I am writing this post purely to make sense of my own feelings on the subject of religion.
I have been wondering whether to write this post for a few weeks and thought it was high time, I sat down and got on with it. Those of you that know me, will wonder about the title, because I’m not really very religious at all. For many years I did consider myself a Christian, admittedly not a practicing one. Over the last few years however I would put myself firmly in the atheist camp and perplexingly, I’m still slightly at odds with that.
Even though I haven’t always practiced Christianity, it has been a part of my life, for a long time. I went to a fairly religious school, there was a chapel in the school grounds and attendance was compulsory once a week. This escalated to every day, during the sixth form. We always celebrated the feast of St Katharine and after mass the rest of the day was filled with fun activities. It was also a day away from lessons; rather annoyingly St Helen had her feast day during the school holidays.
When I was thirteen my parents moved to a small village in South Oxfordshire and as a means of joining the community, started attending church every Sunday. My sisters and I happily attended children’s church, which was basically Sunday school. Not only did you get to leave church, before the rather tedious sermon from the Vicar, it was always a lot of fun. Best of all, to a teenage girl, there were teenage boys also in attendance! So even when I was a practicing Christian, it was not necessarily always for the right reason.
Although I was annoyed that Divinity was a compulsory G.C.S.E. at my school and I was easily bored during church services, for me Christianity was a relatively benign part of my life. Until of course I grew up and started realising that my own beliefs were very different from those espoused by the bible. This is when Christianity and I parted ways.
This post is entirely my own viewpoint and I don’t wish to offend anyone with my interpretation of this religion. I also firmly belief, everyone is entitled to believe in whatever or whomever they choose. So I won’t be too specific with my disenchantment; but suffice to say I could no longer believe in a religion, that is both largely anti gay and misogynistic. I also found it hard to believe that there was a God, when many unspeakable acts of evil were occurring in our world, every single day.
That said, Christianity continued to be a part of my life for a while longer, my Father became Vesturer of Canterbury Cathedral and I even attended an Easter service there. Mainly to watch my Dad, but it was still a relatively enjoyable morning.
When my little sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found myself writing letters to people I thought might be able to give her good advice. I was lucky enough to receive a reply from Carly Simon, a fellow sufferer, which was thrilling. I was equally chuffed to receive a letter, from my favourite teacher at school. I had written to her because she no longer taught history, but had taken her vows and was now a Nun. In retrospect this seems a little hypocritical, was I hopeful that she might put in a good word with ‘the big guy upstairs,’ for my sister? Even though I had started to turn my back on Christianity, was I now reaching out in my hour of need?
This is why I’m confused, why am I sad to completely sever ties with a religion that has played a small but significant role in my life and yet I can’t share many of the philosophies preached? Am I clasping at straws just in case I’m wrong and there really is a God? Or is it just that I miss the sense of having a faith to cling on too, when times are tough?
I think maybe I would like a faith to believe in, preferably one that doesn’t start any wars. I could quite happily pay my dues to a Goddess who believed in world peace, sexual and racial harmony and a big old glass of wine at communion, instead of one measly sip. Chocolate cake could replace those rather tasteless communion wafers too. Sadly I think I may have to start my own. The cult of Naomi anyone? Ha ha.