Thursday, July 24, 2008

The God Post

That Girl has asked me about my belief/lack of belief in a god and rather than write a post-worthy comment, I think I'll just write a post.

I was not raised in any religion. My father was raised Lutheran (I think), though he is an atheist. My mother was raised in the Baptist denomination though she identifies as agnostic (but for that brief time when she was on her death bed). Anyway, my parents never forced religion on me nor hid religion from me. They allowed me to go to church with friends and taught me to respect other peoples' right to believe what they wanted.

I was desperate to find something to believe in as a child. I wanted the world to have magic...I wanted there to be more than what I could see. I wanted romance and mystery and something to make me feel okay about the world. When I was 11, I started reading Clan of the Cave Bear. The spirituality in the book intrigued me, especially since much of it had to do with nature; something I felt connected to. I started to read about Wicca, which was the closest thing I could find. Herbs became more than just plants; they were carriers of energy. I spent a lot of time on a swing in my back yard, enjoying the life around me (and of course, thanking the tree for letting me hang from it). But there was something about it...about the sky gods and the moon mother that I just couldn't swallow and I gave up on Wicca because I felt I had to take a religion in it's entirety...and I just couldn't swallow everything Wicca was feeding me.

I went to my first CCD class in seventh grade with my friend Sarah. The class was on abortion and the teacher spoke for an hour, showing pictures of tiny fetuses and passing around little tiny fetus dolls. She explained that all life was special to God. When I got home, I proudly showed my mother my new pin, the one with two tiny feet, and exclaimed that I was never going to have an abortion and that abortions were wrong. I could see in my mother's eyes that she disagreed, but she let me go back to CCD the week after that. I eventually stopped going because I couldn't swallow all that Catholicism was feeding me.

When I got sober, I was told I had to believe in a higher power. I struggled with it. I had never believed in a being that was all-knowing and all-seeing and loving or vengeful or whatever. But AA told me I could define my own higher power, that I didn't have to swallow any religion, so I tried to find something religious and fit it into the empty hole in my life.

Eventually, I stopped trying so hard. And eventually, I became okay with my non-belief.

I do not believe in God or gods or a Mother. I believe that my life came about because it did. I do not have a purpose. There is nothing I am supposed to do in my time here on Earth. That does not mean I do not care about what I do with my life. I do. I want to get the most out of it; enjoy the people I meet, have a goal and work toward it, go about living in a way that makes me and the people around me feel good.

My life, without God, is beautiful. Those things I wanted as a child - the world to have magic, for there to be more than what I could see, the romance and mystery and something to make me feel okay about the world - I have those things. There are things going on in the world that I can't explain or see and that I don't understand...they hold mystery. And I take comfort in knowing that I, like everything around me, am only a small part of an entire world of things and that, like all those things, I will pass. When I am hurting, I find comfort in the vastness of the world around me. A bird or a breeze or a sunset settle my nerves and bring me back to a place of humility and peace. I find, in the world around me, all the things that I wanted from religion and from a god.


Badass Geek said...

I was raised in a Baptist Christian home. All I know is that my life got a whole lot easier to live when I stopped going to church.

Religion works for some people. Not for me, though.

Anonymous Blogger said...

I can really relate to your post. I feel very driven by nature too, and do not believe in a God or Gods. Lately I have taken an interest in the Wiccan as a way to celebrate nature, I am really excited about building this aspect of my life. I have been sober for 7 years and still kind of an issue with the word God and how it relates to me at meeting level. Like when we go to pray. I feel uncomfortable not praying with the group and I feel uncomfortable praying with the group. Wondering how you deal with this?