The daily prompt asks us this to: describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time. And I actually remember this pretty clearly. See, believe it or not, I used to be a very devout Christian. I went to church on Sunday. I sang in the choir. I went to Bible study on Wednesdays. I loved the church. I loved the idea of eternal life. I never did get baptized though. It just never felt like the right time.
Then, ’round about fifteen or so, maybe sixteen… I checked out a book about angels from the library, and someone had scribbled arguments in the margins. At first I was horrified by the fact that someone had written in the margins. I mean, how could they! Write? in a book? and a library book no less? But of course, I got over, and now I write all over my books. I don’t write in library books like that person did, but maybe it was donated. I dunno. Anyway, the person who scribbled in that book wrote about the myths and legends of the Greeks and Romans and compared them to what they called “Christian mythology”. Again, I was horrified. Christian mythology??? How dare this person call my beliefs mythology? What the actual hell? That’s blasphemy! Had I that person near me, I would have given them what for.
Luckily they weren’t near me, and I had no idea who they were. After I had calmed down a bit, I got to thinking. Now, even before I read that book, I’d been a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology. I’d read many books about their pantheons and the myths surrounding them. And after that book, I was hooked again. Back then, we didn’t have the Internet, so my research was restricted to my local and school library, but I read everything I could about as many religions as I could. And not just the Greeks and Romans, but the ancient Egyptians, the Norse, the Celts, and pretty much any old religions I could find. Why? Because I realized something. These gods were just as real to those ancient people as my god was to me. And that, dear readers, was an epiphany. Because for all intents and purposes those gods are now gone. They are relegated to memories and we have nothing left of them other than the stories we tell as myths and legends. These were the gods that people build monuments for, the Parthenon, huge statues, majestic temples, and wonders of the world. Now they’re considered the stuff of fairy tales. It’s sad. I wondered what would stop my god from becoming a thing of myths? After all, he’s only been around for a couple of thousand of years. A minute in the lifetime of humans.
And I finally stopped naval gazing and looked around me to realize that Christianity wasn’t the only religion out there. I finally realized through my research that there were other religions alive and well today. Like Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam to name the big ones. I even babysat (remember, this was while I was a teenager) for a Buddhist. So I studied those too. I also realized that even within Christianity there were so many different factions, so many different ways of interpreting the same “truth”. I looked around me and saw that even within my own circle of friends I had people who considered themselves Christian but different flavors of Christian. Each and every one of them knew, just knew, that they were on the one true path to Heaven and everyone else was doomed to Hell — even Christians that weren’t their flavor of Christianity. It was then that I realized that everything I thought was true about my beliefs… wasn’t. How could it be when everyone I knew was telling me that they knew something different?
And thus ended my sojourn into Christianity. I wasn’t raised a Christian. My mother is actually an Atheist. I entered the Christian church as a teenager looking for something to believe in. I left the Christian church three years later because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around such a young god outlasting the Egyptian pantheon. My preacher told me to just have faith, but faith was something that I just didn’t have. Now I am Agnostic. Because of that book and the writing in the margins, I question everything. I read about everything and I just keep looking for answers. I don’t say that there isn’t a god, because I can’t say for sure that there isn’t… But I know in my heart that the Christian god is not the one. And it’s thanks to whomever wrote in the margins of that long forgotten book I read as a teenager.