Friday, July 10, 2009

"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." - Patti Smith

I don't think I should have to wear atheism like a scarlet letter. Until recently (a year or so ago, perhaps), I told everyone I didn't know what I believed in, when the truth is that I don't believe in anything at all.

My dad was raised Catholic. My maternal grandmother is a born-again Christian. Neither of my parents connected with their parents' respective religious views, and because it was such a touchy topic for everyone, they decided to raise their kids (Paige, me) without a religion.

I'm an atheist. But the first time I said that out loud, my mother freaked out, even though in raising my sister and me without a religion, her goal was to give us a chance to make up our own minds. And I've made up my mind. I want no part of it.

When I was sixteen or so, I spent several months attending all sorts of church services, just to satiate my own curiosity about all the ideologies out there. My mother did not approve, and warned me not to let myself be brainwashed the way her mother had been.

So it's weird. Organized religion scares my mother just as much as it scares me. But she's ashamed of what she doesn't believe in, perhaps because it isn't "socially acceptable."

I refuse to be ashamed of it.

I respect your belief in something greater than this. In return, I expect you to respect my lack of it.

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