I used to beg God to exist. Now I’m glad he doesn’t.
I’m an Atheist and this is going to be an Atheist blog. There are an ever growing number of Atheist blogs on the internet. Most, I’m sure, have been and will continue to be better than anything that occurs here. I’m just adding my voice to the multitude in hopes that we’ll eventually drown out the superstitious nonsense that currently grips the world today.
God’s not an easy thing to give up. Who doesn’t want an all-knowing all-powerful being looking out for you? In the playground of life, who doesn’t want to say, “My big brother is bigger than you and he can kick your ass.” Then again, I don’t have a big brother, and what I’ve heard from friends who do have a big brother is that when he’s not sticking up for you at the playground, he’s tormenting you at home by pushing your face in the dirt and stealing the heads from your Barbies.
God, of course, would never do such things, right? An all-knowing all-powerful being is all about love, right? All those people who do horrible things in the name of their God have things completely screwed up and obviously don’t know what their religion is REALLY supposed to be about.
Except, they do. They’ve actually read and contemplated the words in their Holy Texts. It’s the rest of us who’ve gotten it wrong. We’ve cherry picked the ideas from the texts that give us warm fuzzies and ignored the rest, if we’ve bothered to read them at all.
Those of you long time Atheists will know all this and know it’s been said better by the likes of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Should there actually be someone reading this that doesn’t, I humbly point you in their direction. Get thee to a bookstore and buy The God Delusion and The End of Faith!
I was raised Catholic, but not until after my parents divorced when I was seven. I don’t know remember anything religious happenings in my life from before they divorced. My father is an Atheist and my grandmother on my mother’s side was possibly an Atheist as well. Maybe it was because we went to stay with Catholic friends that my mother started practicing. I do remember her telling me that she wanted to raise me with religion so I’d never feel alone in the world. She didn’t say it was because it was true.
I now think it’s unfortunate that neither my father nor my grandmother, for whatever reason, chose to oppose this new religious direction. Perhaps it was the strength of my mother’s will or perhaps they thought, “it couldn’t hurt.” Perhaps they’d never heard of Catholic Guilt.
The Catholic Church teaches that divorce is wrong. When I asked my divorced mother about it, I was informed that her marriage to my father didn’t count because they weren’t married in the Catholic Church. I remember thinking at the time that logic was sort of bending the rules and also wondering if that made me a bastard. (The Bastard was a TV Miniseries at the time and it was very titillating to learn there were bad words that suddenly weren’t bad words if you meant them in a different way.) She had another brief, non-counting marriage, before having the real one with a third man.
Years and years of CCD (what they called Catechism before that and call something else now) and I never made it to confirmation. Like all teenagers, by High School I believed I knew better than adults and told my mom I didn’t believe in God or that Jesus was his son. This pissed off my mother, but then I was only just getting started with finding things with which to piss her off. I believed religion was a crutch and religious people were nutcases. My teenage self would be horrified at some of my later religious phases.
A year or so after High School, and much family drama, I found myself without friends or family and in the Army. My solitude, my need, and a book I found in the library called Drawing Down the Moon led me into Wicca. It, and the Mists of Avalon, had me convinced that all the time I’d been praying to the Virgin Mary who I really should be worshiping was the Goddess.
You know how hard that is to admit? It’s like getting caught singing into the hairbrush in front of the mirror.
Wicca was cool and I could see all kinds of parallels between the rituals from the Catholic Church and the rituals practiced in spells. And Magik is really all about focusing your positive energy to influence the world around you. Not much different than the woo from “The Secret” or “What the Bleep”. It did make me feel incredibly cool and gothic and special. And I totally missed the point that I was estranged from my mother and was now replacing her with a Goddess?
Then I fell in love with a Baptist who feared that I and my heathen ways were going to Hell because I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. Man we do stupid things for love don’t we? First I went along with it because I wanted him and wanted him to marry me, and then I got sucked into it completely. I helped in my own brainwashing. I went to Bible study. I listened to Christian radio. I was led to be “Born Again” and was baptized with a full dunking in a Baptist Church because my Catholic baptism as a child “didn’t count.” My Baptist in-laws were so happy. Wow, I finally had parents who were proud of me.
And when my marriage was failing and my husband was wetting the bed because he was too drunk to wake up in the night, I bought the Praying Wife and stuck with it. Eventually the day finally came six years later that I couldn’t stick with it anymore.
And without him I didn’t go to Baptist Church anymore. I started going to Catholic Church again because I missed the ritual and non-Catholic Churches don’t feel like “real” churches. Where’s the stained glass? Where’s the incense? Where are the pews and the statues? But it was lacking in the “motivational speaking” I’d come to depend on from the Baptist side. So I retained my brain washing and listened to Christian Radio and read the Left Behind Series. I almost dumped my said-he-was-Catholic-but-didn’t-really-believe-in-it-but-believed-in-something boyfriend because, according to my Left Behind saturated mind, he was damned and going to Hell.
The rapture is imminent you know. It has been since the beginning of Christianity.
This time when love won out over everything else it luckily turned out to be the right decision.
I started to think that if only I could get back to what the Catholic Church was before it was corrupted by mankind. Back when priests could still get married and sex wasn’t a bad thing. I tried to learn more because I desperately wanted a Teresa of Avila experience. I wanted to know religious ecstasy. I thought if I could just learn more I’d be able to reach certainty and not feel like I was deluding myself.
I was watching one of the many documentaries they have on the History or Discovery Channel about the history of the Bible or the Christians, I don’t remember the specific program, but it mentioned very casually, as an aside, that there was doubt as to whether Jesus ever existed.
What… wait a minute…WHAT? I thought that the existence of Jesus wasn’t in doubt. That couldn’t be true. There had to at least have been a guy that at one time was a leader and maybe later on his message was distorted. There had to have been someone who was the Martin Luther King of his day right?
And much like described in the movie The God Who Wasn’t There, the more I looked for a historical Jesus, the more, or rather less, I found of him. This was the beginning of the domino chain that led to my Atheism.
I have friends who are praying for me, hoping that someday I’ll come back into the light. I know that they mean it out of love and concern for me. Out of love and concern for them, I hope that one day they will find their way out of the superstitious dark ages and into the light of science and wonder. My world has gotten bigger and more wonderful since the bindings of dogma have been removed.
It is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W.K. Clifford