“I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart…down in my heart to stay.” ~Christian children’s Sunday school song
I can remember sitting in Sunday school, singing this song, which I actually requested often, and wondering, “Why doesn’t it stay?” I would be happy and at peace sometimes, but not all the time.
I was taught over the years that it was my lack of faith, my lack of trust in god, that caused what became increasing periods of distress in my heart. If I just did what the Bible taught, if I just believed more/harder/stronger, then I’d find that peace.
I jumped through all the hoops and did all the studies and prayed all the prayers. I denied myself, I prostrated myself, I psychologically destroyed myself, yet the peace never came.
I’d been an Atheist only a few weeks when I mentioned to Frankie that for the first time ever in my life I finally knew true peace. It was like a settling of, for lack of a better term, my soul.
In reality, of course, it’s my mind that is settled. My mind is no longer running through long lists of excuses (called Apologetics in religion) for the obvious disconnect between actual reality and the teachings of Christianity. That, in and of itself, is like a freedom from prison.
And then, of course, I also no longer have to believe that I’m a worthless and useless person who can do nothing on her own, I need god to save me. That never matched up with reality either. God never saved, he never showed up, he was never there. (This is actually what I find offensive about The Shack…this idea that god is always there even when you can’t see or feel her.)
Of late I’ve been easing my kids into critically examining religion. I do believe that to just dump Atheism on them would be no better than the Christian convert who forces his/her religion on the kids. My latest little idea is helped along by children’s films and my kids own comments.
The other day we were out at the beach with friends and Braniac jokingly tried to will away the clouds. I told him that was a good idea because all the movies told us that if we just believed we could do something, we really could. It’s become a thing and I will let them take it all the way to prayer and belief that doing certain religious acts will induce god’s blessings.
At every turn, reality denies any god, not just the Christian god, all of them. The promises only “come true” when we twist the facts enough to force them. It doesn’t take but an open cursory glance around the world to show that prayer and faith are fallacies that are not just empty, but absolutely dangerous.
When you rid yourself of those beliefs, life becomes more honest. You can see the evil for what it is…evil. It’s not someone’s sin bringing curses on them and their children thereby letting religious people off the hook from helping them. It’s not god’s will in order to make you a better person, because evil rarely makes better people, it only makes more evil.
Life sucks. You are going to suffer. Not thinking you made god mad or he’s given you evil (like being raped or having your kid die a slow and painful death to cancer) because you are so stupid he can’t teach you the lesson any other way, at least alleviates the mental torture and enables you to deal with what is actually happening.
The only way to achieve the peace which passeth all understanding is to leave behind the ideas that shackle you to dependence on something you can’t even truly know and can only be “proven” anecdotally.