Catholic turned Atheist

15
I don't believe in God. I don't believe that God exists.
I was a practicing Catholic for about 20 years. Now, I'm an Atheist.

I've been debating within myself whether I should write this post. Religion is a sensitive topic. I could get myself into the bad books of many. I run the risk of losing readers. And needless to say, if someone decides to convey my views on religion to my parents, I run the risk of being disowned! But heck! I don't like pretending! And life is about risk! Sometimes the risk is in not taking any action.

It is common for people who are Atheists or free thinkers to have the same belief throughout the lives; it's common too for free thinkers or people with religions to be converted to other religions; and for people who have religions to stop practicing their religions but continue to believe in it. I don't know how many people there are out there who, like me, have practiced and believed in a religion for many years and then became atheist. I myself find it interesting how I was firm in my belief in God and then did a 180 degree turn and now believe that God does not exist. It's easy to be an outsider looking in to a religion and to criticize it. But outsiders have not experienced the religion from the inside and therefore whatever they say may be easily dismissed. I, on the other hand, was an insider for 20 years. I was a Catholic from the age of 5. I attended Sunday classes, went to church, and even sang in the church choir. I fully believed in God. Of course, there were times when I didn't go to church for long periods of time but I still believed in God. Everything that I feel and write here is from my personal experience and reflection.

Before I start, I just want to say that these are my personal views and my intention is not to “convert” anyone away from their religion or to discredit Catholicism. Everyone is entitled to their own views and beliefs. I am just sharing my thoughts. If you are not open enough to respect my views or if you feel that your faith might be shaken, I would like to ask you to stop reading now.

When I say that I'm now Atheist, this does not mean that I'm running around with my new-found freedom, doing all kinds of “bad” things that are against the Catholic rules. There are religious people who do all sorts of “bad “things and non-religious people who do “good” things. Why do I use quotes for “good” and “bad”? Because across different religions, cultures and societies, there are different definitions of what's good and bad. For example, rape and execution as a form of punishment for crime and the use of contraceptives and divorce may be acceptable in some religions but not in others.

Here some of my thoughts around why I don't believe in God and have quit being a Catholic:

1. Believers don't question.
I accepted many things without questioning. Although we are encourage people to ask questions, when questions couldn't be answered we say it's the “mystery of our faith” or we know it “by faith”. If I don't accept that our beliefs are by faith, it means I don't have faith and I'm not a worthy Catholic.

2. God is almighty and powerful.
We know it, He knows it. There's no need for us to keep praising him.

3. Prayer is useless
If we want something we should pray to God for it. We also believe that we will get what we want only if it's God's will. We will get it whether or not we pray. So there's no need to pray unless you think it gives you an unfair advantage over others who don't pray. What kind of God grants that anyway?

4. Why bad things happen to good people.
There are whole books written about this. We believe that if something good happens, it's because God helped us and we should thank God. If something bad happens, we still need to thank God for giving us the opportunity to grow through the experience. In summary, when good things happen, it's God's doing and divine intervention; if bad things happen, it's the work of the devil or human beings who caused it. Note that natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes are defined as “acts of God” in insurance policies. I'm not saying because we don't have an explanation therefore we should not believe but, rather, it sounds a little too “human” to blame - to attribute good events with somebody we love (God) and bad events to somebody we hate (devil). Why doesn't God do something about all these bad things, the devil and bad people instead of waiting for “kingdom come”? God's time is not our time. Great. He loves us so much that we all have to suffer while he takes his sweet time.

5. God tests us.
Does God need to test us so that we can prove ourselves worthy of a place in heaven? If a person who claims to love you says he/she will love you only if you passed all kinds of tests and exams, how would that make you feel? I'm sure those of you who have children try not to base you love on their exam results. You'll still love them regardless. Anyway, heaven seems like a really boring place – where you'll sing praises to God forever. Seriously, does everyone enjoy singing? One good thing about heaven though, is it's not as hot like in hell.

6. Why did God make us?
So that we can love him. Oh my...

At best, God is a personification of the law of nature and flow of energy. Human beings might have invented a supernatural being because that's the best way for us to understand how things work.

Why do bad things happen? It's all about the law of nature. Natural disasters are nature's way of getting things back to equilibrium. There are too many human beings on earth. Nature needs to a way to control the population. Who's to say all human beings deserve to live? Are you sure that the world would be a better place if Adolf Hitler did not kill the Jews​?

God and religion are good for some people because it gives them peace of mind and comfort to know that someone cares and is going to do something to make everything ok. Religions and fear of God also makes some people more "moral" than they would be without religion or God. Pssst... someone is watching!

I feel Catholicism is bad for me because:

1. God and religion offers me no peace of mind.
I'm being taught that bad things happen so that I will be prepared when I meet some other harder challenges in life. My life has been tough. I feel terrible thinking that my life is only going to get tougher.

2. Over-emphasis on prayer is harmful to oneself and others.
People who were "religious" around me believed that prayer alone was enough.
There are many people out there who pray hard but say and do all kinds of bad things to ruin their relationships. If I didn't do things or connected with people, there would be no relationship. There's nothing that I've achieved that I've not lifted my own fingers to do. If I didn't study I won't have passed my exams. If I didn't work, I won't have money. Some people ask me whether I'm sure all that wasn't from God. I ask: what makes them sure it's from God?

3. It encourages us to live for the future.
We do too many things in the hope of getting God's approval and chasing the heavenly reward of a place in heaven. We sacrifice our health, relationships with people and our interests for those things in the future and miss out on what needs to be done today and now.

4. It encourages hypocrisy
We are caught up with living in peace with one another, setting a good example for others and keeping up appearances. Conflict is frowned upon and issues swept under the carpet. We just pray that all those go away and even gossip about people who want to confront those issues.

5. Anybody can quote something from the Bible to support their purpose/argument.
"I'm right because the Bible says so." Instead of trying to understand and explain, we take the easy way out by quoting the Bible. All the better if the person whom we are speaking to does not understand the quote or read the Bible - because "good" people read the Bible and therefore "good" people are right. Case closed.

Some of my Catholic friends may pity me for having “lost my faith” or “lost my way”. Please don't feel sorry for me - I've found indescribable peace which Catholicism cannot offer and I am at least 10 times happier than before. I sincerely thank you for your prayers if you're praying for me.

I leave you with this quote:
"You won't masturbate with your mother watching you! How on earth could you masturbate with God watching you? Do you really believe God is watching you? Perhaps not."
- Daniel C Dennett

[Sanctified = Sanitised?]

15 comments:

TrainMan said...

good post Kymmy!

don't worry about whether this is a sensitive topic..
catholic and christian aren't that sensitive when it come to insulting other religions..n its a well known fact.
anyway you are toking abt how u feel...so its ok

fear is the cornerstone of all belief....whats there to fear? LOLz

Anonymous said...

sad but true that god is confined by human in their traditions and beliefs. i believe that is a god. go read the recent newspaper article on talking about death, read the blog by shin na (the young mom who has passed on), they are so human in their feeling and expression but yet they found their peace...

Anonymous said...

hi charlene.

i appreciate your honest sharing. stay on this journey if you so desire. my only response is not to forget the triggers that may have led to your current stand...personal decisions about your r/ship with julian and the somewhat sexual profiles of yourself which you are entitled to show. i don't know if everything seems to point to alot of pain and anger to the kind of betrayal you may be feeling after what happened. i won't feel pity for you. i think it takes courage for you to take this stand. i hope you will find what you are unknowingly looking for.

on a lighter note, Dennett's comments are rather funny. Yeah, God knows when people masturbate. But so what? It doesn't say anything new. The remark is probably more related to the writer's unresolved guilt towards what he partially understands about sexual acts and aspects of faith.

Yu-Kym said...

Hi anon, failed relationships are sad. i know that u're trying to show some empathy and i thank you for that. i don't know about the betrayal you mentioned or maybe you know something that i don't lol. anyway, it's not that i'm looking for that matters; it's the person that i want to be that matters. http://yu-kym.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-kind-of-person-do-i-want-to-be.html

Dennett's point is that religious people say that they believe that God is watching them but they don't really believe it - evident from their actions.

another anonymous said...

hi there again, i always feel hearten to know of people who "de-convert". totally agree with you when you asked why would God give so many tests and challenges to mankind if he truly loves everyone? it certainly does not make any sense, and i just can't get it why millions of people can believe in one almighty God.

Yu-Kym said...

What I just can't get is why people who believe in God would spend to much time condemning people, killing people and causing division!

another anonymous said...

they say that is the OT God, and the NT God is all loving and what not. people like to make up of all kinds of things to make themselves feel better. *roll eyes*

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Even while denying God's existence, you are using one His greatest gifts to humankind.

Freedom of choice. All are free to turn toward Him or away.

I am not goint to enter into a debate. However some of your comments need examination:

6. Why did God make us?
So that we can love him. On my...

God created humankind in His image an likeness. That alone makes every person everborn or alive now a product of Love.
Everything we take for granted. Life itself, love, and freedom to name a few, are not human inventions.

One only has to look at the animal world to see the limits of relatioships when the above gifts are absent. All that is left is living by instinct.

Think of how rich the breath and depth of human relations. The love between fathers, mothers and childred.

Even now the Lord wathces over you. Every decision one makes is part of the 24/7 communication all have with Him. We tune Him out, never does He abandon His children.

That little voice in you head to do something right is His moving you to do so.

You are right that the Bible can be used ones own end. If you took time to understand the Catholic Church's role in understanding the Bible you might have an appreciation for the great message carried.

However one must make an effort to learn about faith. One must move beyond partial knowledge.

You remain my sister in Christ.

I wish you happiness and success.

David

Anonymous said...

Hi Yu-Kym,

Loved your post on all your sexual experiences but this post really cuts the cake. Its like a 180 degree turn from your usual postings. But anyway, i'm not here to judge nor critisize....i would just like to recommend a book called 'Why am i Not a christian' by Bertrand Russell. Perhaps you might find more insights into how you actually came to this decision by reading that book. :) Peace, and may you be well and happy.

Ah Boy said...

This is my favorite post beside all your sexy/juicy stories>

Those who know their direction will move on; those who are lost will need to ask god for help.

Winner believe in themselves, and only Looser believe in god.

Hayabusa said...

First off, you're one hell of a gal being courageous enough to bring something so personal, & unnecessary in the eyes of many, out into public. for that, i salute you!

Your reasons somewhat reinforced my faith, but i'm no christian & i don't believe such a thing called God exists either.

This'll sound sensitive as well, but just my 2 cents. the one thing i've been through that kept me at where i'm now, is that as much as many would like to deny it, christianity & catholicism has a lot of holes & faults in their teachings. that i won't say more here as you've already said enough yourself.

The bottom line here for me's just one thing, i can't believe in a religion that keeps finding itself clashing with science.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kym:

I highly recommend you read the book "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, if you haven't already.

Written by a British biologist, the book is one of its kind on subject of atheism.

CY

Yu-Kym said...

Thanks David. We don't have the same beliefs.
I have spent understanding the Bible through the teachings of the Catholic church. I have an appreciation for the message but not belief in the message. I actually feel very enlightened now. The universe is much greater than just Christianity, as it is taught.

Hayabusa, thanks for sharing. I don't think we can fully understand how the universe works just by using today's science. But the thing about Christianity (and certain other religions) is: they are not open to discussion. Instead, they condemn people who are seeking understanding of the religion.

Thanks CY. I have heard of the book. I shall read it when I'm in the mood for it :)

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Time to revisit this post.

You said;

"But the thing about Christianity (and certain other religions) is: they are not open to discussion. Instead, they condemn people who are seeking understanding of the religion."

Where did you get the idea that the Catholic Church condemns people who seek understanding the religion, or Christianity in general?

I know a few non-Christians, and a handful of aethist, (two in Singapore).

The Catholic Church as I know it here in the States is very open and welcoming.

There is no such thing as forced conversions.

We have frequent ecuminical meetings with other branches of Christian faiths, and there are many. This and frequent meetings and conclaves with non Christian faiths.

The Church meets to promote understanding.

Learning about the differences promotes the path to better relations. Reduces the opportunity and reason for conflict.

F. F. Bosworth once state --

Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.

I believe the Catholic Faith is an examined faith, and we should be unafraid to doubt....There is no believing without some doubting, and believing is all the stronger for understanding and resolving
doubt. I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.

One thing I know from my readings in the Bible is this. Whether you believe in any diety or no diety. The Lord will happily recieve you someday.

I do pray for you and other around this world.

Pity is not what I offer nor support. You are not a weak willed person. You stand by your opinions, and at times I am left wondering what your real beliefs are.

I am not sure what guides your moral compass.

I know I have been here longer than you, and your life experiences are very different from mine.

You have my respect and admiration for speaking out. Even when our opinions and beliefs are far apart.

David

The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days.

-- Robert Leighton







You are free to choose, but the choices you make today willdetermine what you will have, be, and do in the tomorrows of your life.

Anonymous said...

Yu-Kym

I've just read this blog. Again you nail it right and true about religion and God. Well, mostly. But I'm all for the correctness of your take on this topic.

But I'm a little different from you...coz somehow I want to believe there is a God although i do not have or need a religion. So I still hope and pray to this "one God"....to be frank perhaps selfishly for a kind of "insurance and emotional comfort and strength". I'm not really all that super strong to withstand the wickedly curved balls life dishes out occasionally. keke

But as for David..this really good man David whom I highly respect for his wholesome goodness....I simply marvel at his extremely one-sided devotion to his God and religion. But I must add that despite his years of living longer than Yu-Kym, he has developed callouses over his eyes that he simply cannot understand the objectivity and logic of the contrary view...primarily the hypocrisy of religion. And about Catholism and its teachings, I've seen and heard enough..I best bite my tongue.....

curious cat