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11/18/07                                                                                       View Comments

I am a spiritual atheist

Sent in by Jennifer

When I was three, my mom placed a brass crucifix in my room. I had no idea what it was at that time, but I was petrified by it.

It was the scariest thing I had ever seen at that point in my life.

I was forced to attended Catholic school until I was eleven. I remember being in church at the age of 6 and thinking that something just wasn’t right. I thought everyone looked as if they were in a trance when reciting the Apostle’s Creed.

It was scary.

I also thought that the whole drinking the blood and eating the body was so ritualistic and creepy.

I knew even at this young age, that my only “church,” was outside. When I was a teenager I was drawn to Wicca, but eventually stopped practicing that because I just could not believe that there were invisible people in the sky. Instead, I believed in an energy that resides within us all. I never knew there was a name for what I was, but I recently found out that I have always been a Pantheist. Pantheism is a spiritual form of atheism.

Until a few months ago, I thought atheists didn’t believe in anything. The word atheist has a lot of stigma attached to it for me.

I remember when I first met my husband, I asked him if he believed in God. I told him I couldn’t marry an atheist. He told me that he wasn’t one, but didn’t elaborate. For years, I described the energy I believed in as “God”, only realizing recently that when most people say “God” they are referring to an invisible man in the sky. When I realized that, I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of. I asked my husband how people could actually believe that. He laughed and told me that the first time I had said the word God he thought that was what I believed. He said after getting to know me, he realized I was an atheist in disguise. He never told me because he knew it would have upset me at the time.

Now I have realized that I am a spiritual atheist, agnostic at best. The agnostic part of me fears, “What if Catholicism is right?” “What if there is a hell?” I am going to burn forever because I don’t believe? My heart skips a beat if I refer to myself as an atheist, just because of the stigma that used to be attached to it.

Most of the time I refer to myself as a Pantheist, but I am having trouble with the realization of what I have always been really means. I have had a spiritual “unawakening” or awakening depending on who is looking.

My poetry is immersed with my realizations, and my thoughts are tortured with my past. I feel like being forced into religion at a young age is virtually child abuse, and a severe form of brainwashing. Because I am an artist, I think of the meaning of life more than I should, and my fear of hell has not gone away. I also have extreme bouts of guilt. My family is devoutly Catholic. They are some of the meanest, cruelest people I know, and I need to rid myself of toxic people; yet I feel obligated and guilty. I’m sick of feeling guilty all the time, and need to heal from the past. I was so happy when I found this website, it definitely helps to see that there are others that feel the same way. Thank you so much!