Sunday, April 6, 2008

The secret downsides to religion no one admits to

The following is quoted from a personal narrative of a person who I say was wounded by organized religion. Two factors are relevent: organized religion plants the concept that human life has a transcendent purpose that one can only understand via religion. So even in this case the person escaped the yoke of Catholocism he was still compelled to search for something to assuage his need for transcendental answers. Admittedly, this is not how he describes his search, but this is at bottom the hole he was trying to fill. "I need (sic) some faith...didn't I". Secondly religion often creates friction between family members who are at odds about religion. This man is fortunate his wife is in agreement, but he knows he has to face his other family members with the truth of his status and he knows this is going to be unpleasant. In many ways, he is faced with the same dilemma a gay person is faced with when their family members are say very conservative.

After college I still went to church in Columbia, South Carolina. I wasn't very comfortable with the more conservative church there. A priest in a homily once referred to NPR as "National Communist Radio". I didn't like the fundamentalization of the Catholic Church, so I went less and less.

I then began looking around at other faiths. I read Taoist and Buddhist literature. I attended a UU service a couple of times and even visited a Zen Buddhist temple. I began meditating and did some Tai Chi. I liked a lot of it, but it wasn't really right for me. But, I need some faith...didn't I?

Last spring I began reading a lot of the atheist bloggers over at ScienceBlogs. Pharyngula and Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge
stick out the most in mind. At first the outspoken atheism rankled me quite a bit. I really liked their writing in general, though. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that atheism was a real option. I started thinking "Why not?", and it short order I had accepted that I was an atheist. It was months later that my wife and I really talked about the issue. Apparently she had gone through a similar crisis of faith, and had given up on God soon after I had. It was a great discussion. I still haven't talked to my family about it. I don't know how they will react, but I am not looking forward to it. The conversation has to happen soon, though.

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