4,173 hours wasted.

I’ve never been good at arithmetic, but I enjoy numbers.  There is something about quantitative analysis that I find fascinating.  Statistics, charts, graphs, numbers… they’re great. So the other day I was sitting in class and the idea struck me, just how much time did I spend exclusively on Christianity? Naturally, it is next to impossible to come up with a solid number.  As a Christian, my faith was pervasive through most all aspects of my life.  I’ve avoided the temptation to ‘double dip’ (ex. Inner monologue-type prayer while at work or school is not included; conversations about God are not included, etc.).  I counted up the average number of hours I spent in church, bible studies, doing devotions, etc. during my high school and college years. Of course they are only averages, I did not go to church every Sunday nor did I spend the same amount praying each day, but I’ve come up with what I think is a good approximation:  4,173 hours over a period of seven years spent exclusively on religious activities. That’s roughly 14.7% of my time devoted exclusively to religious activity.


To put that in perspective, if I slept an average of 6 hours a night, that would come out to 15,288 hours (40.0%).  That means that after sleep and religious activities, less than half of my life was spent on all other activities combined.  Also if 6 months is about 4,300 hours then I spent nearly 6 months of my life in church, reading the bible and praying.  That’s a lot of time.
What if I had spent that 14.7% of my time reading?  Say I read a page roughly every 2 minutes. In an hour then, I would read 30 pages. That’s 125,190 pages. That’s a lot of books. What if I had spent that time running? I would be doing marathons left and right.  What if I had spent that time working? At minimum wage, that would have been well over $25,000 earned.

  What if I had donated that time to volunteering at a soup kitchen or a United Way?

I recognize that I am neither dedicated enough to spend all that time on one activity, nor am I future thinking enough to have spent that time doing exclusively productive things.  Not to mention that it is not as if all that time was a waste.  My time as a Christian has helped form me into the person I am now (for better or worse).  It was my Christian youth pastor that virtually forced me to attend college, avoiding what would most certainly have been a life working at a local factory in my home town.  Most of my friends are religious to varying degrees.  The point still remains, I feel somewhat foolish having dedicated that much time to something I ultimately abandoned.


4 Responses to “4,173 hours wasted.”

  1. I don’t think that you wasted any of your time. Becoming an atheist should be a process. Atheism isn’t an article of faith that you choose to hold or not, it’s the outcome of a reasoned and honest assessment of life. Reasoned and honest assessments have a nasty habit of taking a while.

    And unless you were actively stoning adulterers or assassinating abortion doctors, your 4,173 hours probably didn’t contribute too much to the horrors of the world.

    In any case, it’s nice to have you on this side of the fence.

  2. Derek Rishmawy Says:

    Not to be a stinker, but who knows, you might come back and begin to think that your time as an atheist was the waste. (Although I would argue that it probably isn’t.) 🙂

    Question: was none of that time you spent as a Christian spent at soup kitchens or helping the poor or befriending the friendless?

    Also, is there like an old blog of yours that sets up your story of how you came to where you’re at so I could kind of catch up and know a bit of your story? I would hate to make too many ignorant comments that stem from me being oblivious to your background.

    Well, have a good one.


    Ps. I think its funny that there is an atheist Derek and a Christian Derek commenting on your page.

  3. CTC,

    I think this realization, that I’ve wasted so many hours thinking about religion and Christianity, hits me hardest. I have wasted soooo many hours thinking about things that can never change anything. This fact alone is enough to spur one to quit it. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  4. Derek #1,

    Haha I’m glad I’m on this side of the fence, too. 😉

    Derek #2,

    In response to your question, certainly my Christian faith inspired me to do “good works.” I did my best in tabulating the figures above to leave out activities like that, instead focusing on exclusively religious activities – church services, bible study, prayer, etc. Also, I don’t deny that my Christian faith did serve a purpose in my life, and had a great number of positive effects along with the bad.

    As for my history… my very first blog entry “My Story” from last October tells my ‘religious autobiography’ if you are interested.


    Thanks. 🙂 When I started thinking about the number hours I wasted (again, I use that term very lightly) that I can’t get back, it served to encourage me to be more careful with the time I do have left.

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