It’s one of the biggest questions surrounding religion: do you believe in a higher being, do you believe in God?
The question about belief seems to be the primary way we like to talk about religion and faith. You might even say that it’s the only religious thing that matters, regardless of ceremonies and rituals, community and service—or maybe even love and ethical behavior. Without belief, you can’t really have any of the rest.
In her forthcoming book, lifelong seeker Sarah Henn Hayward talks about how she discovered that something is wrong with this view about belief that’s so baked into the Christianity that surrounds us, regardless of our tradition. It’s that very idea about belief in a certain god that leads so many of us, including Sarah and the world that formed her, to try and convince others that it’s the only god worth believing in.
This book is not trying to convince anyone to join me. That has been one of the gifts of leaving my faith. I no longer have a constant, underlying compulsion to change everyone’s mind and behavior to match my own. Being an evangelical, protestant Christian meant I always had converting others on my mind, even as I became more progressive. In my earlier Christian days I tried to steer conversations with unsuspecting neighbors and non-religious friends toward Jesus whenever possible.
That underlying compulsion to convince and convert others is so deceptively at work when we think our way is the only way, is it not? Do they not go hand in hand?
After traveling the world, meeting people of different faiths, making queer friends, and learning about human evolution, Sarah discovered so much more to life, so much more wonder and beauty, so much more variety, so much more hope than what was afforded by the Christianity that raised her.
But now we’re saying too much. You’ll want to follow Sarah @shaywardwrites on Instagram or at sarahhennhayward.com and stay up to date on her forthcoming book, which will offer comfort and comaraderie, a sense of discovery and imagination, renewed identity, and glimpses of a new world of spiritual richness that is there for us all, if only we’d notice it.
Welcome, Sarah, to Lake Drive Books. We can’t wait to bring your discoveries into the book world.