Man, that last post has me thinking about how religious institutions are so incredibly adept at making their belief system intrinsic to the core identity of their followers. THEY ARE SO GOOD AT THAT. It’s that whole Dunbar’s number/monkeysphere thing (“god knows and loves you personally! He…
See, it’s hard for someone like me (left by my Catholic/agnostic(?) parents to decide for myself, starting to decide around the age of 10 that it was all rubbish) to understand just how badly this sort of thing can affect people and how hard it is to work through and adjust to not having that support structure behind you any more, propping up your life and entire world-view. Plus religion is not a very major thing in this country, more a sort of annoyingly discordant background hum that you can mostly ignore. But I know that it’s a very different situation in North America.
I’m glad that you managed to sort it out for yourself in the end.
Thanks Taly. <3
Canada is actually far less religious than the rest of North America (only about half of us believe in god and way less than that are a part of any organized religion [Canadians aren’t very nationalistic but we are definitely brought together in a mutual pride that we are less fundamentalist and more liberal/socialist than our neighbors to the south]), but I was raised in a brand of Christianity that teeters juuust on the boundary between progressive and fundamentalist. My religion shaped every part of me. It was a pretty slow journey from theism to deism to agnosticism to atheism.
And you’re so right about religion being a support structure. Without it I was afraid shit would just fall apart and man, what do you even build on the spot that used to be your whole life? even if that life was full of helplessness and guilt and shame and never enough faith to trowel over the important questions it couldn’t answer? and then it was a lot of painful work to dismantle it and after that there were some really fun existential crises because I thought the alternative to believing in god was believing in nothing.
But of course, that was silly: I believe in logic and science and love and compassion and responsibility and sincerity.
And obviously I’d be kidding myself if I said I have it all figured out because man look around the universe is infinitely vast but that’s ok now because I get to choose my own standards of measurement. Now I get to decide what’s important in my life. I can say “fuck destiny” and take shit into my own hands. I can live as large or as small as I want to. I get to choose what the answer to the open question that is my brief existence is.