Tuesday, February 21, 2012
My steps to Atheism
My parents live 15 to 20 minutes away from me (perfect distance!) and a few weeks ago I was at their house when our chat went to religion, mostly Christianity. I freely admit that many times, I'm the one who starts this sort of conversation, not to change their views but rather to challenge their thinking so they'll examine why they believe what they do. My mom is more comfortable than my dad with this type of conversation and sometimes it gets a little heated, but not always. On this particular evening, my dad looked straight at me and said something like "becoming an Atheist was an easy decision for you." It wasn't difficult, but Atheism was a decision that took many years to reach. Having grown up Catholic and going to Catholic school for 12 years and actually BELIEVING what I was taught in my youth, both at school and at home, made my decision a bit more complicated for me. I became Agnostic in my early 20's, went back to Christianity in my late 20's through my mid 30's but always felt unsure of it after having questioned god/Jesus to the extent that I had. In my late 30's, I was open to being Agnostic once again but it still wasn't enough.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not always the most logical person yet I do have some standards and Christianity felt completely illogical on too many levels for me to even consider real anymore. I remember very clearly the moment I knew it was all untrue. It was during the summer, it was deathly hot (easily over 100°F), my parents were at my house, and my dad decided he would go outside to do some work (either on my roof or yard). My dad had just had a heart attack less than a year prior to this day and my mom and I kept asking him to please not go outside! But as many men seem to feel, he said we were overreacting and he knew what he was doing and blah blah blah. Of course, he went outside but it was far too hot and came back in much sooner than he had wanted, which gave me a chance to tell him what I needed to say. I told him that mom and I loved him and needed him alive, not dead on my lawn. If I could protect him from hurting himself, I would do it, because he was that important to us. And then I said to him.. "Dad, if you could have saved me from having MS, wouldn't you have done it? You're my dad and you'd protect me from anything possible! That's all we're trying to do for you. Please let us help you when you don't see you may be endangering yourself." And it was at that moment that I realized god was a lie. If he/she/it existed, as Christians describe him, he's supposed to be my father/protector and he did nothing to protect me from a life with MS, even though he had the power to do it. MY dad would have given his life for me not to have this fucking disease because he IS my father. god is just an illusion.
Which leads me to the conversation I was having with my parents that night in their home when Dad said that becoming an Atheist was an easy decision. It's not that it wasn't easy, but the responsibility that comes with it is huge. I'm the one who is in charge of my life, which includes all my accomplishments, failures, joys, triumphs, pain, total fuck ups, insecurities, happiness, fears, and so on and so forth. The only one who can forgive me for my mistakes is me. I don't rely on anyone to lay hands on me or pray for me. Pray for me if you wish, but I promise that the outcome will be exactly the same whether you do or not. My life is in MY hands and when I die, it's over. That may sound horribly pessimistic, but the wonderful thing is that I DO live on! I live on in the memories I leave behind, the smiles that will come across the faces of my loved ones when they remember me, and hopefully, I will have touched many lives along the way.