My thoughts on God are a pain that is sometimes too difficult to bare.
I joke around with people when it comes to the issues of religion and belief. I tell people that I believe in “Faith-ism,” a conglomeration of different perspectives and beliefs that I have collected over the years that have shaped my morals into something outside of organized religion. I’m not sure if it was a logical, well-thought progression to issues I started facing in high school (when I first started to question the beliefs I was brought up with), or if it was that utter feeling of loneliness.
I don’t believe in God. I guess that is where this prompt should start. I use the vernacular because has always been a part of the cultural dialogues I was brought up with, but in all respect, I don’t believe in God. I want to, but the feeling of a cold-stone sinking into my gut when I try to force myself to believe never really goes away.
I have to believe in something right? I think we all want to believe in something greater than ourselves; something that explains why this life is so hard…something that tells us that in the end it will all be worth it. I think I can believe in that; that there is a higher power, or purpose, but I don’t give it the name of God. I don’t name it God because I think the Christian God is somewhat of a bastard. I think he is cruel. I think many of his followers are crueler.
My thoughts on God are somewhat akin to my thoughts of my exes. They are exes for a reason, and my loss-love of the Christian God is really no different. It is filled with scorn and hatred, and no doubt if I ever had to be faced with God, would end up with my hand straight across his/her cheek; the irony that I envision a physical manifestation of what I don’t believe to exist is not lost upon me.
It hurts too much to think about it. At first I felt abandoned. I can’t fully explain that moment when I stopped believing. I just remember no longer blindly following the words my Pastor would say every sunday. The world around me suddenly came into focus, and realistic colors bled away the brightness of childhood. It was like getting a cold bucket of water dumped upon me, when I realized the loving eyes that I was told was watching over me, never really existed. My departure from that belief felt the same way losing the belief in Santa felt. As if someone took the fairytale from the world.
But through all of this, I think what hurt the most, was loosing connection to the community that the thought of God creates in people. I missed seeing people at Church everyday. People who were supposed to love you no matter what. A family….but at that young age I realized that, like god, family was a fairytale that always ended.
Maybe that is a good explanation for my anger. I lost my connection to family around the same time I lost my belief in God, and it hurt. I sometimes wish I could shut my brain off, and go back to blindly believing. But I can’t. I can’t because it feels so much like a lie that makes me want to scrub my body until it is raw. I’m angry that my childhood was taken from me. I’m angry that I lost my innocence on a bright morning, amongst the haze of dust and taillights.
My thoughts on God? They aren’t popular. My ex-girlfriend said that my separation from god is the reason why I am miserable. For a while I thought she was right. I had a deep-seeded hatred for the Church, and then in retrospect, for their God. I hated it all. I hated someone could believe what obviously didn’t exist. But I think I hated myself more, for once being one of those people, because that belief had left me vulnerable to hurt. That belief left me vulnerable to all that was dirty, and ugly, in this world. I hated myself for being scammed.
The first time I stepped foot back in a church was in the summer of 2009, after 6 years of refusing to go near one. As part of a tour of a nearby island my class was taking during my month in Ireland, we visited the oldest church there. By that time, my anger shifted from pure hatred to sarcastic resentment. I made it a joke, to hide my disdain, and focused on the architecture. As everyone was leaving, I walked up to the front of the church to sign their guest-book and to light a candle for my uncle. I remember my hand shaking as I lit the candle, staring at it for a minute before I tore myself away from the building. The old hurts flooded back, and I refused to deal with them. I was thousands of miles away from all that I knew. I had a blank slate. I could be anything. My issues with religion were not going to touch me here.
So I thought.
Then we went to Kylemore Abbey. I walked the beautiful grounds slowly, letting the peace I had found on the foreign soil seep into my chest as I moved through history. I avoided the Abbey until I couldn’t any longer, and I walked up to the stone church slowly, moving passed the small graveyard next to it like I was walking to my own funeral. I was silent, and my shoulders felt heavy. I wasn’t raised catholic, but I do have an appreciation for the architecture of their churches, and I couldn’t help but be awed by the beauty I saw in that small abbey. I sat down, taking in the connemara marble and stained glass windows, and as I sat there I started sobbing.
I cried for the little girl who died the day she lost all that she was told to believe in. I cried for the teenager who spiraled so far out of control that she dreamed of killing herself every night for 10 years. I cried for the young adult, who let her world bastardize her, violate her, into a monster she couldn’t recognize in the mirror. I cried for the girl who ran away from love, because it hurt too much to feel something that was always torn away from her.
I’m sure I looked like a crazy person sitting there with silent tears streaming down my face as I sat in that church, thousands of miles away from everything that had broken me. I didn’t pray, or thank God or any other deity that may or may not exist. I just sat there, crying for myself, for the very first time.
I don’t believe that there is a God. It is nice to think sometimes, that there is something out there watching over us. I sometimes look up at the night sky, and talk to the people I have buried over the years, and pretend that the wind against my cheek is their responses. But I can’t bring myself to even pretend to believe that there is a God. Instead, for moments at a time, I just let myself exist. I feel the Earth beneath my feet, and I let the smells, tastes, and touches of the world sink into my body. I let the warmth of the Sun beat down on my back, and I pull tightly with the cold of the winter.
This is where my spirit lies. I am not afraid of the unknown, or of what should be considered right or wrong based upon a book written by men in the name of something supposedly greater than their imagination. I don’t need an explanation for the unexplainable, and I don’t feel hatred for anything that is different from what I am, or have experienced, thus far in my life. I love theology and spirituality of this generation, of this world, much like that of a scholar learning something new for the first time; having adopted a live and let live attitude for the people of this world, as long as their living doesn’t stop or hinder the life of another.
I am simply am a person, lost and broken amongst others that are lost and broken. I believe in everything greater than myself. I believe in the beauty of this world, and I believe in the darkness. But I don’t believe in your Gods. Why should I, when I can believe in you.