(Via Poodles)

Sometimes memes can give you some motivation to write about something that should have been written a long time ago.

I think deconversion stories are important. I think they can be helpful to those rolling on the edge of atheism, scared or uncomfortable to take those last steps. The internet is a great tool for people looking for like minds and helpful information; I wish it had been around when I was reverting back to my birth state of atheism.

So, since I am “slow like that” sometimes, here is my story of losing religion.

I was born an atheist, in a catholic hospital here in Salt Lake City. Shortly thereafter I was taken to New York, where my family is from, to be baptized into the Catholic Church. I have godparents and all. My mom has never been baptized anything, my grandmother is a non practicing Episcopalian, and I don’t know what my father was. I grew up going to church with my Italian grandfather. I was a very good catholic. I went to church, I went to catechism, I studied hard, I passed my tests and I did my first communion. I sang in the choir (really I can’t sing, I kinda feel bad for them for that). I said my prayers every night “now I lay me...” and I paid the money my grandfather gave me to put in the basket.

During my youth, since my mom wasn’t stuck on one religion she let me go to Sunday school and church with my Mormon friends sometimes too. That was one religion I always found loony, but entertaining.

Around the time I was to start preparing for my confirmation I had mostly stopped going to church. Pretty much because I was too lazy to spend my Sunday doing that.

When I got to high school in the late 80’s I had a friend who began asking me about the Catholic Church. He became interested in converting to Catholicism and he wanted me to help him. I knew this meant I would need to get confirmed. I began that road, it included a lot of reading, including, finally the bible, cover to cover, not because the church wanted me to, they really didn’t, but because it was important to me. Somewhere along the way, I started reading the road signs. Not the big jesus billboards they want you to see, but the little sticks with the mile numbers on them. I finally had to tell my friend that I wouldn’t help him because I couldn’t be catholic any more, it didn’t make any rational sense.

I then began a search to find out who and what I was. I went to many churches and studied many different religious texts. Not a one of them struck me as “real”. I continued my journey on into college, pretty sure by this time I was an agnostic at least.

In my last years of high school and early college, I fell in with the “Goth” crowd. We went to the local “Goth” hang outs (The Ritz, The Palladium and others). There my journey took me on a tour of Wiccan. My best girlfriend is a witch. I have spoken of her here. In the end though I thought that crap too. My best guy friend is a gay return LDS missionary, nothing like a little diversity.

During college, part of my studies included history and how it related to theater. That got me turned on to studying how religion and history related to each other.

I finally got it.

I knew I was an atheist by this time, and I finally got why. It was like a huge light bulb had been turned on. I understood why we have religion and how it was once a necessary evil that helped people try to explain the unexplainable in the only way they knew, but that it was never real or true. Now though, we know how the sun rises and how earthquakes occur, I am still in awe at how religion is still so important in our society, and continues. Money and power perhaps.

I met my husband my last year of school. We met at a birthday party for a mutual friend. We had nothing in common, except we cared for each other. There were two things I had to be clear with him from the beginning if ours was a relationship that would work, I was an atheist and wouldn’t change that, and I didn’t want children and wouldn’t change that either, so if he had a problem with either of those he was barking up the wrong tree.

We got married in April 1996. It was important to him to get married in the Catholic Church (because it was important to his parents). I could pretend; (um, hello, theater major). Since I had once been baptized in the church it was pretty easy, surviving the weekend long marriage retreat at the nunnery was not. It involved a lot of eye rolling and tongue biting.

Then came the wedding. Every god promise that was made had my girlfriends in my line giggling; I still think I owe them for that.

Sometime after that I told my family what I was. I didn’t sit them down or anything, it just kind of “came up”. My grandmother still thinks that it isn’t possible to be an atheist because “everyone believes in god” and my grandfather is in denial. My mom doesn’t really give a rat’s ass. It just isn’t worth arguing about with them.

I am like most atheists I know, in person and online, we are good people. We pay our taxes, we take care of our families, we donate to charity and we do these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen. Oh no wait, sorry Mormon Church flash back for a moment. We do these things not from fear of a deity that isn’t really there, or because if we don’t, Santa won’t come and give us presents. We do them because it is good for society, and it is good for ourselves. Our lives like any other can be snuffed out in a moment. We know there isn’t anything else, so we have to make this time great.


Poodles said...

Thank you.

American Scot said...

Sweet! We are now both COG alumni!

Poodles said...

When I saw your story AS it inspired me to get of my lazy typing butt and post my own.

badiane said...

I have been stating that we are all born atheist and have tried to get people to understand it, but to no avail. You are the first person I have heard this from other than myself. It's so elemental as far a thought goes but because people often confuse the conclusion, or the manner in which something appears within a context, for the premise they interpret it improperly. We are all born atheist. It's a state of being not a belief.