This is a response to the last blog post that I did about Atheism vs Religion. There seemed to be some confusion about my definition of Religion. I was not speaking about any specific religion or saying that people shouldn’t be opposed and speak out about horrific things done in the name of religion. I am simply speaking about those who try to belittle and change the mind of those who believe that there is something more to life than what we can see.
I was not raised in any particular religion, though my father was raised Catholic and being raised in the US we celebrated all of the commercial Christian holidays: Christmas, Easter… and to a lesser extent Halloween. My father read me the children’s Bible when I was younger, but that was half out of obligation to my mother who gave it to me, and half because he felt that it was part of our modern culture and he wanted me to be educated on it.
As I got older I met more and more people of different religions and my father always encouraged me to learn about them and make my own decisions on which, if any, that I chose. He always felt that it was never a bad thing to be well informed and well read.
Most of my life I didn’t identify with any religion… except maybe The Force.. I’m still trying to get that remote from across the room. I did feel like there was more to life than just living, eating, procreating, and dying… unless you’re a praying mantis. I felt connected in some way to Jesus, because of the family and the culture that I grew up in, and I believed in ghosts, reincarnation, not so much Hell. I came to believe in my own version of what I thought made sense.
After learning about quantum physics and some theorists interpretation of how consciousness creates outcomes, and how we are made from the same stuff as star dust I felt even more sure that there was more to everything that what is understood…. dark matter/energy, anyone?
After I had my son I had a pull towards the Catholic church. I wanted him to be baptized like everyone else in our family. I knew that I didn’t want him to go to the public school in my town and the local Catholic school was known to be wonderful. I met with my family church counselor and eventually received my confirmation. I wasn’t sure how much more I wanted to do with it, but I left that door open.
Then my father died. That was absolutely the worst thing in the world that has ever happened to me. I had moved back in with him after his diabetes was getting progressively worse and eventually I met a man who understood my predicament and though he wasn’t thrilled with living with his girlfriend’s father we made due after my father had a stroke and needed a quadruple bypass. We went on to have the most amazing son in the world…. but unfortunately that man was not up for the challenge and left me alone with a one year old boy and my sick father.
Thankfully for the most part my dad was fine. He had what we called “episodes”. His blood sugar levels would drop to the point where he would become hypothermia and the paramedics spent a lot of time at my house. My father, however, was still working and paying most of the bills while I worked at home part-time teaching ESL online to people across the world nights after my son went to sleep .
This went on for about a year. Then one month after my son’s second birthday my dad said his good-nights and never woke up. I was completely devastated. I blamed myself for not checking on him. I was completely grief stricken. Forget the fact that I had no idea how I was going to pay the bills and how I was going to take care of my son all by myself I grieved for all of the moments that my son would never have with him. I grieved all the moments that he would never have with my son.
My son was 2 years old. His long-term memories hadn’t even begun to form. I was so distraught by the fact that my son wouldn’t know my dad. My wonderfully amazing dad.
But then as time went by my son still spoke about “Papa”. He spoke about conversations they could never have had. Later that year for my birthday I gave myself the present of going to London with my son… that same day my father’s long-term girlfriend died… on my birthday. We had a lovely trip, we saw all kinds of amazing things and had wonderful adventures while there. When we returned home it was night and my 2.5 year old was asleep. When we woke the next morning my son looked around and asked, “where’s Papa?”, as if he was expecting him to be waiting for us when we got back. I just told him that he was with Mary (his girl-friend’s name).
After a while my son was back to talking about him as if he were a friend. He was adamant that Papa was at his 3rd birthday and loved the cake. Maybe he was, maybe it was a little grieving boy’s imagination… but what’s the harm in believing?
It was after that I decided to start becoming more proactive at church. It’s not that I believe everything they say. I understand that the Bible was written by people and that most of the rules were designed around politics and the economy. I understand that if God did come down and speak to people and that his word was passed down from generation to generation there is a good chance it’s been altered anyway. We’ve all played telephone.. never mind in different languages.
But I choose to believe that my father and son were communicating all that time. I choose to believe that my father is still watching us and seeing the amazing little boy that my son is growing into. I choose to believe that I will see him again one day, and if I find comfort in that… why would you begrudge me just because you don’t.
I’m not here to say that everyone should believe in Christ. I’m not here to say that if you disagree with a practice of a church that you shouldn’t fight against it. There is a difference between an organized religion, and a spiritual hope. You don’t have to want more… you don’t have to need to feel connected…. but why tear others down who do? There is no proof either way and many unanswered questions. Many scientist believe in some sort of God… who are you to say otherwise?