I am currently in the middle of chapter five of The God Delusion and everything Iâm reading is forcing me to re-evaluate the reasons I bought so heavily into Christianity (of the born-again variety).
My parents werenât religious at all – my father spent his whole life trying to find some sort of meaning but he believed that following any religion is ultimately the choice of the individual. My mother is just not the type of person I can speak to about anything, much less spirituality. I have an aunt who has been a christian for many, many years and she would try to convert us whenever we met up – so naturally we all avoided her!
I was interested in the occult from an early age, didnât know whether or not I believed in a god but I especially enjoyed baiting christians in particular, over their vengeful, sacrifice-demanding OT god; I couldnât understand how they could reconcile NT and OT… surely, if Jesus is god and god is all-unchanging, then Jesus IS that spiteful being of the OT, yes?
I married young and we had an 18-month old baby and another on the way when my husband up and left me for somebody else. My closest friend, who had recently converted to christianity, came to stay with us and immediately began preaching that I needed god to get through this distressing period of my life. At that stage of rejection, when I badly needed to feel wanted and loved, even by a supernatural being, I bought into it all, hook line & sinker. I ended up moving a few hundred miles away to live with my friend & her parents (all born-again) and there we stayed. I got involved with the local Baptist church and tried to be a good little Doily (my term for stereotypical christian women, based on those funny little old-fashioned crocheted ornamental mats used to stop wooden surfaces getting scratched). But deep down I was still rebellious… I was a goat that refused to be a sheep, alternately feeling guilty then smug. And I continued to have a problem with other christians (I really donât get the misogynistic, homophobic attributes of people that believe theyâre set apart from non-believers. And donât get me started on preachers that donât appear to do even the basic research for their sermons – things like the word âluckâ is based on âLuciferâ when even a simple Google for the etymology shows that it comes from Middle English lucke, from Middle Dutch luc, short for gheluc *grrrrr*) ..
Eventually I moved away and met my current husband (another born-again Christian). I enrolled in a couple of Open University courses (science & math-based) and as a result of having to think in academic terms, I have found it increasingly hard to reconcile logic with christianity; I feel like Iâve slowly begun to surface from this religious sea Iâve been drowning in. I have to tread carefully – my husband still believes in god, although he dislikes man-made religion, so doesnât go to church anymore. Iâve been drip-feeding him for a few months now, talking in loose terms about deism and atheism. Iâve subscribed to several atheist-based blogs and I read out bits to him that I find amusing (usually the creationist-mocking stuff, as he doesnât buy into the Adam & Eve mythos). Heâs quite intelligent so Iâm guessing heâll re-surface as well, given time.
Iâve been desperately clinging to deism, even though there is no intelligent superior being, no programmer that wrote the system then left it to its own devices. I thought it was because I donât want to believe that this life is all there is, but I think itâs actually because Iâm an incredibly lazy person (always have been, never had much motivation or ambition) … and believing in god / heaven / eternal life means that I can theoretically waste huge chunks of this life and know it doesnât matter because this isnât my final destination!! And although Iâm obese, I donât even have to make an effort to lose weight because Iâll get a new, perfect body when I die! And on it goes… (standard NT Christian-ese talks conveniently about being âin the world but not of itâ and being a âstranger in a foreign landâ).
So I guess I can blame the inner goat for finally buying The God Delusion. I know that itâs only a matter of time before I have to admit to myself that there is no god. And if thereâs no god, I have to accept responsibility for my life and make some changes…
… itâs actually quite exciting when I look at it that way!!