I was raised in a secular family. About age eight my neighbor kid asked if I wanted to go to church with him. I accepted.
For a while there, I believed it all. I allowed myself to be "saved." In retrospect, I've felt the feelings of the "still small voice" and "the
call" before in the context of mass hysteria and mob manipulation. It was an emotional response in my opinion, not anything supernatural. I felt
something very similar during my days on the streets when I was involved with substances I can't talk about here.
About 9 months after joining that church (Episcopalian) I started to use my brain. I'd recently figured out Santa, et al., was a crock. I applied the
same reasoning to the church I was in and found it to be just as full of holes and nonsense. The fact that they were saying my mom was going to hell
for listening to top 40's music was one impetus out of there, and the other was my realization in Sunday School that the only real reason they could
give for believing in the unbelievable was that I'd go to hell if I didn't. The carrot and stick mentality did not impress me even at that tender
In high school I investigated the paranormal; witchcraft, etc. I read Crowley, La Vey, old tomes such as the Malleus Maleficarum. I read about herbs.
I used tarot and ouija boards. I scared the pee out of myself reading about demonology. This continued into my 20's. I took a ghost class run by the
local historian in my community college.
Then I hit the streets in the late 80's and lived homeless for a while, where the religious delusions of fellow substance abusers were turning into
psychosis. I even had a few psychotic episodes myself where I was convinced that I was tied to the "antichrist" which was an unfairly maligned
being, misunderstood and unappreciated. I "saw" ghosts and "saw" other layers of time. I also stayed awake for days on end and believe now that
these episodes of "sight" were caused by my dreaming mind overlapping my waking mind. Since I wasn't letting myself sleep and dream naturally, my
brain began dreaming awake, creating hallucinations based on common themes in the collective unconscious.
Upon comparing notes with others in my position, I realized that we were all having the same delusions with slight variations. I don't take that as
proof of a god being, but proof that our cultural basis affects us down to the very bedrock of our consciousness. We are programmed by the beliefs of
our culture as a larger whole.
When I left the streets, I went to a church here and a church there, to see if I could find anything. Unitarian, Catholic, Baptist, a few others. No
dice. There was nothing there, not even the suggestion of the "still small voice" brought back anything.
Then I joined friends of mine in shamanism, going to sweat lodge, Eagle Dance, and attending (but not participating in) a peyote ceremony.
I don't believe in a god. Or an afterlife. Critical thinking and logic precludes the existence of such. There is no empirical proof. Just what people
believe. When I was a little kid Santa Claus was real, I got presents from him on Christmas, which upheld my belief in him. But in the end the
presents were from my parents, and there wasn't really a Santa Claus.
There is even less proof of a god. The world is here, yes, but that doesn't mean some cosmic watchmaker built it in his garage on the weekends.
Life is complicated, mysterious and beautiful enough without cluttering it up with superstition. Superstition I might add, that has led to war,
genocide and subjugation of women and children for millennia.
I personally believe there is nothing more than this life we have now. And that life is all we are going to get. Make the most of it NOW. Do your good
works NOW. There is no reward or punishment for what you've done after you die, there is just the realization in this time and place of what kind of
people we are. I live an ethical life because it's the right thing to do, because everyone else has feelings and needs, just like I do, and their
feelings are as valid as my own. I try to live by the Golden Rule, just not in the religious sense.
I don't need a god to be good.
Except maybe for FSM.