With NaNo over, I’ve been able to pick my reading back up, something that I’ve sorely missed. I’ve always been drawn to fiction, but here recently I’ve been reading books on religion, or more importantly the lack thereof. I finished Diatribes very quickly, then went back to Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great. I finished that yesterday, doing a lot of reading at work.
That makes me nervous, not because I’m reading on the clock, but because I live in the Alabama part of Pennsylvania. I work with people of the best varieties of Christian bigots. Now maybe that’s being a little harsh, but I can give you a quick cross-section of those I work with.
There’s the guy who told me that he doesn’t see how anyone without some form of religion can have any sort of morals, and that all people need a god in their life in order to not be the Scum of the Earth. (It was interesting that at the end of his comment, he added that “even Wiccans have some kind of higher power” that makes them capable of being okay, and I’m sure he added that because my husband is pagan and we had a Wiccan priestess perform our handfasting ceremony.)
There’s the guy that told me that Mormon’s aren’t Christians, because our version of the Godhead is different than his Catholic version of the Trinity. I still take offense at that even though I don’t go to church any longer and really don’t plan on going ever again, and I wonder how Catholics justify praying to Mary when their god forbids them to pray to or worship anyone but him. I mean, it’s in the Ten Commandments.
And then there’s the guy that I’m glad isn’t on my shift. He’s a preacher. He carries his bible with him, talks church stuff with other employees who attend his services, compares notes with other preachers who work there, and is the one who tells everyone to “have a blessed day.” I never wanted to talk wedding plans with him because of the type of ceremony I was having. I mean, the guy said he wouldn’t perform a funeral for one of his parishioners because he was gay. You know that he’d voice issues with a pagan wedding ceremony and would have probably told me it’s “demonic.” (Insert best Pastor Manning impersonation here)
So keeping these examples of my coworkers in mind, you can see how interesting it would have been had they asked what I was reading or saw the titles of the books. I don’t know if they’re familiar with the names of Hitchens and Dawkins, but I’m sure they weren’t raised under the same extreme rock that I was that I hadn’t heard of them until just recently. I really do imagine a few of them being the internet trolls that argue religion in YouTube and Facebook comments.
I just started Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and even this early in (I’m currently on page 58) I find myself wanting more. I want to put other titles by him and Hitchens on my Christmas wish list, along with something by Daniel Dennett, the only one of the “Four Horsemen” that isn’t in my book collection yet. However this struggle for “religious identity” (for lack of a better phrase) isn’t something that I’ve discussed with anyone, with the exception of my friend Ris and you, my dear readers.
I’ve always been curious and liked to learn, and I can tell now that is going to be my belief’s downfall. For the more I read, the more I want to learn, and the more I feel that my childhood was filled with lies and deception, denied truths and an abundance of misinformation. I have mentioned to a couple of my sisters that I’ve been thinking of leaving the Church for a while. Before it was because I just didn’t feel comfortable and felt I didn’t belong there, but now there’s so much more to it.
I just don’t believe in it anymore.
Last night as I was listening to episode 220b of Cognitive Dissonance, one of the hosts, Cecil, said that once he started questioning his beliefs there was no going back and that he couldn’t make himself believe it anymore. That really resonates with me, as that is exactly what I’m going through.
I’ve got a rough draft of a letter on my computer to send to the Church, asking to be removed from the Membership Rolls. It’s just waiting for me to modify it and print it, then send it off. From what I hear, the Church has a habit of sending missionaries and other representatives to your house once they’re aware of your desire to leave the “flock” even when you include in your letter that you have no desire for any further contact from the Church. I hope to prepare it and send it out this weekend. Then the wait of anxiousness can really begin.