I almost forgot to mark this, as anniversaries don’t really mean much to me, but it was December 25th, 2007 when I finally ‘came out’ to myself as an atheist. I had been a de facto atheist for a few years before that, but it was during Christmas mass, seated next to my still-Catholic parents, that I finally turned that corner in my mind and said that, in all likelihood, there were no gods.
I’ve talked about this in greater detail previously.
I still attend Christmas mass with my family – an event that fills me with dread in the weeks leading up to it, and angry nausea for the 90 or so minutes I am actually forced to sit in a church without the option of saying the word “bullshit”. Every time I attend is worse than the last. The latest assault to the sensibility was the new hyper-cultish language in the Catholic service. That, coupled with the homily (“do you allow God to be bigger than yourself? Can you live a God-centred life?”) raised every skeptical hackle I possess – I definitely pulled my David Silverman face more than once:
It is, I suppose, a sign that the skeptical arguments are persuasive – I cannot participate in, or even be present for, a Christian worship service without seeing a brainwashing death cult. It casts an appalling light on the earnestness and gaiety with which young people participate in the readings and hymns; my mind immediately bemoans that fact that this energy and enthusiasm is being wasted in the service of an imaginary friend. Imagine if that hour spent verbally jerking Yahweh off (in the hope of being splashed with a droplet of his divine spunk after we face our own ‘happy ending’), was instead spent by every person in that church doing something nice for a friend or neighbour – what a Christmas that would be!
If there is any similarity between theist paradise and church worship, YahwAlladdha could not devise a better hell for me than sending me to heaven – I can’t help but imagine that this is indeed “a boot stamping on a human face – forever”. Now that I am free of these obligations (my annual Christmas attendance notwithstanding), I revel in and savour my atheism as it has put me securely in the driver’s seat of my own life, free of the cloying spectre of clergical busybodies attempting to insert their cold fingers into every private inch of my thoughts.
I am now the maximum number of days away from having to go back to church that I will be for the whole year. That is a tiding that brings me both comfort and joy. Hoping that this day, and all the ones to come, are merry and bright.
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