“You’ve got stuck in a moment, and now you can’t get out of it”.
These lyrics from U2 song maybe describe what I feel like since I’ve started to think on my religious view in last couple of years.
I have never been a religious person in real sense of that word. I have always looked upon religious claims as some kind of symbolic messages and metaphors. Despite the fact I love to say a prayer in a silent and empty church, I have never liked crowded Sunday services and to pious believers. By the way, I live in Croatia which in the last decade has passed through some kind of re-traditionalizing process thanks to strong Roman Catholic influences, empty nationalism and general aversion toward socialist secularism. Compared to number of inhabitants I think that Croatia has the biggest number of charismatic priests and laymen. I don’t know if that is good or bad, because some of those guys have really frightening stand points which are in some instances simply crazy, and even Catholic Church tries to keep them in line. I have never doubted my religious positions, however thanks to my sensitivity, credulity and stressful changes that happened in my life lately I have arrived to the point where I have to decide where to go next.
My de-conversion or re-conversion process, I still do not realize where it will lead me, started when I heard stories of people who have found Christ in various charismatic movements. Their stories of exorcism, demons, miracles and faith healings have started some kind of negative emotion impulse in my head. They frighten me. What if they are true? I know that their claims can’t face with the scientific scrutiny, but how can they all be explained naturally? I am aware of the hook that is being offered to me. Believe in supernatural, evil can hurt you, but do not worry if you are a practicing Catholic you will be protected – just don’t do what is not part of Catholic Catechism and you will be fine. It is frustrating that this kind of argumentation haunts me for months. It is like a psychological loop. Every time I hear a supernatural story, it causes a negative emotional response in me, and them I struggle to debunk it. That exhausts me. I am aware that I can debunk every supernatural claim made by believers, but their claims always somehow stick to my mind. It’s like try not to think about white bears, and every time you do it they are there.
When looking from rational perspective I know that supernatural claims are unconvincing, but why is my brain so sensitive to them? Only thing that keeps me in this “I do not know what to believe in situation” is my fear. That is what I am sure off. Honestly, I would feel liberated if I could simple discard fundamentalist/charismatic believes. You wouldn’t believe, but there are people here who don’t have Facebook profiles because they believe that someone could bewitch them. That is bat shit crazy, but what if it is true? This kind of reasoning is making me frustrated. When I find myself in this kind of debate I cannot win with rational arguments, because they always have some kind of anecdotal stories that confirm they claims and I loose.
I believe that science still has to say a lot about this world, and that it is the most reliable tool to explain the World where we live in, I still feel like a credulous Cro-Magnon who is hooked on supernaturalism despite all the modern progress made in last couple of hundred years. I hope that somehow I will resist all religious lures and have courage to say what I truly believe in to all fundamentalist without any fear or insecurity, hiding behind my progressive/liberal religion. Alternative frightens me. Who would like to become a fundamentalist?
PS – I hope my English was good enough to read.