On losing my religion…

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This wee entry has been a long time brewing. It is recorded for no other reason than in writing it I am declaring it.

I have lost my religion. Not in the sense that I can no longer find it but rather I have actively and consciously shed it.

Those who have known me a while may find this surprising, disturbing or hard to believe… This is all the more interesting I suppose as it comes from a fellow who as a young man sought the monastic life. I was born into a Catholic family; I attended Catholic primary and secondary schools. I participated fully in the life of the Church for many years.

Now there will be some of you who already having rejected religion might smugly roll your eyes and mutter something about how you already knew all this… I care not. Some may welcome me into the folds of the unbeliever – if it’s all the same I prefer no fuss.

I wish to avoid offending those of my friends and family who hold their beliefs dear. I respect your right to believe what you believe. I do not intend to record this to offend those who have faith or in anyway to suggest that what has occurred to me is better or worse than that which you the reader believe. I am sure some of you will tut-tut and decide to pray for me. Do whatever you want.

I’m happy. In fact I have never been happier.

How did I get here?

When my mother died on 9 September 2010 through a series of events I was left with all her remaining worldly possessions in my garage. As I worked my way sadly through the boxes of half opened laundry powder or wedding cards she and dad received in 1954 I was confronted with the issue of what to do with those things that mum had kept so carefully for 57 years.

It hit me with a tangible force that mum was gone. She was quite simply gone. She was not looking down on me from some heavenly place nor was she watching my disposal of her detritus with some loving glow.

When a person dies they are gone. Simple. All that remains is the memory I hold. When I go – I go. I reject the notion that this life is some form of rehearsal for the next.

This is all there is and I find that rather refreshing. It means that how I behave here and now is important, for no other reason than I wont get here and now again.

I reject vehemently that men in Rome have some exclusive access to the truth. Bollocks to that. I am heartily sick of grumpy priests trying to explain every crappy thing that happens on the planet as god’s will.
I reject energetically any religious belief that argues that one gender is superior to the other.

I reject any proposition that a person’s sexual preference can be right or wrong. Consenting adults can do what they please in my world.

Food based religious rules are just bloody stupid.

Any belief system that suggests that by following rules one will gain eternal life – potty.

I recently completed a visa application for travel to India. It asked me to record what religion I practiced. I recorded for the first time Atheist, and I meant it.

And what of my mum and dad? They were both happy in their faith. Do I feel any sense of guilt or that I have let them down? No. They’re gone and I honoured them both in their death. I respected their faith in their funerals. I love them, as much today as I did when they were alive. But they’re gone.

A friend commented after I had declared my new found belief system that I had had the opposite to a Road to Damascus experience… I hopped back on the horse and turned around heading away from Damascus. He’s right… I am riding away happily.

I do not believe in god. I believe in good.

Oh and I do believe in magic and Harry Potter of course… and in good table manners, the restorative power of a good laugh, the joy of small pleasures and nice glass of whiskey a great cup of coffee…

6 comments

  1. I’m somewhat sorry to hear that you’ve become an atheist – it was good to know that someone still carried the torch for the old religion. Welcome to the world of secularism and humanism. I, too, believe we make our own happiness and fate.

  2. Justin. I could tell you of the conversations on the subject of religion, which I had with your Dad during his visit to UK all those years ago. But I think your Dad’s thoughts on the subject should be kept just between you and me, and not for general publication. Suffice it to say, that he didn’t appear to be the devout R.C. in his last years.
    Uncle Brian.

  3. Well Justin, I may have told you I lost my (catholic) religion when I visited the pristine Vatican city (with it’s own bank) in the 70’s, climbed to the top of St Peter’s Square and gazed nonplussed at the surrounding slums of Rome – just outside the magnificent Vatican City square-mile estate. During my subsequent 37 odd years on this planet I am grateful to have had a broader view of this world, free of the shackles of guilt-driven fundamentalism and to have discovered that you don’t need religion to be a beneficent and law abiding individual.

  4. Well Justin (et al) well done on losing your religion! It genuinely sounds like you have lost religion. This is very christ like. He actively exposed religion, we managed to bring it back in an attempt to appease our consciences. Silly. Now you should read the New Testament without your religion and it will begin to make sense (truly).

    Religiously yours…….

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