Note: I had intended to begin this on the first, but life got in the way, as it often does. I will not say I’ll try to “catch up,” however, because I planned to skip some of the prompts. Perhaps it will all work out in my favor. 🙂
I’m not participating in Nano this year, but I did want to write something outside school for a change. I looked for some November prompts that had nothing to do with Thanksgiving because, well, someday I will post my thoughts on Thanksgiving and being thankful. I found a scrapbooking website that had a section entitled “Keeping a Five Year Journal.” I figured that would be long enough to find enough prompts for one month. 😉
There are two, but the one led to the other so they are synonymous in my head. In March of this year, all my years of questioning, and all my study of Scripture, as well as my study of abuse patterns and actions, led me to the not so surprising conclusion that religion, all religion, is a made up farce. In that moment, I found true peace. Leaving religion was the only way to get to the place where you can have control over your life and make a change.
By the end of April, I had decided to go back to school. I had thought it would be a long, hard road, because I was stupid, or so I’d been told by relatives, teachers, employers, friends, co-workers, etc, all my life. I thought I would have to take remedial classes before I could even consider a degree.
By the end of May, I found all that to have been a lie…sort of. It took me a bit of reflection to understand what had happened between, well, whenever I began to think I was stupid and the tests that proved I wasn’t. There were a couple factors, one is that I was being abused. That doesn’t usually allow for more thought than survival. Second was that I was stressed out by the lies of my religion. When one is constantly trying to appease an invisible guy in the sky who can snuff you out and will, as he has proven throughout history, for any reason he deems appropriate, it isn’t conducive to a lot of deep thought. There was also the fact that most of the time my mind was engaged in the mental gymnastics necessary to continue in believing in the face of reality. That takes up all your energy and doesn’t leave room for much else.
I couldn’t have made the decision to go back to school without becoming an Atheist. That may seem odd if you don’t understand how faith is supposed to work. You see, “god” is supposed to be the one that helps you. It seemed to the people around me that my dead-end job was how god was helping me and with that reiterated daily, along with a steady stream of “be content with what god has given you” garbage that is preached from the pulpit, it’s hard to see beyond that. Faith is an insipid enslaver of your thoughts and actions. The truly faithful do not make decisions unless they have a clear sign and absolute proof. They can’t, because if they fail, it is evidence that they failed god. So the truly faithful are caught in an endless cycle of self-doubt that freezes them and makes them incapable of doing much more than float along with the tides of life.
As an Atheist, I know my life is mostly up to me. I can look for and follow after opportunities presented without having to second guess if it’s the will of some invisible being who has never done anything but pour pain out on my life. Sure, there are extraneous circumstances, things that might get in my way. I don’t become consumed with fear because of them. They are not signs that I am going against god’s will, they are just things that happen in life that I have no control over. I know that no one has any control over anything except small parts of themselves.
I’ve learned a lot since I walked away from the fear true faith necessitates. Most of that learning has come in just the past few months since school began. When I look back on my life, leaving religion and faith in unprovable entities that require all of you but give absolutely nothing in return will probably always be the best decision I’ve made. It allowed me to break free from fear and step out in faith in my self to change my life.