I used to have the link on the navigation menu of my blog that said “losing my religion” just go to an archive page for all of my “Agnostic Atheist in the South” posts. But then it occurred to me that maybe someone new would like a little bit of background BEFORE jumping into that category.
SO! I was born and raised Catholic and at one point considered becoming a Nun. Religion was a huge part of my life and I prayed every night. But Catholicism often gave me more questions than answers. I didn’t like how my Dad didn’t feel like he could receive Communion because he had gotten divorced and never had his marriage annulled. I didn’t like the views on reproductive rights or the LGBTQ community. So, as soon as I went off to college I started actively searching for other religions. I studied Buddhism for awhile and even sought out a teacher at one point who turned out to be a giant D’bag so – you know – that pursuit was cut short thanks to that weirdo. I then went through what I like to call my “sinning phase” where I just made a lot of giant mistakes in my life for which the Bible would condemn me to Hell. So, I went down a lot of different religious paths looking for salvation. I even found myself getting Baptized in a Southern Baptist church at one point.
But then life just kept getting harder. And I still could not find a spiritual home that satisfied all parts of my heart.
So I gave up.
It finally occurred to me one day: You don’t have to go to Church. You don’t have to believe in anything.
I don’t know why that had never occurred to me before, I think because religion was SO DEEP in my life, I assumed I had to have one. But suddenly realizing, “Wait. You don’t need religion to be good.” freed me from so much anxiety and guilt and I just never turned back.
But I’m still very much a supporter of religion. That’s why I really don’t like the term “atheism” because it’s so often equated with “anti-religion”. I prefer to call myself a Humanist. Or an Agnostic Atheist. I have faith in Humanity (which is often harder than faith in God…TRUST ME) and in the concept that if I put good out into the world, good will surround me. I don’t believe in any God that I’ve heard about but I don’t staunchly believe that there is no spiritual force out there greater than myself. I just don’t believe in anything Humans have defined and I don’t believe, if a being like that exists, that my feeble brain is capable of understanding it.
So: I’m a Humanist/Agnostic Atheist.
I raise my kids that we are good because that is what makes the world a better place. I raise them that death is the end of everything but that people can live on in our hearts. I raise them that all religions have value but to be weary of people who say, “It’s our way or Hell.” I raise them that maybe there is a God, but it’s not some humanoid being in the sky who thinks that their gay family is less than they are.
(True Story: It’s hard to win over a child to your religion when you’re basically telling them that their beloved sibling can’t marry the person he loves and that if he does (if he’s lucky enough to live in a state that allows it), he’s living in sin and then bound for Hell if he doesn’t seek forgiveness for loving his Spouse.)
They see a lot of the bad side of Christianity around here. Especially as it relates to the LGBTQ community. But, we have tons of friends and family who are vocal of their support for that community even within their own church, so we know that our friends and family are leading the way to build a more accepting Christian community. We also know people who belong to Christian churches who open their arms to that community, even to get married! So I try to remind them – every time a classmate tells them they’re going to Hell for not going to Church – that there are dozens of other Christians in our lives that don’t believe that.
My husband is less spiritual than I am. He’s probably a more concrete atheist, doesn’t really leave room for any Spirituality, but we still make a good team. He just finds it less of a priority that I talk about religion so much to the kids because he finds it all to be hogwash.
(Yes. I just said Hogwash.)
Okay. I think that’s a good background of my “Losing My Religion” stance. Now, feel free to explore some things I’ve written on the topic. I just started this “topic” on my blog a short while ago, although I’ve written about it here and there before. I just never thought to categorize it. So, this is what I’ve written about in the last year or so since I created the category – but I’m sure there are dozens of other entries in the past where I talk about my lack of religion.