Monday, April 12, 2010

On being an atheist.

You know, I've read many of these blogs about religion: how some people found it, how others lost it, how some people are fed up with it being "shoved down their throats." But really, I've never really read one that I could identify with.

I wasn't raised in an extremely religious home. My mother is a devout Catholic, even though she stopped attending church at 16. I can still see her with prayer cards in her wallet, and before bed when I was little, I remember her blessing me with "God bless you, God protect you, amen." My dad, on the other hand, is an odd creature. I have no idea what he believes in, if anything. All I know is that he has a small little gem statue of Buddha (he's Cambodian) that he keeps in a little glass bell jar type of thing. We are never supposed to touch it.

I used to keep it in my room for a long time, and you know what? I always felt safe. I don't know what it was, but I bet if I put it in my room again, I wouldn't be so freaked out if I heard things going bump in the night. This doesn't necessarily indicate that I am a Buddhist by any means -- I'm not -- but, still, one has to wonder...

Anyway, I was a "Christian" growing up. Why the quotes? I was baptized and all. I went to a Christian preschool when I was little. I even prayed to a god I thought existed all the way up to my sophomore or junior year in high school. I just sort of... stopped. I'm not really sure what it was that led me to "lose faith" so to speak. Really, I think it's sort of like losing your faith in Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I just grew out of it. It didn't suit me or the person I became.

I'm not going to say I lost my religion, though. I never really had a religion to begin with. I never went to church and I never knew what Easter was all about. I always thought it was all bunnies and sugary peeps. And, honestly, I didn't lose anything. In fact, I gained something by becoming an atheist. Instead of praying to the Old White Guy in the Sky, I put all my faith in myself. You know the old saying that says something like "God never puts you in a situation you can't handle?" (I just googled it. It's actually 1 Corinthians 10:13: "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will... etc") Well, I kind of believe that where there is a will, there is a way. Instead of looking up to to something, I try and make myself stronger from within. I don't pray when I know I won't get an answer. I talk to people close to me. I figure things out. 

Well, you may be wondering, what do you think happens to you when you die? Haha, um... nothing? Look, I don't know what happens. No one knows. But to think that there's a place where all souls meet and party or that there is an eternally bad place down under makes me laugh. No, no, don't get all pissy: I'm not knocking your beliefs, I promise. But really, the whole bible version of life and the afterlife and what not... I believe it's a story, something to make you piss your pants in fear and be a good little boy or girl. It's a story to make you feel good about yourself. Basically, it's a Mother Goose kind of tale, full of morals and hope. It's a good thing, really. But if there is one thing that confuses me, it's that people take this story literally. There are people that don't believe in evolution and think that if you masturbate you're going to end up in a hell because it's a sin. Well, jeez. If that's the case, then science is all wrong and we're all going to end up in Hell. I'm not preaching. These are my beliefs. I'm just trying to give you my perspective. Calm down.

But I am a girl of science. I'm a huge Darwin fan, and I'm looking into majoring in anthropology or neurology and going to med school. So, really, there's a conflict of interest. I can't believe in one while believing in the other, no matter how many people can. It's just not in me.

There are those that may think that I don't believe in a god because I don't have proof. Well, I don't have proof that there are aliens, but I do believe that extraterrestrial life exists, yes ma'am. The universe is just too big for that to be impossible. But as for the Old White Guy in the Sky? I'm sorry. 

Now, don't go thinking I'm knocking all religions and religious people, or even spiritual people. Not even! I have religious friends and a religious family. I don't think they're stupid or ignorant, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to convert anyone. We all have different beliefs, and I can respect that -- to an extent of course. If you come knocking at my door at 9 AM trying to make me go to church, I will not be a happy camper. If you come to my anthropology class and attempt to tell my professor that Darwin was wrong and quote the scriptures (like someone has in his class before), I will think you're a tool. There's a time and a place for everything. If you want to debate something, that's fine, but do it somewhere appropriate. I don't take kindly to people shoving religion down anyone's throat, even if it's an atheist getting in the face of a Catholic. It's uncalled for and nasty. I don't go around trying to make you eat broccoli; don't go around trying to make me eat up your religious (or non-religious) spiel. Right? Can I get an amen? :-) 

But what does irk me a bit is when people get wind of someone being an atheist and then become haters. Really? C'mon now. It's not like we're gothed-up, anarchy-loving, baby-killing bastards with no morals. We just put our faith in something else. Or maybe we just take life as it comes. To each his own, yes?

Some days I believe in myself. On my bad days, I don't, and I'll just (in the words of the Dodge commercial) grab life by the horns. But I didn't lose my religion. I gained perspective, and, just maybe, a little bit of strength by doing so too.

Oh and PS: Feel free to leave your thoughts. I'm not afraid of criticism :]

4 comments:

  1. hi, I've read about your post, and I honestly like the way you expressed yourself. Well, I felt that way too in the past, but someone just told me everything that somehow made me realize things. Well, I hope you find that someone. Just always remember, there's someone watching you, haha sounds creepy right? But you'll never know, maybe one day, that old white guy might be the one to save you.

    Always take care, Godbless friend.

    PS. Sorry if I can't advice you anything helpful, I'm not really good at it, but I hope it helped somehow..XD

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  2. Thank you very much, Kind Reader! You never know, perhaps I will encounter someone or something to change my beliefs one day. And, don't worry about giving helpful advice. It means the world to me that you actually read this blog and gave me some feedback, and kindly to boot! I wish you well and hope you come back to read more sometime :]

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  3. I saw your post on apricot tea's blog and I came here to read this post. It's very well written and extremely lucid. My sentiments on religion are similar to yours. I was raised in a strict Baptist family and I went to an even more strict Catholic boarding school.

    I have a lot to say on this subject so If I can typing, I won't end haha...but the bottom line is I agree with you.

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