Born again… Atheist.
Lately I’ve been posting a load of atheist quotes and photos on my Pinterest. Now for most who know me from young, I’ve been born into a catholic family, baptised, holy communion, confirmation, the lot. I never really understood what was happening, I just listened and did what I was told. I was washed of my sins before I was a year old, I received the body of christ, the blood of christ, the holy spirit… What? But of course I was only a child. The last holy sacrament was my confirmation. It was all rather exciting because I was bought new clothes, showered with gifts, all eyes on me. What child doesn’t want that kind of treatment?
My primary school was run by nuns and was in the compound of the catholic church where we made regular visits or the priest would visit us. FYI, my priest turned out to be a pedophile. I remember being told by crying nuns that he was imprisoned and that we will pray for him, and we (9-11 year olds) can write him nice letters. I, even at that age, objected to this. I remember saying to the nun who was also the headmistress, ‘Why should I write letters to a pedophile?’ This question, a good question, valid and for my age, smart, was taken as almost blasphemous, and I was shouted at. Anyone reading this, should very clearly see why I didn’t want to participate in this exercise.
Up until the age of 13 I was taught that there IS a God, there IS heaven, there IS a hell, there IS a devil. With an undeveloped mind and little knowledge of freedom of thinking for oneself, this was the truth, because adults were preaching it as just that. No wiggle room for doubt. But then remember the apostle who doubted Jesus? Doubting Thomas, he’s portrayed as a sinner, the skeptic who refused to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. I’d be on Thomas’ side here. This little story is to further scare believers that doubting your faith in Jesus is a sin and you shall be punished.
After my priest was imprisoned, I lost my faith in the church, not God, just the church. I am very aware that not all priests are bad, some of these people are genuine good people. But I feel sorry for people who give up their lives for religion, it’s sad that they’ve put everything on the possibility of a God. My late Nan was a devout catholic, the bible for her was absolutely factual in every sense and she believed that one should live their life guided by this book. I debated a lot with her, which I enjoyed, but was also annoyed by her ways at times. I humoured her until the day she died with religion. I even found quotes from the bible that might comfort her on her death bed. I wrote prayers in the hospital chapel, all of this was for my Nan, not for God or anything else, just for the love I felt for her alone. After her death, I felt that I could let go of religion.
My Mum is a huge believer in God, I’ve tried to open up her mind to the possibility of no God, but she has a solid faith, which I believe was passed down from her Mother and partly fear, as she may have been taught that doubting her God would reserve her a seat in this blazing hot, forever painful hell. Sadly, I don’t think she was taught the science behind our world at school, and to be fair, I wasn’t, in primary school, taught about the big bang theory.
I was taught that God made it all in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Adam was made, Eve came second (as she would, being female after all, you wouldn’t honestly think that any God would put a woman first? Of course not, that would be preposterous). The two of them created the human race, so that we are all brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. Only very late in my secondary school was I allowed to think that maybe God wasn’t real. I was about 14 and I was stunned that my R.E teacher let us relish in the idea that there was no God. It was around this time, that I decided the bible was created by man as a guidance for one to live a good, well mannered, generous, selfless life in order to go to a nice place after you die. So I decided to myself that the stories were fictional, just a portrayal of how to live and fear-mongering for those who don’t obey.
Later on, when I got to university, I started studying feminism, and wrote an essay exploring feminism and religion (nothing poxy, I think it was around the 8000 word count). Here I delved into a woman’s role in society and more-so in religion. This was probably my favourite research topic, it was vast, relevant in today’s world and relevant to myself. Without even researching any religion in depth anyone can see the very obvious superior gender, the Man.
God - Man
Jesus - Man
First human - Man
Human - huMAN
Good will to all MEN
This isn’t even scratching the surface here. God is meant to be an entity, a higher being, no face, no body, and yet Jesus came as God would see himself. Typical.
I’m a firm believer in equality, I am a woman, I don’t even enjoy baring that title because even that is drenched in ‘man’. Female, again, male. I’m not a hater of men, not at all. I’m a hater of the patriarch. So by this point in my life, around the age of 21, I started to hate religion, including my own. Not just for it’s unequal gender roles, but I was told in school that ‘it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’, which I found upsetting, my best friend was gay, and I adored him. I still believed in a God, and I feel strongly that this was out of fear. It’s a hard thing to brush off when you’ve spent your whole life being scared of going to a fiery, burning hell where you would be beaten everyday and night and beg to die, but that would be your eternity, where your benevolent God, who loves you, would send you, because you sinned. Great guy.
It wasn’t just feminism that made my beliefs falter. I’ve always been a lover of astronomy and astrology, and science intrigued me endlessly. I met my wonderful boyfriend, who like me was baptised, has a very religious grandmother, and yet he so easily told me that he doesn’t believe in a God. I was impressed, confused and somewhat, for reasons unknown, angry. How can you just flat out say you don’t believe in a God!? He was a Darwinist, which made sense. Evolution is factual. The invisible MAN in the sky didn’t seem plausible to him. He needs solid truths. I admired this, but couldn’t oh so easily shake this God formula off.
I didn’t know I would spend the next few years with this man, and I’m still with him. My ex was a strong catholic, and that didn’t help my attempts to detach myself from the world of religion. This catholic was not nice. He was manipulative and not exactly advertising Catholicism as the way to go. My current boyfriend (the Darwinist), free from the shackles of religion, has been the kindest man I’ve ever met in my entire life. Selfless, generous, kind hearted, not in any way malicious, open minded, accepting or all people and one of the smartest people I’ve ever been in the presence of. And all he had to offer was out of the goodness of himself, not rules set out for him to obey, but because he wanted to be a good person and lead his life that way.
I can’t say I was as nice as him growing up. I’ve joined in the mob mentality at times, not proud of it, I’ve judged, I’ve bullied on levels, I’ve thought evil thoughts, I’ve made people cry. Everything I’ve listed was done unto me by supposed catholics also. I was a difficult teenager. And honestly, without blaming religion, but during the time of which I was doing all these bad things, which were being reciprocated, I was a catholic, going to church and everything. I’d say sorry for my sins, because as a catholic, you get a ton of ‘get out of hell free’ cards don’t you? You just go to confession and lay it all out. But then I was confessing my sins to a pedophile, so I’m not sure if that counts?
I guess the fear of hell only kicked in when I gave up on church, and realised I couldn’t go to penance. That soon washed away and I was up to no good again, relying on prayers to get by. If God is so loving, he wouldn’t send me to the depths of hell for a partying a little too hard, surely? Every night my Mum would kiss me goodnight and say ‘say your prayers’, and I would.
So back to uni, aged 21, my faith was rapidly diminishing. My research into the treatment of women in other cultures angered me, how can a God allow this? How can a benevolent God allow men to marry so many women, but can have their wives stoned to death should it be rumoured that she looked at another man in a suggestive manner. I watched the stoning of Soraya, I cried hard and I’ve definitely been scarred for life. (Synopsis: A man was unhappily married to a loving wife, Soraya, who bore his children, he wanted to marry a much younger girl who was not of legal age, and wanted to divorce Soraya, this was proving difficult, so he set up that she was being too close to another man, a man who she was helping after his wife died since he had a disabled son. The rumour spread and it she was to be stoned to death. After she died, waist dead in sand, smothered in rocks and blood, he never got to marry the other girl, so it was all for nothing anyway.)
And it wasn’t just women who suffered the hardships of religion, homosexuals are feeling the wrath right now. Slowly, this idea of God melted away. I feel free. The idea that everything in the world that happens through ‘man’, is entirely down to us. No higher being, no punishment, just us. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around children being raped and abused as ‘God working in mysterious ways’. That’s always the answer to my questions about God. And to be honest, it’s utter bullshit. Absolutely disgusting things happen in our world, which humans are responsible for. There’s this idea that we have free will, God made this earth, set out the rules and now we can do as we please, we choose a path and we follow it. The path to evil is supposedly the easier path to follow, again, bullshit! I haven’t murdered anyone, I haven’t stolen anything, I’m nice to people and animals, it’s quite simple to lead a good life. We all have different morals and intelligent people know the difference between good and bad, therefore making a decision to be good or bad is entirely their own.
People who choose evil, may not have made that choice themselves, but may suffer from mental illnesses, something that intelligent people will understand and offer help towards. When you take God out of the picture, things become simpler I find. We are good because we want to be good, not because we are scared to be bad. Here’s a quote I posted yesterday which I am in full agreement with:
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
― Charles Bukowski
This quote is so refreshing and wonderful. ‘Here to kill war’, ‘I am my own God’, ‘Love need not be a command’, it’s beautiful and true. I’m not saying that all believers in God or God’s are bad, not at all. The kind of people who believe in God and throw anti-gay demonstrations, they’re bad. The kind of men who believe in God and treat their women like slaves, they’re bad. The kind of priests who live a lie, all the while abusing children, they’re bad. There are a lot of aspects of religion that are bad. There’s nothing I can gain from religion. It creates barriers, rules, segregation, conflict, war. Some people say it’s God’s will, God’s way when something bad happens, or God will guide you, or God has a path for you. He doesn’t. You have to make your own path, you have to make educated decisions. If I were devout in religion, I would be breaking rules right now. I’m living with a man out of wedlock and I’ve had sex before marriage. I’m destined for hell anyway, apparently.
I believe that life is far too short when you just comprehend how vast the world is. And then when you try to imagine how vast the universe is. So why waste that one tiny little life on ‘obeying’ these rules. Okay, don’t kill anyone, but you already know what not to do, you don’t need a God to help you there.
If you find strength in religion, and it makes you a strong person, congratulations, you are, just by yourself, with no help from anyone or anything, a strong person, and an idea helped you. It wasn’t the idea that made you strong, you were already carrying that strength, you, alone. Doesn’t that sound nicer and feel greater than having a high being acting as your puppeteer?
So now I am my own God, I can make my own rules and I can love through myself just because I want to. I will raise my children in the same way, it will be totally up to them if they want to follow a religion when they have matured enough to understand what religion is. They will not be washed of their ‘sins’ after their birth, for me they never bore any sins to begin with.
“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”
― George Carlin