My parents and I went to Mass earlier this evening. They were busy praying and I was busy daydreaming. They thanked God for blessings and asked for more, while I wondered what movies I would download when we got home.
It was my first time going to Mass in a long time. I’m not even sure how long, but definitely more than a year. It’s funny how I no longer go to Mass and pray and believe in God after spending 12 years of my basic education in a Catholic school. Throughout the 12 years I spent there, I was taught that God was all-loving. That he would forgive our sins if we just asked for his forgiveness and repented. That he hears our prayers and thoughts and fears, and any challenges we encounter in life are just that – challenges. Then there’s that saying about God giving his strongest soldiers the toughest battles.
And the entire time, I just thought it was all bullshit. When I say the entire time, I mean starting from the time I started asking myself questions like “who wrote the story of creation?” or “how the hell did Mary get pregnant without having sex?”. I kept such questions to myself and later on, to my closest friends. They were Catholic but they were open-minded and could discuss their beliefs with me without prejudice. I remained an atheist, and they remained Catholic.
I wouldn’t say I lost the faith, because I never really had it in the first place. Even when our teachers started telling us that the stories in the bible were just metaphors, they couldn’t properly explain to us what was metaphor from reality. Religion left me with too many questions and not nearly enough answers.
Of course, more devout Catholics would say, “that’s what faith is about, believing without proof”. But I can’t do that. I can’t bear to wake up everyday thanking a higher power that may or may not exist. There have been exorcisms, miracles, precognitive visions, and cases of stigmata all around the world and throughout history. But it’s still not enough for me.
There have been times when I go through some really embarrassing or painful experiences and I ask myself if I would feel better if I just surrendered to a higher power. To be honest, I don’t know. And maybe I don’t want to know. Maybe I just want to prove that I don’t need to quote the bible or go to mass or confess my sins to be a good person. A great person, even.
I read somewhere (either Facebook or 9GAG) that not all religious people are good in the same way that not all atheists are bad. I’m an atheist and that does not make me a bad person. I don’t smoke or do drugs or have sex with strangers or switch boyfriends/girlfriends every month. I mess up occasionally, doing the little things every teenager does. Talking back to my parents (or not talking to them properly which seems to annoy them more), watching porn (which I don’t consider to be bad), cursing (daily).
As far as I’m concerned, religion is just humanity’s teddy bear. It helps us sleep at night and wake up in the morning, believing that someone up there is watching over us. It gives us someone to talk to about our fears or hopes. It helps us through the tough times and celebrates with us during the good.
But religion has caused wars. It has sparked genocide. It has caused the deaths of millions of people, which is a hell of a lot more than those it has genuinely saved with miracles and any other acts of God.
I’m at a point in my life where I can confidently say I’m happy without God. I’m happy without any god.