Like most people, I haven’t truly known myself since the beginning of my memory. But it’s possible I suffer from some kind of terminal skepticism (because we’re all terminal if you think about it). I don’t believe many things I’m told, not without seeing the proof. But rather than suffering, I like to call it questioning. I’m free to inquire of this life without any fetters, without any limitations, without any fear.
I was raised in a religious house. I remember going to Sunday school at a southern baptist-type church. Then my family switched to another church – a mega-church – where the evangelists smiled pretty for the TV cameras while they compelled even their most impoverished congregants to hand over ten percent their welfare checks to do “God’s work” and admonish the evils of rock and roll while quoting rock bands in their sermons.
But I started on a path of truth quite early. It started with my realization of the hypocrisy of things, contradictions in the fundamental message of religion – starting with the books they so desperately cling to. When I got my first job, I used it as an excuse never to have to go to church again. I will be forever grateful to my mother for not making me go against my will (except a couple times).
I dabbled in other belief systems for a time after that. But I never really believed in them. I always had doubt. And when doubt turned into disgust – I got closer to the truth. When disgust turned into conviction – I found myself.
I am an atheist. I don’t believe in god. I don’t believe in the Christian god, the Islamic god, or the Buddhist god, or any other god. I’m not agnostic. I don’t “turn back to prayer” as a way to cope, as one person asked me. I don’t believe in souls. I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I don’t believe people “go” somewhere when they die.
We just die. That’s it. The body stops working, electronic signals cease, and that’s it. And it’s sad. (I sure don’t want to do it!)
But with doubt comes an insatiable questioning of what really makes the universe work. A questioning attitude is a beautiful thing. It opens doors to endless knowledge. And knowledge – in its own circuitous way – leads to happiness.
Now please excuse me while I reason my way to euphoria.