4/29/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Just Me ~
Today, someone asked me, "When did you become an Atheist?" It was as if there was one precise minute when an official decision was made like the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I don't think a person "becomes" anything over night but I can attempt to answer by giving the process I took in becoming who I am.
I remember being around 5 or 6 and seeing my mom, who is a very devout Pentecostal, kneeling by the bed and crying her eyes out. She saw me in the room and asked that I join her. She was crying about wanting the world to be saved and for my dad.
I remember wondering who she was talking to and why she was so upset. I remember laughing because I felt so embarrassed not to know what she was doing and why. She made me kneel down and tried hard to get me to be hysterical too but I just couldn't. I wanted to go play but I felt sorry for mom being so upset and screaming at no one. I was really scared because I thought my mom had lost her mind. I felt helpless to help her and knew that who or whatever she was screaming at wasn't going to help her either.
From that time on, I suspected there was no one there but I tried hard to be agreeable and left myself open to the possibility that I was wrong until I was about 22 just to please and try to help my mom.
I went to Bible College, taught Sunday school, married a preacher, sang in church, got baptized three ways...sprinkled, "Father Son and Holy Ghost" and in "Jesus Name" (Oneness Pentecostal). I got hysterical, spending hours in a prayer room until tears poured down my face and read the bible so much that the pages of three bibles wore out. I studied Josephus, had a Strong's Concordance, Studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew and dedicated and rededicated my life to Jesus 50 times at least.
I was a missionary in Mexico and in Japan but inside I was thinking I was only asking air to do miracles. Sometimes necessary money would come and sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes good people would go to jail and be punished for things they never did and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes people would kill their children and sometimes they wouldn't. It was like shooting dice and I was slowly realizing prayer was ineffective.
I switched religions because when I was honest with myself, there was no comfort or sense of power or control that everyone had promised I would have when accepting Jesus as my Savior. I tried New Age and realized the rocks didn't have any magical power either and that it was all very silly. I tried Buddhism, Ananda Marga, yoga, reiki, and so many others only to realize they were all a hoax to get money.
Back when I was trying to be a dedicated Christian, people would ask me, when was I "saved". How old was I when I accepted "Jesus as my Savior" and wanted me to give an exact time and place. I couldn't tell. I decided to use the default by saying it was when I was 5 years old and mama got me on my knees and crying for forgiveness and salvation for the world. I just knew that when I was 5, I was just trying to please my mom and obeying her as a child is always encouraged to do.
I suppose the thing that marked my entrance into agnostism/atheism or at least make me leave church was when my dedicated, pastor and missionary husband left me for another woman and was arrested for pediphilia. I prayed long and hard for God to keep his promise and not let what was joined in Jesus' name be put asunder. I begged as my mother had 20 years earlier for my father as that is what I was taught to do when things went awry. The prayer wasn't answered as the bible promised.
Then I doubted that we were truly joined in God's eyes, that I didn't have enough faith, that no mystical intervention was going to show me "love" no matter how much I prayed or asked. I realized at about 27 years old that "the greatest love of all" was happening to me and that it was inside myself and not in church or in heaven somewhere out there.
I can't put an exact date or time when I first realized there was no imaginary friend out there who would make everything alright if you would just kneel by the bed and cry for help until your eyes fell out, I just know that I did come to that conclusion.
I have concluded that I'm an intellectual and that I believe in the power of the human race. I never for a minute think some magical being in the sky will comfort me if I just pray. I meditate for inner peace and calm but I don't ask anything of anyone...either real or imagined.
I am an atheist and very happy knowing that I have found who I really am without outside influence of other people's superstitions and fears. I can't put my finger on the exact minute but I know what I am and I'm neither proud nor ashamed. I just am and I always have been just me.
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