LOSING MY RELIGION
Ironically it was my father's memorial service that sparked the turning point for me in my process of losing my religion. For the first time I started to think about my religion. For the first time I started to question my God and for the first time I started questioning the existance of an immortal soul.
I started to do research about the subject. I read books on evolution, which I never have done before. I was interested not only in what astrophysicists had to say, but i also wanted to know what the field of neuro biology could teach me.
I studied the origins and early years of my christian religion and how it developed into the various factions to what it is today. I not only questioned my own religion, I also started to study other religions. I became interested in what the Muslims believe - what Islam teaches and what is written in the Quaran. I wondered why the jews believe that they are the only chosen people of the one and only true god.
I had questions that could not be answered by the Church and when they did not have the answers to my questions, they washed their hands in innoscence and left me with "the peace of God." So, after serving my God, my religion and my church for almost 50 years, I suddenly was seen as an outcast - not welcome in the fold anymore.
The answer that I got from my research were not what i hoped to find. The answers put me in another emotional roller coaster ride. The loss of my relgion was almost just as grievious as the loss of my father was.
I realised that there is no such thing as a personal, supernatural, theistic god and that we do not have or are not physical, immortal souls. We are just as a part of the circle of life as any other living thing on this planet.
I realised that my father is gone forever. He is not waiting for me somewhere where we can be re-united some day and live happily together ever after. All that is left of him is the jar of ashes which remained after his cremation. This will also be taken up by the earth when my mother decide where to place it.
Losing one's religion is not an easy process. Just to start the process is extremely difficult. The problem is that we are so indoctrinated that we dare not question our faith we dare not question the concept of God we have in our minds. Many of us do not have the confidence in our faith even to enter into a discussion about the authentisity of our God. As children we were so brainwashed by religion that it is difficult to think outside religion. It is mind-boggling that even intelligent, educated people can not think outside the box when it comes to religion. Even after accepting all the facts against religion we are brainwashed to believe that, yet, there must be a god and I must be in some mythical way be so special that I am above the "circle of life" and immortal.
After all: a believer has much to lose when he loses his religion- he will lose his salvation of his soul! He will lose immortality. He will lose his reward of living happily for ever. He will also run the risk of landing in hell for an eternity. This is much to ask from a believer. The risk / benefit relation will be much in favour of clinging to one's faith.
But if you are a believer: a Christian, Muslim, Jew or partaker of any other religion, you should reconsider your religion because you will never be free whilst in religion. You may think you are free, but you really are not. You may think that you chose religion out of your own free will, but you did not. Religion was forced on you as a child. Even if you converted from one religion to another as an adult, you still made that decision courtesy of seeds planted in you when you were a child.
You need to undergo the process of losing your religion because if you don't, you will continue to contribute to the devision of the people of this world into christians, Muslims, Jews etc., opposing each other. You will continue sponsoring some evangelist's or preacher's mansions and luxury cars. You will continue upholding institutions which officials on an ongoing basis rape and scar young boys for life. You will be part of those who fly into buildings killing thousands of innocent people. You will share in the guilt of sending children with bombs around their waists to kill infidels. You will continue assisting in the degradading of women. You will continue in assisting to promote homofobia. You will continue to settle in other's living space only because you think you are some fictional deity's chosen people. You will continue to contribute to global tension, wars, terrorism and violence. And you will continue assisting in the brainwashing and enslaving of children into the prison of religion.
The process of losing your religion might be painful, but if you have the confidence and self-worth to start this journey, it certainly will be worthwhile. You will be freed from the bondage of religion. You will be freed from responsibility of performing worthless religious rituals. You will be freed from guilt, shame and fear of dissappointing some non-existing deity when acting outside certain prescribed rules. You will even contribute to world peace, because if there are no us and them, there will be a lot less friction in the world. And in many cases you will be freed from staying in the closet and from enduring the suffering of listening to irrational rants every sunday and then even pretend that you actualy believe the stuff that religion are telling you. You will contribute to progress because religion is still a huge stumbling block in scientific progress.
And you don't need to worry about losing your morals when you drop religion. You will find that religion is not the source of your moral values. If you are a good person now, you will still be a good person as a non-believer. Your children will still have high moral values, because they saw the example you have shown them in all the years they grew up, unlike many christian/muslim/jewish children who witness their drunken fathers beat up their mothers.
Another important realisation for me at my father's death was that I did not need religion for bereafment to console my pain of losing my father. Without religion I could rationally process my loss. The knowledge that the ripple-effect my father left within me and as a result in my children caused us to live better lives, which, if I could succeed to emulate, makes it all worth while. A short, mortal live can indeed be celebrated!
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