Lent” Course a careful self-examination, to perhaps discover a richer faith beyond an instrumental religion of immediate self-interest.” “By exploring the theological dimension of atheism, we will discover how it can offer a type of exorcism powerful enough to cast out any festering fundamentalism lurking within our souls.” 

AMEN – I say, in my most Pentecostal voice. Who wouldn’t want any festering cast out … especially a spirit of fear. I’d much rather live with a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I’m still asking for grace to live out of that power, love and sound mindedness – hope springs eternal. This stuff does get pretty heady and soulful in a wonderful Spirit-led way.

After this short walk with friends like Peter Rollins and company, l’m also looking forward to learning things that will help me experience / know the Holy One more deeply – soul, body, mind (in that order) Or as Richard of Chichester prayed in the 13th century and the 5th Dimension sang in 1973:

Day by day

Day by day

Oh Dear Lord

Three things I pray

To see thee more clearly

Love thee more dearly

Follow thee more nearly

Day by day


May all our Lenten journey’s be fulfilling and challenging as mine is shaping up to be.

Buen Camino – the pilgrimage continues.

About gsmurphy1

Husband, father, son, brother, listener, seeker, encourager, pilgrim, stained glass artist
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