18/07/2012 – Six months later and I feel a whole lot different about this these days. No, I didn’t crawl back to Jesus or anything. I identified that was just feeling a bit shit. Therefore comments are now closed and no further discussion will be entered into. I would pull it down, but I don’t believe in removing the past as it helps create your future. – Nick
You can understand the peace and comfort that comes from being religious. The idea that at the end of the life on this planet that you can then go on and live an eternal life of peace and happiness is so inviting. I was a born-again Christian for many years from around the age of 8 or 9, and not because my parents were religious or church people. I attended church because I wanted to, and I thought that what they said sounded good and true.
Maybe it was the idea that someone was looking out for me. There was a person/energy/spirit that was with me to give me guidance and to keep me safe. Every night I would pray, and if I ever forgot I wouldn’t fall asleep as easily. I could make amends anything I had done wrong, ask for protection and care for friends and family, and it felt good.
Death has always scared me and it does even today. The fact that when I died I would go to heaven and live an everlasting life was a great comfort to me. It took a bit of the worry away from the concept of being dead.
From around the age of 16, I drifted away from the church. It was because I started working Sundays and I couldn’t make it to church every week. I was still a Christian, but I just didn’t go to church. I did some Work for the Dole when I was 22 at a Christian organisation, and I realised that I still had an interest in Christianity. I ended up not going to their church because I got a job in Brisbane instead but I knew that it was still inside me. It had just been dormant.
After a while I guess I didn’t really care as much any more. I was probably agnostic more than anything. There were still this core belief system about a god, a heaven and spirituality, but it didn’t really come into my life very much. I then met Natalie.
Natalie challenged the very core of my belief system with the concept that there is no god. That there is nothing out there and this is it. I went through so much torment and agony and working through the concepts and the information almost broke me mentally. Even if I didn’t care much about God and Christianity, it was still a core part of my system of living. It was still a crux that I could rely on.
I eventually accepted that the concept that there is a god is illogical and that the only thing that made sense was Atheism. I consider myself “unborn again”, but I certainly respect the rights of those who want to believe their own set of religious beliefs. It isn’t my place to convert people; I only really discuss it if someone asks.
Today I’ve come to realise that I miss it. I miss the idea of there being a god out there to protect me and care for me. I miss the idea that at the end of this life there will be something more waiting for me. I miss the concept that there is someone or something who cares for us and looks after us. I miss having a god to look upon and believe in and a religious structure that provided friendship and support.
I’ve never really filled that hole in my life with anything else. I have to face the fact that when I die, I’m dead and there ain’t much more to life than that. I don’t have the comforting concept that there is something else helping me and guiding me. I have to face the big, dark world on my own and sometimes it just sucks.
So what is the point of this ramble? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s that I wish religion could be true, but I know it isn’t. The make believe that is the Christian religion would be wonderful if it was true. But it isn’t. None of that is. And yet I feel a need for something. Some sort of spirituality or something. It’s hard to explain.
I’m not looking to be converted. What I’m interested to know, I guess, is how do atheists fill that “god-shaped hole” as (I think) Richard Dawkins put it quite nicely?