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I Wouldn't Recommend It


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I am lucky in that I was never brainwashed to the extent of many Christians. I was baptized into the Catholic faith as an infant, and was forced to attend Mass and Sunday school, often against my will, but it didn't go too far beyond that. It was more of a "do these things, say these things, be moral, help others" then Bible reading and other ...stuff... whatever it is other religions do. I was always afraid to find out.

 

I did have some major problems with many of the traditions (Why do we have to eat Tuna casserole on Good Friday? Why do we have to eat Jesus and share bowls of water and cups of wine? How does it make sense that we have to attend Mass if we are okay being religious by ourselves? Wouldn't it make more sense if God created the Big Bang and not Earth/life? What's wrong with being gay?)

 

I think it helped that the preist at my church when I was little viewed much of the Bible as stories to learn by, not fact. He was this little white-haired guy that my best friend's brother bit on the butt, and was declared, years after his death, to have gotten it on with a teenage girl. Once he croaked, we only had priests every other week, so it was either just the sisters, or priests that were telling more travel stories than talking church. Unless it was the priest from the neighboring town, in which case no one could understand a word he said. Once I got older, the Sunday school teachers were parents that let us eat cookies, discuss our views on things like abortion and capital punishment, and freely ask any and all questions. So I guess that's why I wasn't too irreparably brainwashed. That and my ADD. I probably didn't pick up on most of what went on.

 

 

 

On to the tuorial:

 

I became an atheist by coming to a very messy end to a very messy 2 1/2 year relationship with a guy five years ago. He was the controlling, jealous, verbally, emotionally and sexually manipulative/abusive... and most of all Christian... son of a former pastor. We had, for whatever reasons, plans to marry for most of our relationship. He sometimes made derogatory remarks about my belief that some almighty being didn't poof everything into existance all at once, and refused to allow me to say anything about evolution (although I still believed in God at the time.) When he found out I had dipped my toes into witchcraft before I met him, he flipped out and made me promise to never do that again.

 

Just as our relationship went into it's final, five month long tailspin, I took the sacrament of confirmation... and promptly stopped attending mass. That was over 5 1/2 years ago, and I've set foot in churches three times since then - once to avoid conflict with my grandparents, and twice for funerals. My doubts had grown as I underwent the studies required to become an adult in the church, but I didn't question wanting to go through with the ceremony (although one of my friends chose not to.) It was more of a disdain for the services and the required social aspect of my church than atheism, but this may have been my brain tricking me... but it didn't keep that up for much longer if that WAS teh case.

 

After the break up, religion wasn't really in my mind for a while (but I swear this is relevant,) as I went through denial for a long time, which included (here's the part I don't recommend) sitting on a lonely road with a razor blade against my wrist until I decided I was too scared to kill myself, behaviors which resulted in threats by my ex to have the police called/a retraining order issued, having my home number ignored and my email address blocked, a few dozen self-inflicted wounds (non-suicidal,) plus the stuff I DON'T talk about. Then, with a friend's help, I figured out what had happened, stopped eating for about two weeks, got back up on my feet (where I staggered for much longer than I realized at the time) and got a job that allowed me access to a computer, where I spent my time researching religions. It's the first time I had ever done that, I believe because of how I allowed myself to feel oppressed into Christianity by my ex.

 

I sometimes wonder what things would have been like without that relationship, because as soon as I was in the clear, as soon as I allowed myself to think for myself... I don't remember ever doubting that I was not Christian. Maybe the religious conflict, paired with the massive sense of freedom afterwards, probably helped get me where I am today. In any event, that was my turning point, and I never went back.

 

But, having grown up Catholic, I felt naked with something. I was raised to fall back on tradition and routine (I later realized that the fact that I have Asperger's Syndrome makes me the perfect candidate for Catholicism, but I somehow never questioned leaving the faith.) I read about

atheistic/scientific approaches to everything, particularly Pantheism, Taoism, and various Pagan religions. I eventually decided that nothing really fit, so I just considered myself an atheist, but sometimes wished there was more. I considered myself to be... Paganish, but it wasn't until more recently that I thought about it and read about it enough to realize that I am Wiccan, and always have been. But it's not the standard, polytheistic Wicca. I guess I consider myself more agnostic than atheistic, depending on your definitions. I can't say for sure there are no higher powers, but I have absolutely no belief in the Christian God or anything similar.

 

The whole idea of God is on par with the leprechaun my mom told me I had when I was 5. The

only difference is that I was pretty shaken up when I figured out the leprachaun wasn't real. I can handle this whole no God thing. I guess being an atheist/agnostic just comes naturally to me. My morals haven't changed at all.

 

I guess that's it. My religious history is basically a long line of conforming blindly, followed by a trauma/freedom-induced enlightenment to the wonderful world of non-Christiandom. I think everything just happened at the right time for me to come out how I did, and as easily as I did. It wasn't a "God wouldn't make life so cruel" deal, just a harsh way of being allowed to finally be myself. After we broke up, I discovered that I have Borderline Personality Disorder, which often leads to allowing oneself to "be whoever you are around," and he's who I was always around. So I guess that's why is took that end to find myself, but being around Christians since then has never made me go back!

 

P.S. - I vow to go to a Catholic mass at some point in the future, because I just know I would be able to recite the entire thing word for word except the readings/gospel... and I just have to try, cuz I'm sick like that. I don't hold my childhood faith too much against my parents, since they're pretty half-assed about it themselves.

 

Wow... that ended up really long and probably really boring, but it was interesting for me to write it out and figure out exactly how it all came about.

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Wow... that ended up really long and probably really boring, but it was interesting for me to write it out and figure out exactly how it all came about.

 

Great to have you here.

 

p.s. I'm from Alaska too. :)

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