Once upon a time, I told my mother that I was not Christian and she said “You are Catholic.” I replied, “I’m not Catholic. I don’t believe in God.” and to that she said “You are Catholic. You were born Catholic.” This isn’t like being born a Jew. I was not born Catholic. I was born into a Catholic family, but I believe that religion is a choice. This was a topic a long time ago. She brought up religion to me again recently, which I told her I didn’t believe in the Bible, and she asked if I “at least believe in God?” I told her that I did not believe in God like others do and that it was complicated. I told her that I would write about it eventually and I shared this blog with her.
Originally, my husband asked if I had ever thought about sharing this blog with my family, and I had said no emphatically. The thing is, I love my family but I just don’t feel like I’m of a like-mind. I am so very different than them and I’ve been guarded to a degree. Sure, I have my moments of open honesty, but most of the time I avoid topics that make me feel different. It’s the same as when you avoid the topic of religion and politics with coworkers (it has the same feel). However, this has lead to a feeling that perhaps my family don’t know me as well as they should. So I changed my mind. Why not let me see all of me? My mother has always loved me unconditionally and there is no doubt in my mind that this will always be true. So, here it goes. Let’s talk about religion.
When I was young, I did grow up in a Catholic family. My family are very religious. One of my Aunts is what I’d call a “Cultist for Christ” because she’s so religious it’s insane. She likes to mass email everyone prayers and Gospel, that she can’t fathom the idea of someone not wanting to be spammed constantly with Jesus. She’s so religious that the one time I said I was Buddhist instead of Christian, she called my mother in hysterical tears saying I was a satan worshiper and was going to hell. She’s so passionate, that she embodies being a slave to religion. I love my Aunt, but she’s the type of Christian that I don’t like. I think even my sister is a Cultist for Christ too. Don’t get me wrong, this post isn’t about Religion bashing. I just have a strong opinion on the topic.
I feel that the reason Religion and Science don’t get along, is because Religion often spits on Science. Science often has to defend itself against Religious beliefs. I think it’s foolish, and by the end of this blog, I think you’ll understand why I feel this way. Some Religious people (but not all) will follow a church blindly like sheep. They often can’t think for themselves, because “God”, because “Bible”. I had zero faith in the bible and that began my decent from Church-going Christians, Catholics, etc.
As a pre-teen in a new state, I had made friends with a few people of varying faiths. So, naturally, I explored new Religions. Being raised Catholic, I was ignorant of just how different each faith could be. In my mind, Catholicism was all there was and that was truth. I was a lamb who was told what to believe, rather than think for myself. That’s not to say that you can’t think for yourself and also be faithful. I have some rather respectable Religious friends who are not simply sheep. However, this is how my journey began.
While exploring these other faiths, I discovered that one Bible was not like the other. So, I asked why the Bible was different and I learned that there were any versions. The short story is, for me, it was no longer a Book of God. It is now a book revised and bastardized by man. This was an eye opener for me. It forced me to look at Religion and God and ask myself, “Is it real?” It was the first time that I considered that it was all a lie. Now if you are a Cultist for Christ, you’ve probably already stopped reading this. If you are still reading it, then perhaps you have an open mind.
Like any good Christian, I feared the devil and hell. At some point, I admitted to myself that I was afraid to consider anything else because I feared that I’d go to hell. Then I remembered being told by many that God gave me free will to think for myself. Ironic in a way, because churches don’t truly promote this in my opinion. So I let my mind wonder and I dared to ask questions. Church was honestly of no help, because they pushed for blind faith and offered no answers… only fear and pressure. I lost faith in church because of this. How my doubt was handled, was what further pushed me away. I found that Churches had a way of isolating you if you questioned too much. It wasn’t just one church. Which is sad. That is not God’s fault, that is man’s fault. I began to think it was all a lie. I was brave to turn away from God.
I explored other Religions. As a teenager, I met a girl who was Wiccan. My mother, being the supportive and patient woman she is, did not do to me what the churches had done. At some point, I felt enough trust to ask my mother if she would be okay with me being Wiccan and she said that as long as it’s not devil worship or illegal, that she was okay with it. To me, that was a very open minded and one of the many things that earned my respect for my mother. I’m sure she thought it was simply a phase, and in the end she was right, to a degree. This phase lasted until adulthood. I have come to respect Wiccans, but alas it is no more real to me than Christianity. There are Wiccans out there who are disconnected from reality, whom I refer to as “Fairy Children”, just as there are “Cultists for Christs” in Christianity.
In my search for truth, I did have an epiphany. I laid in my bed one night and I asked myself a question. If there was nothing and I was an all powerful God, what would I do? I pushed all fear, all doctrine, and all opinions away and I was alone with myself. What would I do as a God? I would create a friend. I would create a beautiful place. Okay, this makes sense. Why would I create life? Because I want to. But why? Why not? I don’t know. Why create a cat? Because I love cats. Why create food? Because it tastes good. Why would I do anything? Because it makes me happy. At that moment, I realized that the meaning of life is to live. The core reason we do anything, is happiness. With this in mind, I questioned everything.
I even asked why there was evil in the world. Surprisingly, the answer was that good and bad is a matter of perception. It’s not black and white. I once had that discussion with a Christian friend who got very angry at me. They felt murder was evil, regardless of context. I disagreed. What if a man is threatening a babies’ life and a cop is forced to kill the attacker. I don’t believe that what the cop did was evil. Don’t get me wrong, I can say that the man trying to hurt a child is evil, but I acknowledge that it’s my perception. Intent, reasons, and perception all matter.
A person can say they except Christ in their heart and ask for forgiveness, but if they don’t mean it, it’s empty. People who think they can do bad things and simply ask for forgiveness are naive. Perhaps if you truly regret your actions and truly want forgiveness, asking would be enough… but no one knows for sure. In fact, the second greatest epiphany I’ve ever had was admitting that I truly know nothing, and I am okay with that. When I met my husband and explained what I believed in, he said that I sounded Buddhist. I had said that the world was a balance of positive and negative energy and that all things good or bad was perception only. Life must consume life to live. It is the law of nature. So for a while in my young adulthood, I thought I was Buddhist.
However, as time passed and I learned more about Buddhism, I came to acknowledge that I did not believe everything that they believed. Some other self proclaimed Buddhists were very judgmental and liked to point out all the ways that you are not Buddhist. I found that some Buddhist were very manipulative and self absorbed to the point that they didn’t care about anyone else’s feelings. It didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that ALL religions have their extremists, as well as reasonable practitioners who truly try to embody the spirit of their faith.
I felt like I didn’t belong to any Religion and yet I held aspects of all the Religions I explored. I asked myself, do I even need a Religion? Do I really need a label at all? Can’t I just believe in whatever it is that I believe is right? Someone once argued that you can’t have morals without God or the Bible. I disagreed. You can feel pain, you have emotions, and you can have a sense of right and wrong without Religion. I was asked, “How do you know you are right? What if you are wrong?” That was a good question… I don’t know… neither do you. If we are wrong, we’re wrong. We have a 50/50 chance.
I met a man once who said he believed in God, but did not believe in the Bible nor Churches. He said that what he and God talked about was between them. I don’t remember his name or where I met him, and he wasn’t really an acquaintance. It was just a thoughtful conversation with a stranger. Sometimes, you find inspiration from random places.
So, that night, I had a private conversation with God. We came to an agreement that since He gave me free will, I would have faith that I wouldn’t be punished for using it. That I was free to explore and believe what I felt was right. And that if I was wrong at any given time, so long as I had good intentions, He would forgive me. I asked for forgiveness right then if I was wrong. And thus, I felt like I had freed myself from the shackles of man-made religion. I spent the next few years an atheist along with my husband. While he’s still an atheist, I have found that I am not.
I’m big into Science and the more I’ve explored it, the more I am open to the idea of God. Existence is a truly a contradictory thing. Science believes in facts and everything happens for a reason. The universe is filled with cause and effect. However, the idea that the universe simply just happened is illogical. But no matter how far back you look, it is simply impossible that something suddenly came from nothing. I’m not saying it was God and I’m not saying it’s not God. I’m saying it’s just impossible and defies logic. I pictured the nothingness that existed before the Big Bang Theory. I saw the black of nothingness and realized, that it’s not nothing. I cannot imagine nothing. It’s impossible. What we call nothing, is actually something. I close my eyes and see a black void. It was truly nothing, it wouldn’t have a color, nor could it be pictured. I believe that there is no such thing as nothing, and something has always existed. Existence is eternal. Logic dictates that this is impossible, yet eternal existence is more logical than something coming from nothing. The existence of life, existence of logic, existence of Science… it’s all magical and wondrous. How can I not be open to the possibility of God? I just don’t believe in the God depicted in Religions. I am as open to God, I am open to the notion that there is no God and life simply exists. I will never truly know.
I still do not believe in the Bible, the Church, or the God that people proclaim to speak for. I do not agree with what they believe is right in the eyes of God. If I am to believe in a God, it’s there in that last paragraph in the beauty and mystery that Science explores. I think that Science is far closer to God than any church. If God created existence, than God created Science. If things happen the way God planned, then Science is God’s plan. I have come to know that I know nothing and yet I feel that I understand. I am open to the existence and also the absence of God. I remain free from religion. I am Agnostic.
I don’t hate religion in general. I’m not a Christian-hater. I have Christian and non-Christian friends alike. I disapprove of Christian-bashing and religion-hating in general. You can disagree, but don’t be a dick. There are atheists that are just as hostile as a Cultist For Christ, just as delusional as a Fairy Child, and as judgmental as a Self-absorbed Buddhist. I believe that people have the freedom to believe what they feel is right and we’ll always have disagreements. However, I’ll always try to respect other peoples beliefs and at least be kind!