I grew up thinking something was wrong with me. My family has lived in Northwest Ohio since before the Civil War and yet I’ve never felt like I fit in here. My feelings towards religion have always been a glaring difference between me and other people in the area; however, this difference was more painful and destructive in my childhood. Everyone else was obviously seeing something I couldn’t. No one wants to be different as a kid, so I kept my thoughts to myself. (Although, that changed when I was a teenager.)
Skepticism as a Child
It seems like many question the existence of god as an adult, but did any of you question as a child? I have always been skeptical but then again I didn’t have much religious influence from my immediate family growing up. I felt pressure from classmates and their families.
The Struggle of Questioning in Secret
I would go to church with friends and try to “force” myself to believe. My fellow churchgoers were probably unaware of my inner turmoil, but now as an adult, I wonder how many of them were in the same boat. There are more of us than we know. This thought inspired a recent poem of mine:
Stuck in the Closet
There are crowds of atheists
cloaked in the long shadows of steeples –
even more than we know.
They swallow the truth
Because they think they have to,
Because maybe they were raised that way.
One, two, ten years
In a dark closet –
Their thoughts echo in the loneliness.
They secretly question as
A tortured mind now liberated
But another voice suppressed.
But even more angry.
I know that innermost turmoil.
Let that anger fuel progress –
A passionate fire that lights the way.
The most liberated life is an honest one.
How common is Skepticism?
Humans are curious creatures and skepticism seems natural. You would think questioning god would be a normal part of growing up. It’s unfortunate that feeling skeptical at any age can be a painful experience – no matter how common it really is.
I wish I had the ability to tell everyone that has secretly questioned (including my younger self) that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him or her. Imagine how powerful that would be.
Did any of you have a time where you were questioning god in secret? Has being skeptical ever been a painful experience?