When was the last time you went an entire day without talking to anyone? No texts, DMs, calls, or face-to-face communication with anyone - not a tweet or comment on Instagram? Have you ever done this?
Try it. Try going an entire day without communicating to another human being and see if you make it more than fifteen minutes before you read the messages you forgot to respond to or go on Facebook to see what everyone is up to.
Conversation is the most important and powerful tool we have. It’s really the only thing we have. Without the ability to communicate and people with whom we can exchange ideas, we can quickly slip into despair.
This is one of the unexpected benefits of Christianity - the creator of the universe can hear your thoughts and cares to listen. While this opens us up to the existence of punishable thought crime, as Christopher Hitchens was fond of pointing out, it closes the door to ever being truly alone.
As long as one’s faith is sufficient to believe the delusion that Jesus is literally inside their head with them, the overwhelming weight of existential loneliness is borne upon strong shoulders.
When one realizes they have been believing a lie, it is difficult to accurately describe the void that is left behind. It is as though a tourniquet were removed prematurely from above a major bleed and now exsanguination is inevitable and imminent.
It is true, of course, that not everyone - not even most people - experience such a profound struggle with this seemingly inescapable loneliness so I will ask you this: if you had nobody to talk to, no mind with which you could relate to and no empathy to connect with in your struggles, how long do you think you would last?
We ought to make a point of including the recently deconverted in our discourse and welcome them with love and kindness. Of course we should ultimately value everyone, but, as humans, we have a limited amount of empathy. I am arguing here that we ought to allocate time and energy to reaching out to the formerly religious and asking if they are dealing with this loss of perceived companionship in a healthy way.
Losing one’s god belief can create intense, unbearable loneliness. Check on your friends and make sure they know they don’t need Jesus to not be alone.