Damn… I have attempted this blog post from multiple angles but for whatever reason none of them have “sparked joy.” So, I deleted them and started again, not looking back. But with each new iteration more personal story came bubbling up to the surface and I felt compelled to continue on.
I was inspired to write because I had read an article about the lead singer of a christian band revealing that he no longer believed in god. It was inspiring and very touching, and some of his words mirrored my own thoughts. Except the journey to how each of us arrived at our conclusion was very different.
His was a lingering sense of the bible not being true, whereas mine was revealed to me step by step until I arrived at the peak of this new way of thinking.
When I met my husband I had lived a very religious life. Up until that point I had even still believed in god, even though I was gay. It was just me carrying the bonds of my former imprisonment. (Brainwashing is hard to undo.)
My husband was the one who shook my faith. He asked me questions, and the one thing Christianity hates is inquiries into the validity of belief. And the answers that are typically offered in response to most are nonsensical and unending self-prophecy. Where the one giving the answer has this overwhelming sense of accomplishment for these “spiritual attacks” and doesn’t see their own bullshit. Except, most people who ask such probing thoughts are not my husband. He is the most antagonistic person I have ever met and has a way of driving you crazy with his interrogations. And to say he made me angry in those early days is an understatement. I truly do not understand how I stuck around or didn’t murder him. Yet it was these mental exercises that put deep cracks in my religious foundation.
The next big step was silly and kind of pathetic looking back…
I was a biblical literalist. I believed that everything that was mentioned in the bible factually and literally happened. It wasn’t meant for interpretation or was used as allegory. It occurred. And so, when I realized that if you could see a man sunbathing on the roof of a building with Google earth, you’d most certainly find a flaming sword guarding the entrance to a mythical garden from whence all life sprung forth. That revelation truly made me doubt everything. Dumb… I know.
The thing that inevitably killed every ounce of lingering faith within me was my mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t understand why a woman who had devoted her life to this mystical entity, acted as a “true christian” should, was just given the worst death sentence. My brain tried to comprehend it, like was this a punishment for letting me be faggot? And if that’s so, why would he use my mother as a device to torture me? One of his most faithful. These thoughts led me to my ultimate conclusion that there couldn’t be a god and if there was one he was the biggest asshole, one who didn’t give a shit if you tried or not. He just wanted to know that he could, much like the one in the book of Job.
The last thing I ever told my father, before he died, was that I didn’t believe in god anymore. I outlined the reasons above and he just looked at me silently, with his appraising eyes. He didn’t respond. I wonder now if he started to question it also. At the time, he was in the thick of my mother “losing her mind,” before getting leveled out by medication. I can’t imagine what he felt. (Sidenote, I really do miss him.)
Now I am a staunch atheist. Life to me is just one big accident filled with a lot of cruelty, lacking any reason. It just is what it is.
The lingering religious thoughts come to the surface and said “well that doesn’t seem like a good way to think of life.” And my response to my own ridiculous thoughts is, yes it is. It removes this belief that I have to have my life mean something, or that it’s some sort of test to get to enlightenment, acting all on “faith” that it even exists. So why would I waste the time I have now chasing some figment of imagination. I’d rather just live my days trying to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, and not because I will receive some awards in the afterlife.
P.S. I also don’t believe in an after life.