Missing My Religion
I'm an Atheist.
I was raised by a Catholic Grandma and a Protestant Grandpa. I went to a small-town non-denominational church where I excelled at memorizing Bible verses. My favorite song was "Jesus Loves the Little Children" because it mentioned brown people and I was the only brown person for miles and miles.
I went to Bible school and Sunday School and church camps. In my early teens I listened to Christian music from bands like DC Talk, Michael W. Smith and Sandi Patti (which sounds like the name of a SpongeBob character now).
Then when I was fifteen or so, I started asking questions. Things didn't make sense to me. I read the Bible several times over and no one could explain the inconsistencies, the racism, the sexism. I didn't understand anyone who hated gays (long before I ever met one) and I didn't think abortions were an unforgivable sin. I started reading more and learning more and decided that I wasn't a Christian. I dabbled in being Pagan and Wiccan for many years, but it always felt false. There was all this worship of STUFF. Athames and alters and whatnot. So I tried Buddhism, then Deism and finally I slid into the wishy-washy nether-realm of "spiritual agnostic".
If I started thinking too hard about religion or god, I'd simply wrap the cloak of "We can't know for sure," around me. But like a splinter just under the surface of my skin, was the thought, "There is no god." The thought scared me to death. What did it mean if there was no god? I couldn't survive if I believed that. So for eight years I tamped it down and I pretended I still believed. Then one day it simply refused to be shoved back down. It rose to the surface and I couldn't ignore it any longer. So, I admitted to myself that I am an Atheist. I don't believe in god, or heaven or angels or hell. I don't believe that a guy with a beard is cataloging our rights and wrongs. I don't believe we have another chance to live after we die. We're just gone.
Tonight I was watching the episode of Glee where Kurt's father was in the hospital and everyone was all "Hey lets pray about it" and Kurt's all, "I'm a gay heathen and proud!" Then everyone argues and Kurt goes to church where everyone prays for his dad and sings and it's all blah blah blah pathos-cakes. And yet I started crying. I cried all over my husband and I cried while typing this post.
See right now my grandmother, my adopted mother, is on hospice and she's on her last lap around the pool. And it's really hard. She's been "dying" for two almost unbearable years. She's in pain and she's suffering and there's nothing anyone can do. This past summer (for probably the last time), she looked at me with her big green eyes and said, "Hi mi niña!" Now she's just writhes in pain and whispers partial words. And it breaks my heart and you know what it makes me miss more than anything? My religion.
I miss the warm comfortable shroud, that soft blanket that dampened hurt and pain. The one that would tell me that after she's gone, she'll still be around, looking down at me with those green eyes, smiling and loving me. I don't have that and I wish I did. Having religion made life easier and though I think most Atheists won't admit it, life felt safer when we thought someone was watching over us.
I don't like big arguments over religion. I skim past comments sections on any blog posts about Atheism or religion. I get especially upset when people try to convert others through Bible quotes. For me, I've read the Bible cover to cover several times. You can't use the Bible to convince me, because I've already tried do that to convince myself. Much like being gay, I don't think I have much of a choice over whether I'm religious or not. I held onto it years after it didn't make sense to me. But I simply DO NOT BELIEVE. I cannot make myself believe something I don't, as much as I wish I could.
When people are yelling about the smug asshole Atheists who REJECT god, I wonder, do they really believe that anyone would choose to be an Atheist? That we are really religious deep down but just won't admit it? Why would anyone choose to feel so alienated from the majority of people on the planet and why would anyone choose to feel so very alone, so small in the universe? Do you think it's an easy point to reach? It isn't. I don't think it is for most Atheists.I didn't choose to be an Atheist. For me, it's simply what I feel deep in my soul and no Bible quote can make that feeling go away.
But I miss being religious so much. I miss the songs and the community. It hurts to feel so alone and so lost and to have no answers at all, even made up ones. There is comfort in thinking you know the whys and whyfores of everything. Life is easier when you believe that no matter how bad it gets, there's a paradise waiting for you. But I don't believe that and you can't convince me that I do anymore than you can convince me that the sky is really orange or that cars run on love. I know what I know. Even if it hurts.
I wish I believed that someone is up in the clouds keeping an eye on me. I wish that someone would stop making my grandmother suffer. I wish I didn't feel so very small and so very sad.