Sunday, November 4, 2012
I was adopted into a Catholic home at the tender age of 2 months. From the get-go I
was raised Catholic.
My mother, had been a Lutheran her whole life up until she married my father, who had
actually been in Seminary in preparation to be a priest.
She used her wiles to talk him out of that; and as penalty got to be Catholic.
Being raised as Catholic was about like you'd expect. Sunday masses, altar boy duty,
Catholic schooling up to the eighth grade.
There was a time in my life where I took it very seriously. But that time started to fade
away as I got older and started thinking for myself more.
I had the usual epiphanies of anti-faith I'm sure. All the science I was learning clashing
with biblical teachings. The money I got to handle as part of my altar boy duties, and
some questions about where it went (The whole church 'franchise' fee disconcerted
me to no end at the time). Things that I wasn't willing to discount simply because of
my 'faith' in the almighty.
So in a confrontation that was surprisingly non-exciting; I stood in the doorway to our
tv room and declared myself an atheist to my parents. I think I was 18 or so. I can't
remember for sure.
And that's the story of how I got here, to Atheist Land.
But that doesn't begin to cover the baggage, and internal struggles that go on to this
day; much in thanks to all that early church teaching.
At first, after that day I declared independence from my religion; I would still often pray
little prayers for things. I'd still attend church with my parents on the major holidays like
Easter and Christmas, I'd still take communion. Why? Well at the time it felt better to
go along with it all. I didn't want to isolate my parents completely on the whole matter,
and while I was in the church, I didn't want people to think I was a dick for sitting down
during communion and not going up with everyone else.
My herd was doing it, so I still did it too.
As the years went by, and I moved away, it was easier to separate things. I didn't go
anymore, and I avoided the subject for the most part. When it did come up, I feigned
being Agnostic. Saying that I didn't believe in god, but I wasn't sure what I did believe
in. Describing myself as a 'seeker of spiritual truth'. What bullshit that was.
I just didn't want to make waves still. It still bothered me when people's faces fell a little
bit when I would tell them I didn't believe in fuck all as far as god and religion. I always
felt like they were so disappointed in me, and it made me feel bad.
Eventually I outgrew that too. At least as far as lying about being Agnostic. At this
point, I just ignored the subject altogether. It seemed easier.
It hasn't been until the last five years or so, where I actively identify myself as an
Atheist. The death of my father in 2005 no doubt making it a little easier for me. Not
that he didn't know how I really felt; just as far as the tension it generated even as the
subject itself was avoided.
Boy, what a short twenty years or so road that was.
I won't lie to you, there is a small part of me that misses it. The group activity, the rituals
that I was oh so familiar with, the music, the pageantry.
But I know it all for what it is. Just a big control game, a money game, a political game.
At least that's my take on it. And, coincidentally, how I'm raising my kids to think about
it; thus generating some interesting side issues of it's own.
Which I'll save for another time.
Cheers, to being a cowardly atheist.
Fred Robel is a married father of three, living in Northern Michigan, working as an
aircraft inspector; with a non-paying side job as a writer/blogger.
His poetry and serialized story blog can be found at Fritz 365 , and his seldom updated thoughts on things, life, and stuff can be found at Warthhog Worries
He has three books published currently:
Fritz 365, A Year in Poetry
Kisses, Blood, Kerosene & Silk- A Man & Dog In the Desert
Tales of the Wrench - Stories and Verse Inspired by a Life of Aviation
Linked eBooks are downloadable for free on Smashwords, also on Barnes &
Noble and Apple Bookstore, search for author Fred Robel