A short history of my belief

Thursday, February 18, 2010 :: Tagged under: pablolife culture. ⏰ 2 minutes.

Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄

One of the (few) things I used to blog about was my atheism. Since I'm starting fresh in this new blog, an introduction is in order, since my relationship to belief has varied widely over the years, and religious belief is something I care passionately about.

I 'came out' as atheist almost as soon as I embraced the label, about 2 years ago, in my junior year at Brown. I'd been fighting doubts in my mind for a few years prior, but only really challenged and criticized my faith with any vigor or curiosity around when I came out.

I was raised culturally Catholic: technically my mother was a Catholic and my father a Protestant. I say was because my mother isn't technically allowed to practice anymore: she is my father's second wife. Since the Catholics don't believe in divorce, my mother could no longer 'officially' practice. When they got married, there wasn't a Catholic priest in town who would officiate the ceremony. They now attend a Methodist church.

We didn't grow up going to church, but I was still raised with a significant religious bent, in spirit more than ceremony. My parents always emphasized Doing the Right Thing that Christ Would Want as more important than saying any number of Hail Marys. In Middle School especially I would pray every night before going to bed. I would wear a cross, and if I took it off before showering, would apologize to God.

As I got older, questions started forming. First, the simple facts-on-the-ground ones ("why does the church hate gay people?") to the higher level ones ("If God knows what I'm going to do, and even controls it, why does s/he care?"). They mounted over time, and after a while I just couldn't think about it anymore.

When Junior year rolls around, I read a few books, and realize the answer to all those questions is a very simple one: S/he doesn't exist. Suddenly, almost all the issues go away.

No more fighting my brain; no more defending stupidity manifesting itself in religious institutions. No more tainting my observations with false expectations of a Watcher or Creator. What happens on Earth is our own doing. It remains the most liberating moment of my life.

It can be depressing, however. Dawkins had an cute essay called Gerin Oil, where he compares religion to drug use (paraphrasing: "in light doses, it's rather harmless and often used as a social lubricant. In heavier doses...").

I think this is apt. Just like consuming substances can 'turn off' a part of your brain and allow you certain associated comforts, going atheist is like being the sober guy at a party. While other people are comfortable embracing blatant contradictions and living by hollow aphorisms, you get a far less sugar-coated view. Preventable injustices happen (no, God didn't want it). You aren't that special. When you die, it's over.

All things considered, however, I'll take it, because a) if you look at it from another angle, it's not really bad at all, and b) it has the advantage of being possibly true, or at least doesn't crumble hopelessly after some nontrivial thought.

So I might post about religion from time to time. If you agree, great! If you don't, better! Let's have a conversation.

Thanks for the read! Disagreed? Violent agreement!? Feel free to join my mailing list, drop me a line at , or leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you 😄