Tag Archives: Atheism

Catholicism May Save Me in the End

By McKenzie James

Some of my friends have been worried about me of late.  I appear to be in a depression that is deeper and has gone on longer than I’ve experienced in the past.  It is true that I’m not my usual optimistic self and that anti-depressants are not working their magic.

Part of the explanation is that things in my life really are at a low point right now.  I have financial difficulties, my best friend in the area is very ill, I am going to have to move again, I’ve been robbed, my heart’s been broken, my job is particularly stressful, winter’s here suck and the holidays bring their usual reminder of just how dysfunctional my family really is.  All of these are things I’ve experienced and gotten through before but never in such abundance at the same time.

I remember a colleague telling me years ago that depression is simply anger turned in on oneself.  I never quite understood it before but lately, thinking about what’s taking place in my life right now, I think I finally get it.  I really am angry at myself for the position I find myself in.  Other than my friend’s illness, and the weather, I can’t seem to find anyone, or anything, to blame any of it on other than myself.

I am the one who made the decisions that got me exactly where I am today.  I chose to move back to Weird Town, I chose to accept my current job, I have obviously not handled my finances very well (which is especially embarrassing for someone whose spent a lifetime working in Finance and Accounting), I am the one who didn’t double-check whether or not the garage door was working when the weather changed (thereby allowing my burglars to walk right in), and although my lover did treat me badly I’m the one who let him come back into my life after breaking my heart the first time and gave him the opportunity to do it again.

All this said, I want to assure all my friends and loved ones who have been calling to check in on me, that no matter how bad life gets I’m grateful for each and every one of you and I would never take my own life (which I know is what you are all really worried about even though you don’t come right out and say it).

It’s simple: regardless of how hellish my life here on earth becomes being raised Catholic has left me with such an insurmountable fear of the afterlife that I will gladly suffer here forever rather than move on.  Intellectually I know that once we die we simply return to the earth and our energy disburses, but emotionally Catholicism has left me with a fear of the burning hell fires that I can’t get over.

Every time I think perhaps life is not all it’s cracked up to be I am reminded of the alternative and I’m fighting to stay alive with a willpower few can surpass.  For I know, having been a hellion and rebel most of my life, that I am not likely to find myself lulling around on a bed of clouds playing harp music and eating chocolates.  Oh no, if I’m wrong about my atheism I will find myself in burning fires being prodded with a pitchfork every few moments to remind myself of just how much fun I had in my youth.  So friends, never fear, I’m here for the duration however long that may be and I’ll be fighting to remain here on this good earth with my last dying breath.


Conversations with God

Conversations with God

I don’t believe in God.  I’ve tried and I just can’t get there.  It is, I imagine, a leap of faith that is too great for me.  I find it hard enough to trust humans so it makes sense I can’t leap far enough to trust something that I’ve never seen.  I do believe there are powers greater than ourselves at work in the Universe.  Whether they are simply nature or group consciousness, I don’t know.

I am drawn to the idea of a God and his angels in the same way I’m drawn to myths and fairy tales.  I would like them to be true, and I love the stories, but I don’t actually believe.  I do believe that the forces of good and evil exist and it would sure be nice to think there was some particular power fighting for good in the universe.

I truly wish I could believe in the God of others because I would like to believe there is a power to turn to when things get really bad.  For me, there’s no one in a heaven to pray to whom I believe will actually help me out of the current jam I find myself in or take the grief and pain away from the loss of a loved one.  For strength I rely on myself and the loving support of my friends.

I have said since I was young that if there is a God… SHE must be black.   A rebel since birth it always went against my grain that everyone just seems to take it for granted that the power of the universe would take the form of a white male.  (I’m sure I’m not the only young girl who grew up inside the Catholic culture and bridled against its male domination in a similar fashion.)

The truth is, however, whenever I think about God these days (which for a devout atheist is probably way more often than some would imagine) it’s always Morgan Freeman that I envision.  I know — it’s not even an original image.  Someone else figured it out already and cast him in the role, but he is who I see and hear even in my dreams.  For is there another voice anywhere that can make you feel so completely safe just hearing its timber?  His voice makes me feel as if I’m all wrapped up in a soft, cozy blanket and no harm can ever come to me.  And the soul you see behind those eyes appears so honest and true.  And he’s tall, and good looking, and strong, and calm and….oh shit…good thing I’m a non believer because I’m fairly certain that it would be a mortal sin to be sexually attracted to God!!!!  (Luckily, I don’t believe in hell either!)

Often I do wish “the powers that be”, as I call them, had a face on the planet.  Somewhere you could go to lodge your complaints and/or ask for forgiveness or sing their praises.  Sometimes it would just be nice to ask a question and know someone heard it.  So when I do have a question or two I want to pose I just have an imaginary conversation with my current god figure, Morgan Freeman.

I want to know, for instance, what happened with the whole male/female thing?  Were we meant to be a completely different species?  Or was it meant as a daily test of our communication skills or simply a joke on the universe?

And how can any parent walk away from a child?  Ever?  Or abuse one?  Why is every little child on the planet not safe and cared for?

How is it possible you can love someone with all your might and they don’t feel anything in return?

Why is it that habits are so hard to change and that the majority of people on the planet struggle with the same issues their entire lives without ever being able to master them?

How amazing is it that one tiny infant can melt a heart that’s had a wall built up around it for years?

That one night the moon appears to shine more brightly and more beautifully than ever before?

That one simple wild flower can make you smile and forget your troubles for a moment?

Why do we have to age and why is it that by the time you figure out the important things you’re too old for it to do you any good anymore?  Why are younger people unable to learn from your experience and forced to make their own mistakes?

Why is the strongest, smartest, most beautiful person you know the one who comes down with a painful, incurable disease?  Where’s the justice in that?

And, what’s up with the comb-over?  Do those men really think we won’t know they’re bald?  Do they think it’s actually attractive?

Why is one woman who is a horrible parent able to give birth to six children who all end up confused and emotionally abused and another, who would be a nurturing mother, left infertile?

In these conversations it really doesn’t matter what my god Morgan says in response.  Probably some platitude like, “Life is a journey and as with all journeys you will learn much along the way if you pay attention”.  What matters is that he says it in that deep, warm, comforting voice that makes me feel safe and I realize it’s okay that I don’t know all the answers.  Perhaps life is not meant to be completely understood, but simply lived. 


McKenzie James

July 10, 2011

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