I have had a couple of moments in my life when I was very open to the idea of god and at the time I remember placing a great deal of concern over coincidental happenings and seeing this as a sign from god. Once I was thinking about a particular aspect of my life when a song was played on the radio that fit the exact subject and actually offered a solution but, of course the solution was god and “giving my life over to Jesus”. I should be happy with the simple things in life and rejoice in the glory of god (country music, gosh who’da thunkit?). Shortly after getting the inappropriate number of goose bump I freaked out for a while thinking god was watching and was trying to tell me something! I had not been following the rules! I better do as the song says; straighten up and fly right, before it’s too late!
A few days passed and I dismissed it for what it was; a conditioned response to coincident events, involving thoughts of a divine presents. After all I had been conditioned to believe in god, buy my mother and the church. My mother took me to a Baptist church for a while; I got the full on fire, brimstone damnation and eternal purgatory sermons shouted in the “top -o- the lung” style that some Baptist
churches are well known for. Imagine my horror when it was revealed to me; that the all merciful god had a special place reserved for the sole propose of torturing me for the rest of eternity! There didn’t seem to be any doubt in anyone’s mind that the son of a bitch would do it either! So I had to profess my undying love for this god that I’ve never seen, but was assured of his existence by all the people I trusted. I was still not certain that god was real. My sense of loyalty to the people around me was strong and I wanted to believe because they did. I later became convinced that the possibility of god was great. I even spoke to god in silence of course, to say I was sorry for some transgression or other (he never spoke back). I always wondered in the back of my head if god was really there. I remember getting into dialogue with myself, thinking things like; If god’s really there and can hear my thoughts, he will know that I have my doubts and I’m going to hell for not believing. It was enough to drive me nuts! I would get angry at god. If he would just make himself known, show himself in some substantial way. If he would just set himself apart from all the other deities’ people have believed in; I wouldn’t be having these insane conversations with myself. He gave me the brain that doubts him. He must know that I’m going to use it. It should be easy for him to make his presents known, why does he give me the power of reason and then demand that I abandon it and rely on blind faith? I got quite angry.
I later learn more about religions and their origins, psychology, philosophy, and science. I spoke to myself less often in regards to things that cannot be proven. I’ve come to the conclusion that I may never shed the effects of my childhood indoctrination. Although I was unable to shed my intellect and reason enough to make room for god and the promise of eternal life; I can’t help but feel better off. I still have those conversations with myself. They are mostly unapologetic and usually about new confirmations of an already atheistic view. It only just occurred to me that, I am a Bi-theist of sorts. I claim atheism yet have lingering doubts, as I have never been able to prove a negative.
I don’t blame my mother though; she was doing what she saw as normal and, she is a believer. She is a good person at heart and I hope her passing brings her great feelings of peace and heaven with the angles by her side when her time comes. It all sounds nice and I wish it were true but, everything I have ever learned and experienced has convinced me that it just isn’t.