Tania Kuehn

Name:  Tania Kuehn
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
What type of work do you do?
I’ve been working in support services (housekeeping, food services, laundry) with Interior Health for almost ten years. In 2012, I took a leave of absence from that job, and I spent most of the year working in a funeral home and crematorium — that was certainly one of the most interesting chapters of my life! As well, I’ve worked at a few part-time jobs over the years; I worked as a housekeeper in a hotel and
a waitress in a Thai restaurant, and for a very brief period I worked night shifts as a flagger.
How would you identify yourself in terms of religion/spirituality?
I would say I’m an agnostic, leaning towards atheism.
What are some of your reasons for joining CFI?
I joined CFI about three years ago, which was around the time that I felt that I could no longer be part of a church community. It was a big challenge to leave behind a religion that had meant so much to me for most of my life, and I felt the need to meet people who are open-minded, non-judgmental, and not trapped in some of the ways of “religious” thinking and living that are so unhealthy.
Are there any movies or books that have had a big impact on you?
Yes, definitely! I’ve read many memoirs by people who have had major shifts in their “status of faith” or who have completely deconverted from their religious faith. To name a few… “Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious” by Chris Stedman, “Hope After Faith” by Jerry Dewitt, “When We Were on Fire” by Addie Zierman, and “Evolving in Monkey Town” by Rachel Held Evans. I also really liked “With or Without God” by Gretta Vosper, and “The Divinity of Doubt” by Vincent Bugliosi. Alain deBotton’s “Religion for Atheists” does an excellent job of pointing out the positive things that come from religion, while also emphasizing the importance of discarding the parts that are outdated, unhealthy, and simply not beneficial anymore. I think that the 2010 movie “Creation” is very powerful; it is about Charles Darwin’s work, his family, and his loss of religious faith.
What were some of the defining moments that led you to the point where you are now, in a religious/spiritual sense?
I was raised in a Christian family and did all the typical Christian things — prayer, Bible-reading, church on Sundays and mid-week, devotions, worship music, retreats, college and career group, and so on. I was happy with that and I expected that my world would always revolve around those things. In January 2011, shortly before I turned 27, a few things happened in my personal life that really made me question the God of the Bible — His intervention in the lives of His children, His goodness, His existence — and those questions led to more questions about many Christian teachings. I could no longer find answers within Christianity, so I began to explore “outside of the box”; I read tons of books, watched many documentaries on the Internet, read some more. I clearly remember early one morning around 2am in August 2011, sitting in the kitchen in my basement suite in Salmon Arm, pen and paper in my hand, when I knew there was no turning back — I knew something major had happened and that I could no longer be a Christian “believer.” It was a very frightening, sad, confusing realization.  I tried to go back to former beliefs and rituals for a couple years, but mostly that resulted in getting headaches from all the mental gymnastics of trying to make sense of it all. In 2012 and 2013, when I was going through a very dark place in my life and in my head, God and Jesus never showed up to save me; I eventually learned that it was not healthy for me to be in such a one-sided relationship — the silence was overwhelming, the same patterns kept repeating, there was no good reason for me to try to force a belief system that no longer made sense to me. I am grateful for many of the good things that came out of my Christian experience — great people, fun times, important lessons, beautiful music — and I will probably always miss certain aspects of that time in my life, but for the most part, I am happy to be moving on to a more positive, well-rounded, exciting way of life.