As a child of atheists, religion was something that I had to discover on my own. My parents were not just non-believers, they actually judged those who find comfort in their faith as fools who could do so much better if they stopped believing in a higher power and put their trust and faith in the power of man and instead of following the antiquated teachings of a man who’d been dead for two thousand years (yes, my parents did believe that Jesus walked this Earth, but they did not believe he was a Messiah or even a prophet of God. They believe he was just a nice man who went around trying to teach everyone to be good to each other, to care for their fellow-man and to not allow greed to control their lives.)
Instead of doing the right thing because some dead guy tells you should, but do the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing.
I had many arguments with my parents, asking them what did it matter why someone did the right thing, as long as the right thing was done. And if they found comfort in the belief that there is a higher power out there, one who has your back, where is the harm in that? They always said that it’s foolish to look without seeing.
But I digress, I am a child of atheists, taught not only to not believe in a higher power but to pity those who are gullible enough to believe themselves. So when at the age of 8 I began to read books with strong religious themes in them, and became intrigued by this idea of a power that was present in this world, something that was responsible for everything from the most delicate, sublime and fantastical to the most horrific, terrible and terrifying. I decided that this needed be looked into and so I joined one of my friends on her Sunday treks to the local Baptist Church where we sat in Sunday school and learned about Jesus and his teachings. It was all going well, I was really digging this religion thing and the thought that God was there and would have my back if I needed him, well that was awesome in my thinking. And then came that fateful day when the Sunday School teacher informed us that a child must be baptized/christened in order to reach heaven because a child is born of original sin and must be cleansed of this sin.
I argued with her as best as my 10-year old brain could, I told her that children are innocent and we cannot visit the sins of the fathers on our children, I asked her how a child could be born filled with sin if Jesus died for our sins, then are we not born free of sin? She became irritated with me and my questioning ways and deemed me a trouble maker. We parted ways after this, mostly because I realized that they were just teaching me the churches views on God and his religion and that these were just the interpretations of men, and not actually Gods words and laws. I was certain that there was no way a God could create a sweet innocent baby and then curse it to hell just for the simple fact that it was born ‘full of sin’.
I didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of me walking an Agnostic path, not certain if there is a god or not but always questioning and seeking answers. I finally came to the conclusion that I am spiritual but not religious. I believe in a higher power but I do not believe in organized religion.
Of course while I was in high school I had an Independent Study to work on and my work was on how the church persecuted the early Pagan religions and attacked mostly women in its attempt to control and stamp out those heretics in order to make their own religion stronger and they tightened their grip and drove the early religions out through a web of fear and conspiracy. I also touched on the subject that Paganism was not stamped out and that it has managed to be reborn in modern Wicca and Druidism.
While I was working on this project for the better part of a year, I began to learn bits of modern pagan religions that were fascinating to me. I decided then that I felt more spiritual about these religions and their Pantheon of Gods than any Protestant or Catholic church ever did.
But I let it end there, and I turned away from those feelings, I ignored my instinct that something was calling to me, something alluring and now all these years later, I have come across a friend in the realm of cyber space that has awoken those questions in me and I’ve found myself thinking about all those old beliefs that I once felt a pull towards.
So perhaps in the next few weeks or months I shall begin to look inward and seek answers to my spirituality and perhaps be able to finally find comfort in something that I’ve been seeking for, even though I wasn’t even aware that I was.