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I'm agnostic. I think. I used to think I was atheistic, but I'm… - Happy's Obsession
or what I do between bouts of Real Life

I'm agnostic. I think. I used to think I was atheistic, but I'm not sure now. I'll talk about my beliefs (or lack thereof) later, but I think it stems from being raised in many different churches.

From birth to about 10, I was raised in the Christian Scientist church. You know, the people with the "Reading Rooms" (which I always feel drawn to) and the lack of belief in medical treatment. Of course, they think that God is doing what he wants with you... that's why you have whatever you do. No medicine, no transfusions... just go with the flow (medically).

My great-grandmother died when I was about 3. She was the matriarch of our family (her daughter picked up the mantle). She had thyroid cancer... but refused treatment for years, because "her God was doing His Will." She died at around 83, and they were surprised she'd lived that long. It eventually chocked her to death. She had a "practitioner" she called regularly, as did my grandmother. (To read more about their feeling about homosexuality, click here.

A few years later, the family left the church. We were religiously adrift. My mother drifted into the nearest church (Lutheran), and I enjoyed nearly 2 years there in the youth group, mostly because of the socialization. It was a smaller church, and I felt welcome and, more importantly, needed. There were about 10-20 people in each class. But it was like a rebound relationship.

The next church was the big Baptist church (in the "good part of town"). Mother (and Grammy) were worried about their progeny's (i.e. - my) chances with the hoity-toity, so they enrolled me in the new Sunday school. And it was pretty good. Classes were big, but they involved everyone. I felt involved when I wanted to be, and left alone when necessary. They had summer Bible camps, and winter ones, too. And personable, friendly teachers. In fact, one of the Reverand's son's was... flamboyant. He was married, but he ran the choir and the music for church.... yep. He was gay, it came out eventually. But that's not the reason my mother left that church. She was willing to forgive Reverant Whittaker for that (he couldn't really control his kids, anyway... who could? She couldn't fully control me...)

We left because he'd been accused of sleeping with some of the divorced women he was councilling. More than one. I think more than 5, but I could be wrong. And my mother couldn't forgive that.

So she switched us to the big Baptist church in the next town. They held the high school class in a basketball court, it was too big. Over 50 kids in the high school group, and probably over 75. I felt lost, unimportant, adrift...

After a few years (or maybe less), I insisted on sleeping in on Sunday. Vociferously, even.

I visited a few other churches afterwards...

Spent a few Sundays in a Spanish-speaking Pentacostal church in Fresno, CA - with a (soon-to-be abusive boyfriend) - it was crazy - speaking in tongues, dancing, shaking hands it the air... got rid of the evil boy (and with him, the church)...

Went to the Quaker church in Berkeley when I was going to grad school. It was intersting, but all the other people joining when we were were... kind of street people. And I didn't feel comfortable.

When I moved to Washington, I attended the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tacoma. I really liked the service, their creed, the way they cared for the community and their children...

... but I'm a lazy sod, and prefer to lie in bed on Sunday, which is usually my only (or first) day off. Kind of like if you M-F people had to go to church early on Saturday. Or what you Seventh Day Adventist's do.

BTW - I also attended the 7th Day Adventist church for a while as a child with my paternal grandmother. As my paternal grandfather was dying of Parkinson's disease, he latched onto it as a possible way to live longer.

And my step-sister & step-brother (and their families) are Jehovah's Witnesses.

And my half-sister used to be pagan, but now believes in Buddha.

So is it any wonder I'm agnostic?
9 Voices or Sing to Me
darksylvia From: darksylvia Date: July 26th, 2005 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a pretty staunch atheist, but I think this is because I didn't grow up with religion at all, so I don't have any space for it anywhere inside me. It's completely superfluous to my life.

Though I do like Buddhism, just because it's not an actual religion if you practice it right. It's more like a way of life. If I was going to follow anything spiritual, that would be it. Buddha was a smart guy and he had some sophisticated ideas. I'm not disciplined enough to go for it, though.

And religion limits too many of the ideas I have. I'm not good at cementing things and closing off one whole world of thoughts just because a really old book, or a prophet tells me to :)
qafhappy From: qafhappy Date: July 26th, 2005 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I bought this book, once. Don't remember the name, but it was kind of like a test. You answered many, many questions about your beliefs. Scored it up.. and came up with the religion that most matched your beliefs.

I was almost equally distributed between the Unitarians & the Buddhists.

Intersesting, but true. If I ever find where the hell I put that book, I might send it on to my friends. It's truly fascinating... to put your beliefs out there, and see where you fall... I never knew!

(of course, neither was 100% - as is life, everything is gray)
darksylvia From: darksylvia Date: July 26th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
You should remember that book. I've taken various online quizzes and I'm always either an Atheist or a Unitarian. Which makes sense, considering that the Unitarian church is the only one I've attended because I wanted to, not because one of my friends was trying to "save" me :D
qafhappy From: qafhappy Date: July 26th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I always said I was an athiest (because I believe that you are born, you die, and it's over)... but I think I might be a bit more agnostic, because of my "big pot o'energy" hypothesis...

Honestly. I would love to find where I fit in, but I think everyone has to determine and make their own way in life. Figure out what you believe, what you need... and follow through.

That's the part I'm not good on - the follow through. Except for a couple of occasions in my life.
darksylvia From: darksylvia Date: July 26th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eh, I think you can be an atheist and still have ideas about the after life. I'm pretty sure it's over when you die, too, but I like to speculate on different theories, too :D
qafhappy From: qafhappy Date: July 27th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I know it's over when you die, I just think that your energy recycles to the Cosmic kettle, where it is mixed with everything else and doled out into new & interesting things.
darksylvia From: darksylvia Date: July 27th, 2005 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I've heard theories and variations of that, too. I like that idea.
hygher From: hygher Date: July 26th, 2005 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm Lutheran...kinda. Some of the stuff I believe and some of it I don't. I've never had a problem with Homosexuality even when I was little. It's weird but I'm really glad about it.
scheisse_adc From: scheisse_adc Date: July 26th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
i wrote this big long rambly comment, but then (thank goodness!) i paused to read it through before clicking "post comment," and i realized that it basically boils down to this:

"yay for UU churches!" (even though i am a bit hesitant about actually considering myself a UU, or really anything other than agnostic...)

so... um... yeah. in some ways, your "religious upbringing" sounds a little like mine, except mine involved a huge irish catholic clan on one side and a bunch of crazy jews on the other playing tug of war.

/end incoherency.
9 Voices or Sing to Me