I remember the moment like my eyes were opened for the first time. It was reality, and it was there and unavoidable. I once watched a movie called labyrinth and the girl shatters a mirror and the reality she thought was true shattered before her. That is how I felt. Until that moment I was apathetic, but still a believer, but I remember a time when I was so much more.
The thing is, I really wanted to believe. I didn’t want to be alone. Most of my life was hard and at times I needed someone, but that night I looked around, and like I woke from a dream, there was nothing. No god, nothing. I had lived my life till then being good for good sake, always in fear of hell and damnation. Suddenly all I could see is that there was no barrier between me and reality. Nothing protecting or keeping me.
I had wanted to believe for years. I prayed, I fasted, I read the bible, didn’t cuss, wore my clothes to cover my body, and kept myself from lust. I was the sparkling gem in my own mind, for god. I believed and when there came doubt, I shut it out. I hated non believes, and homosexuals. I believed that god would punish them, and I would be in his favor. I would lay down my life for him, if given the chance. I was the best of the best for god.
Then life came, and nothing was as it should have been. I was disappointed as I watched a five year old little boy die from a tumor, and the cancer that followed. I can still remember his screams as they changed the bandages that covered the tubes going into his chest to deliver the chemo. One day I was walking around on the floor of the hospital just for children with cancers, and it hit me how unfair this was. Little children as pale as death lying in beds, and most of them would not go home.
I was able to distance myself from that by thinking that god knew what he was doing and why. That it was not for me to question his divine plan, but secretly I did. Inside I burned with anger that this was happening. Over and over the question of why came to my mind. It was disturbing. It was actually why I became apathetic. I conformed god to fit what I needed. He became what I wanted him to be. He would love me and understand my flaws. He would not have a problem with who I was, because he made me, and so if I was flawed, then he was responsible for that too.
After that night, I couldn’t even live with that lie. It was my most precious of lies. I told it to myself over and over almost every day. But the words that came out of my mouth gave away my doubts, and fears. They let it out that I was not that good of a christian, and that there was more I was hiding. When the mirror of my life shattered, I had nothing left to hold on to. I knew I was alone. I looked at the sky and saw it was empty above me. I saw the world around, and it was void of any being who would swoop in and save me from the tragedies of my life.
That was when I realized, I was responsible for me. I had to be the one to take charge of my life, and it was hard. I wanted someone to blame, to thank, to turn to, to run to, and hide from the sorrows of the world. What I found was that I had only me and I had to get stronger every day. It was baby steps, and it has been since. I had a lot of growing up to do, and it all seemed overwhelming. It still does. Sometimes I find things that are rooted deep in my mind, and I have to pull them out, and it is painful at best.
I realized everything I saw me as, and everything I was was given to me by religion. I came out of it unsure who I was and who I should be. I was confused, and angry, and hurt, betrayed, and scared. I realized I was not angry at a god I didn’t believe in, no I was angry at a lie, one I believed in so long. One that took up so much of my life and who I was. One that made me hate my flaws and imperfections.
Every day when I wage war on god, it is not because I believe in the myth. But because I want others to not waste their lives believing in the myth, and fearing the myth, and never knowing who they are because they can’t even have the right to be the person they really want to be deep down. Instead you bargain with the lie, you manuever around the lie. You say it over and over and over, with hopes that one day it will be true. That never happens.
Now that I am an atheist, a recovering atheist, recovering my life that is, I know how many people feel. The need for it to be true and the desire is there, but the god isn’t. The tragedy is so many people live the lie, and live it well. So well they can’t see beyond it. It is like the dream you never wake from, the desire you can’t let go of. For many people god is real because he is in their heads, and that is what keeps him alive, but what they don’t realize, is that it is all an illusion, a delusion of our own creation. Once you start listening to everyone tell you about their god, you realize there are billions of them, and everyone is different because of the mind it possesses.