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Two poems about loss of faith

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The Only Prayer I've Still Got In Me

I've thought about saying this a couple of ways.
You know it's been quite a long time since the last time I prayed.
I didn't take off or slack off because I let life interfere.
I lost the faith, and wouldn't fake believing,
and suddenly my whole world was upended.

Disillusionment was tough. Moral clarity faded to haze,
but we both know there's no way that I could have stayed.
That wouldn't have been right, forthright, or sincere.
I'm fine now. I've found a place I'm okay in,
which is better than if I had pretended.

However, I've had some hardships these past few days.
They've got me thinking about the choices I've made.
My aim ain't to complain, just explain what I mean to do here.
In case I'm wrong, and you can hear what I'm saying,
there's something that needs to be attended.

So though it's been some time since we parted ways.
There's a debt I have that I've felt should be paid.
I owe you both a why and good bye, something final and clear.
Although, that's likely not what you would be wanting...
How about we leave things open ended?


An Atheist's Lament

I once had faith in a higher power, a being
all knowing, impartial, and just,
a perspective in who's judgement I could trust.
Belief in this view promoted introspection
co-opting my empathy to force self-reflection.

Even now, after I have expunged god from my mind,
I find that my heart still clings
to a desire for redemption and greater meaning.
There can be no atonement with no judge to forgive.
Absolution is illusery to mortal perspectives.

There was value in that mental heuristic,
but it's dependant on belief.
Take that away and it loses its teeth.
Without a transcendent form of self regulation
our nature is dishonesty and self-justifications.

Yet our intellectuals have declared that
god is no longer needed
discounting views from those they see as beneath them.
"I have gained by philosophy," Aristotle's words ring in my ear,
"to do without being commanded what others do only from fear."

Are they unaware that decades of academic study
are reserved for certain classes?
It's not a practical or even possible path for the masses.
Societies need fear and it's either god or the whip.
Be beholden to an ideal or the rod and the stick.

And what high minded ideals fill the void
in this new world without god?
Authoritarian states and the will of the mob.
We reach for abstract concepts to plug up the hole,
but they're shallow substitutes for belief in a soul.

The results of all our selective evolution,
not intelligent design,
are brains optimized to conceptualize other minds.
No concept or laws can adequately replace
belief in a perspective.  "God" must have a face.

After years of searching for truth I have found
that faith is now closed to me.
I can see it's necessity, but can no longer believe.
So to you who think knowledge is always worth the cost.
It's only after you've paid that you'll know what you've lost.

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