4/15/2011 | Share this article:By Belle ~
Where do I start?
Well, first and foremost, I would not call myself an atheist. I don't even know what to call myself and it does not bother me not to classify myself. I just know what I know for this moment and religion is just something that does not work for me anymore.
Image via WikipediaFor as long as I can remember, I recall the idea of there being a God deeply rooted in my consciousness. It could have been the Sunday school lessons since young or my aunt's constant reminders about sin and righteousness.
I have never questioned "sovereignty." I was not allowed to. If I do it anyway, I would be filled with guilt and condemnation. Yes, it is the condemnation that kills. From church to church, I have tried staying there for long without getting depressed or upset with either:
A)The superficiality of the people
B)The obsession with sin and constant pricking of conscience
The first church I attended left a very bad taste in my mouth. The people there did not exactly care much about the doctrine. They were there for social gathering. It felt so much like high school. Sermons were not stimulating on any level. It's the same old thing about chastity and how girls should not dress to tempt. I needed more so I left.
The second church I went to was on fire for God. People were extremely passionate about being more and more like Jesus in the bible, healing the sick, caring for the weak. I was one of them. Things were great but only for such a short while.
I realized I did not like the person I became. I became extremely introspective and increasingly depressed. Constant worries about whether I was right or not cornered me. I could not fight my thoughts, the thoughts of condemnation, apparantly from the devil. I would lie in bed awake completely bombarded with thoughts. This went on almost everyday for about a few weeks. I felt like I was going crazy.
The more I tried to shut the door to those invading, disturbing thoughts, the more they penetrated through. My only source of comfort became my enemy. Hence, I turned to distractions. I tried songs, television shows, movies, gossiping just to keep the noise in my head down. The more I bought into the idea of a God, the more it ruined me.
At this time, I was taking a module called advertising and promotions. It was from this module that I learned about the different ways to make a message stick in the minds of people. The different appeals that companies employ and the various ways that positions a brand in a consumer's mind. The more I read about it, the more I saw a striking resemblance.
Religion has used emotional appeal and appeals to fear to get to me. The more I read about it, the more I slowly saw what it did to get to me.
Preachers of the God's grace claim to be so different from preachers of the law but upon a closer look, I realized that 80% of the sermon was spent talking about the law and judgment and brutality, only 20% on how God does not blame one for sinning anymore.
Uh, not very convinced.
If the preacher's heart is really set on liberating people, it would have given such a great emphasis on condemnation. There is something called "Reminding and increasing salience" in my module, it talks about how a company has to always remind consumers about its brand to increase sales.
In that same way, I felt that it was by reminding the people of their shortfalls that they hope to keep them in church, to get them holding on to the cross for their dear lives.
To believe in something you can't see can bring one immense comfort and hell at the same time. If one is able to believe in the good he can't see, he is also able to believe in the bad he can't see. It just sets off one to become extremely crazy and paranoid, running around in insecurity and desiring for a lot of affirmation.
I could not take it anymore. The only I could cut myself free was from plucking out every single religious root in me. As long as there is God, there is condemnation lurking. I hated that.
Inconsistencies in the bible also got me doubting a lot about what I deemed as the truth. The foundation beneath me gives way but I know, I have to be brave and continue to live life the best way I can.
Most christians I know are really nice people, the burden they feel from time to time stems from their belief that those who do not believe will perish. It stems from love. I do not wish to claim my decision to get out of it as the way, the only way, the right way, the true way, for who am I to say. In that same way, as I claim my way to be true, I am becoming just like a self-righteous Christian.
Let's face it. These beliefs we hold dear to us are our ways of managing life. We deal with life the best way we know how, in ways that most benefit us. For Christians who still believe, they may find a lot of comfort in believing than not believing. I speak for myself. I am no longer comfortable with believing anymore because it does not work for me any longer.
Right now, I feel quite liberated in a way. I have stopped thinking so much and so deeply that I forget I am crossing the road. I am no longer bothered or disturbed. I just want to live and let live and believe only what I see for reality is kinder than imagination.
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