It all started when I was a child, born on a beautiful Sunday in March. Of course, my parents, two churchgoing Christians, were in church that morning when my mother started going into labor. So I can say I was nearly born in a church. Of course, I was born six hours later in a hospital. And here begins the story of religion and how it affected my life.
Growing up, my parents made us all (me and my two brothers that also lived in the house) go to church every Sunday, no matter what. It was hard to have an excuse to not go. I remember saying once, “I hate church. It’s boring.” And my mother would gasp and shake her head, and say something like, “Well Jesus doesn’t like it when you say that.” Almost every single Sunday morning for over 16 years, my parents went to church and dragged their children along.
We all believed, just as we were taught (or as I like to refer to it nowadays indoctrinated) and we were Christian. We believed without questioning. But as time went along, and once I got to be 16, my parents ceased going to that church (and all churches) for five years. My oldest brother who lived with us all when I was little and used to attend church with us, became an Agnostic. I found out about this, and my parents did eventually, too. When I told them about it, my mother just shook her head. My father nodded at me, and said, “He’ll eventually come back. They all do.”
As time went on, my youngest brother who lived with us and also used to attend church – even becoming confirmed himself – confessed to me that he was an agnostic. Though I believe he’s an atheist.
And finally, there’s me.
I was Christian for my entire life – even going as far to change denominations and becoming Pentecostal in an effort to save my faith in the religion I had known my entire life. This worked, for quite a while. I was a member of that church for over 3 years before I made the decision to leave, and not look back. After I left, the shell of faith fell off like it had been dead long ago. If religion was BS, as I had learned the hard way after years and years of study in an effort to find something other than Christianity that fit me – then maybe the whole idea of God was BS too.
During my stint in Christianity, I had also studied – and even “moonlighted” a few other religions while in the church. A few I can think of off the top of my head: Christianity’s other denominations, Islam, Judaism, Wicca, other forms of Paganism, Odinism, Buddhism, Taoism, Scientology, Hinduism, New Age, and Satanism (Both Theistic and LaVeyan). A lot of religions? You bet. And while I studied (and sometimes practiced) all of these religions, I could never find anything to fit my beliefs.
So, recently, after I had finally left Christianity, it dawned on me: Instead of looking for something, why not look for nothing? It made perfect sense. So, I stopped bothering with religion one day and I haven’t looked back. I now call myself an “agnostic atheist” because while I don’t believe in any gods, I don’t claim to know one way or the other either.
Sure, I miss belief in god. But I miss belief in Santa Claus too. It was easier (and more fun) to believe a fat man teleported into my house on Christmas Eve and gave me presents out of a giant bag he carried, and the presents (or lack thereof) depended on if I was good or bad.
The same can be said of religion: It’s easier to believe in a magical sky daddy, who knows everything about you, loves you, answers your prayers, watches over you, and who created the universe and everything in it.
Regarding me and my siblings, there are six of us. Only two are Christian and the same denomination we were all raised in: Lutheran.