I was born a Christian, at home only my maternal grand parents, who raised me, sometimes went to church. My grand mother had a bible to foresee the future. My grandfather looked sanctimonious in church; he would stand up, look up and spread his arms wide as if being anointed by divine forces.
I think he was praying for the almighty to grant him wishes that never came. He probably found more comfort cajoling his bottle of wine or having me around.
Most of my learning was in catholic schools, Saint Francois-Xavier and Saint Sulpice in Paris.
I even had few monks as teachers. That’s correct with hooded brown robe and sandals. Almost like the monks on box of camembert or nice liquor bottle.
I follow all schools required religious directives. I weekly went, and so all my class, to solemnly spew out sins which I never committed.
I invented sins not to make the priest hiding behind the curtain useless. The sentence was always to recite a couple of prayers to salvage my soul. It does not matter your age but kneeling benches are painful to the knees.
I did a stunt as an altar boy, once and only once, it was pure chaos but discovered that the wine in the chalice comes from a bottle and that you can get high on it. The ostie, wafer thin bread, is from a bakery.
When I finished school and free of this bondage, I visited churches only for their history, architectural marvels, and decorations. Notre Dame has the best story and still wonders how Quasimodo (the hunchback of Notre Dame), with his big frame, could swing on the gargoyles and move up and down the narrow stairways.
I totally cut off ties with all religious rituals. For the next 35 years I remember stepping into a church once for a wedding and Christmas and twice for funerals.
Much latter, thinking that maybe I have an impenetrable and defective soul; I changed my religion and became a Baha’i. I signed a small piece of paper to show commitment and learned new rituals. The almighty filled with great joy all the people around but always avoided me.
He never enlighten me and even though I was soul-searching the secret, he left me with absolutely no feelings and love for our creator but I had a good time socializing with the members.
I do not like fasting and alcohol is prohibited and as a Frenchman it is difficult to stop drinking wine. Anyway, not being much of a group person and tired of looking stupid singing cute songs of praise, I gave up.
After many years of religious sabbatical, and at the insistence of a believer, I tried religion again. I choose a Christian church and faithfully, every Sunday, went for about two months.
My interest was how much money the people sitting around me would put in the tithe and the sermon of the day. It always seemed that I put more money than the others and the sermons were too long and mostly blah, blah, blah … duh!
My conclusion is that priest talk about what you want to hear but not about what you want to know. Also, I wish they had a question answer session but it never happened. It really must be a calling to go into this profession. I understand that some make a good living at it.
Then, one Sunday morning, I sat in my garden and during an illuminated moment decided to speak my truth. It did not matter how much religion hammered me with its nails, I never felt uplifted and I feel nothing. Consequently, a good-bye was long overdue and in order.
I do not understand what being re-born means or the compulsory obligation which people have to feel guilt when not attending their services. I don’t understand faith healing, speaking in tongues or living life according to rules in holy books written centuries ago and played by actors long dead.
Worst, I don’t understand the little patience religious people have with me when asking questions hitting at their cognitive dissonance. Like why not use condoms for protection against AIDS, why gays are not people too, why good is white and evil black and why prophets are prepuce haters and do not like to see penis protected by foreskin.
So yes, I have no religion. When I do good, I feel good and when I do bad, I feel horrible and try my best to excuse myself to the person I wronged. Nothing else!
- Resources | World Religions (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)