I never had much of a relationship with God. From a young age, I distanced myself from the whole organization, the practices, the praying, everything. As a kid, I simply couldn’t be bothered, and really still can’t. Though my reasoning became clearer as I got older, I never once turned back to God or religion once I decided in the fourth grade to be done with it. Religion, like sports, never struck a chord with me.
My family isn’t especially religious. My grandmothers on both sides were devout, but luckily left the decision up to my parents as to whether or not their kids would be churchgoing Christians or not. To their great credit, my parents never pushed religion on myself or my sister. I’m not sure where my sister stands on the subject, but I turned my back on God and haven’t regretted it once. My parents’ lackadaisical attitude towards religion and their children’s faith proved invaluable intellectually. Had they taken the other road and forced us into religion, I’m not sure what would’ve become of my sister or myself. My guess is we’d be a lot less fun, but I’m projecting.
Perhaps because of obligation or perhaps because of tradition, I received communion in the second grade. For me, it was a reason to wear a suit and have a party. To this day, I find any excuse I can to wear a suit; I look good in them. I didn’t quite understand what a communion meant, nor did I believe or listen to much of anything leading up to the communion. I didn’t think the cracker (host) was Christ’s body, and I definitely didn’t think the wine was his blood – it was just gross grape stuff. As it turns out, that gross grape stuff would become a big part of my life later on, but I digress. I received communion, but didn’t know what it meant. To evidence this, somewhere there exists a picture of me walking down the aisle of the church with my hands in a V-shape instead of prayer position.
Communion marked the end of my going to church and being a member of a congregation. I still don’t quite know why, but my family stopped going to church after that. My guess is that it was general apathy. My sister and I received communion, and my parents’ job was done as far as religion went; their parents couldn’t give them shit on the God-front. If we wanted to continue, we could have. Two years later when I was in the fourth grade, I severed my ties with God. There wasn’t any profound reasoning at the time, but I simply couldn’t care less about God. I remember being in my elementary school gym and talking to my friend Noel about it at the time. He was on the same page. I didn’t have as many intellectual objections about religion then as I do now, I just couldn’t be bothered. My parents weren’t bothered by my choice, it’s not like it made a difference in my behavior. Coincidentally, I got way into Ozzy Osbourne a year later, but that had nothing to do with leaving the church.
My grandmother on my father’s side said grace before holiday meals, but I just put my head down and waited until I could eat. For each of my grandmothers’ funerals respectively, I declined to get up and receive communion or whatever is done at funerals, presumably some sort of grief-stricken high-five. I wasn’t making a statement, I just thought it disingenuous to take part in something I didn’t believe in at all. I’m not the kind of person to make empty gestures or statements, I need to believe them. This sentiment had a huge part in my leaving music, I no longer believed in what I was doing with the band.
Once I got older, I began to firm up my thoughts about religion and my life without it. I knew that I didn’t need it to be a good person, that claims of religion being the source of morality were objectively false. I had done fine without knowing the commandments. I’m kind to people and I empathize as much as humanly possible. I’m a bleeding heart that bleeds for everyone. The rest of Christianity’s rules were irrelevant to me. Some of them were completely arbitrary and silly like “no meat on Fridays” and something else about hats – the point is, they’re hollow and meaningless. The more foundational rules were the ones I had and continue to have trouble with. The fact that my uncle and his husband’s relationship wasn’t supported by the church is more than enough for me to eschew the church entirely. That, to me, is unforgiveable. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, I have many more issues with religion, but those aren’t the subject here.
Heaven doesn’t interest me either. I do not care what happens after I die. I do however care that my funeral ceremony is non-religious and that I’m cremated, not buried. Cemeteries are a waste of valuable land. Once again, I digress. Heaven isn’t my end goal; I can only be kind while I’m here. In high school, I went as Jesus Christ for Halloween using a wig, a bathrobe stolen from the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and a red bath towel as a sash. This did not sit well with my grandmother on my dad’s side, but I meant nothing by it. I did and still do find Jesus ripe for parody.
Quite simply, leaving religion wasn’t much of a big deal for me. I was never really in it. Later on, when I read the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, my apathy toward religion turned to intellectual opposition. I’m not a militant atheist, and I will never try to talk anyone out of their religion. I’m actually more agnostic than anything, I don’t know anything for sure, and nor do you. However, for me, religion held no value. I knew what I had to do to be a good person, I knew how to relate to people and be genuine without the shared faith bond. I would say life is better without God, but I never really knew life with God.