As mentioned the other night in my post Catholics are Funny Folk, I am a complicated atheist: God, in my “beliefs” DOES NOT exist, organized religion as a whole is not a healthy thing for the mind or the masses, but it does get awkward when someone sneezes and you still say, “Bless you!”
Back Story Time: I was born into a Catholic family (Irish Catholic, if you really need to know) and I was baptized, at Marine Corps base no less. Sorry, Dante. My foray into organized religion was a short one: 9 years, actually.
At the tender age of 9 years old I “lost” my faith. Did I really ever have it to start with? Can you lose something you never really had? I never understood what the big deal was anyway: So there’s this guy who lives somewhere we can’t see and he sends his son, who is also himself, to die for the sins of ALL and then he comes back to life after a 3-day nap? And somewhere in there there’s also a flood, a whale eats a guy???, and the Jews decide to choose a different piece of desert to move to because they don’t like their landlord. For that amount of stuff to be thrown into a child’s mind for them to accept blindly, you’re going to get a few in the bunch whose reaction is something along these lines:
I was an inquisitive little tyke and instead of furthering my young mind and promoting exploration, I did countless Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers for asking simple questions:
- What happened to Jesus as a teen?
- If we’re all descended from Adam and Eve, shouldn’t we all be SUPER inbred right now? (see: King Charles II of Spain)
- Couldn’t Mary have just lied about the whole angel visiting her thing?
- What if the Bible is like Aesop’s Fables and are just stories?
Those are the questions that stick out in my mind that I do remember asking in my Catechism classes. (For those who don’t have experience with the Catholic faith, Catechism is like Hebrew school for Papists or Sunday school for my Protestant friends.) My teachers didn’t appreciate my precociousness so I was often sent to go pray while my classmates learned the base Bible stories that all Catholics know: Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses. Anything more than that, you’re barking up the wrong talking snake tree.
Along with ALL of that, at 9, I have to wear what looks like a child bride dress one particular Sunday for my First Holy Communion. Sure, let’s serve a shitty wafer that you’re not allowed to touch and some even fouler-tasting wine to third graders and have them dress like they’re getting married. Don’t worry, we have cake and ice cream afterwards. As a consolation prize we’ll also pass out rosaries. (I actually have a collection of rosaries, including one from the Vatican.)
we’re going to fast forward about 19 years: here I am sitting at my laptop, listening to the Disney Pandora station with James. We lead pretty normal lives: bills, grocery shopping, the occasional virginal sacrifice when we have a free evening and the moon is full. You know, typical married shit. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not believing in God, I don’t feel like I’m an amoral person either. If the Garden of Eden story is true, why is so wrong to want to have free will, knowledge? God, to me, seems like kind of a dick: I’m gonna give you a choice but if you pick the one I don’t want you to choose then you’re going to burn in hell forever. Choose Wisely. Seems rather one-sided, really.
Now, after a very long story which is too late to make short, I get to why I’m a complicated atheist. Here’s the rub: I do every so often say a little prayer of sorts to a saint or two. For when I travel, I say a little something to St. Christopher while I pop my anxiety medicine–just to make sure I’m covered both spiritually and medically, James drives too fast for my taste.
“How can you pray to a saint if you don’t believe in God??”
- Saints were real people; that can be argued in some cases, however, because certain saints from the BC-AD eras may or may not have existed/ could be multiple people combined into one. Be that as it may, God/ Jesus didn’t exist. That’s one thing I will be stubborn about.
- I don’t believe in the miracles these people supposedly did, but I admire their devotion to the religious unknown, the blind and accepting faith. Though I am, what some would call “lacking in the faith”, I do admire all followers of any religious sect/ devotion for that fact. They accept what they’re told without question. THIS WORKS FOR SOME, but as previously explained, I just couldn’t fall in line.
I do have an appreciation for the pomp and circumstance that comes with the Catholic faith and YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD, for some beautiful pieces of art work, but with all of its sordid past, I decided to leave the party. Everyone was drunk and the cops were getting called because of a disturbance.
All I’m basically saying is that if you have a belief and it comforts you, then stick with it. I chose the path that worked best for me. Take it or leave it.
And if this post offended you in any way, here’s picture for you to enjoy: