What a stupid way to stop blogging again. So...
Everyday since I took my break from blogging I have been thinking about how to start again. I stated before that I wanted to take my blog back to where it started. I started with no photos and a lot of opinion. Somehow my blog slowly morphed into something else. Photos and no content. That's not where I want to be. That's not what this blog should be. I need it to be more me.
I was thinking about what I could start with. One thing that I have been dealing with a lot lately is religion. More precisely the lack of religion. I don't think it's a secret that I am an atheist. (I always spell this word wrongly!) My mother's side of the family is hard core brethren. They ostracised my grandmother when her husband left and told her that she would go to hell for some perceived wrongdoing that only they could see. Watching my grandmother racked with guilt every day of her life is not a pleasant thing. She has tried to make amends with her family, but there is always something between her and everyone else. Our family is the black sheep.
When I was a kid I decided I wanted to go to church with my first best friend. He was a baptist. The actual church thing held no interest for me. What I was really interested in was the activity books the kids got at Sunday school. They were great. You could do colouring in. Join the dots. Solve mazes. That's what I was in to. I can't remember ever thinking about why everyone was really there. I did ask a lot of questions. (nothing has changed) I asked so many difficult questions that the teacher asked my friend's parent to stop bringing me. So much for my dip in the waters of Christianity.
From an early age I was always impressed by Buddhism. Sometime in my late teens I decided that I would be Buddhist. I read a lot of books on the subject, visited temples. Did everything I thought I should do to be a Buddhist. However, I wasn't a Buddhist. I just couldn't believe in what Buddhists believe. It, like Christianity, didn't make any sense to me. What I really loved and still love today is ceremony. I love the old forms of Christianity the best for this very reason. Coptics, Orthodox and Catholic blow me away with their ceremony. That's what I love. It has nothing to do with the very heart of every religion. The belief in god, or gods.
I even thought about Islam for the briefest of times. Why? Because I thought it would be cool to go to Mecca.
So come university I had firmly decided that atheism was for me. I had no time to believe in god, because I wanted answers. I wanted to question. In my mind, you can only question religion so far before the answer is god. When that is the answer, then there is not enough proof for me.
In the past year I have received two books about atheism. One is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and the other is God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. The God Delusion was the first I read and I have to tell you I couldn't finish it. It was extremely boring. I am currently reading the second book and while it is an easier read I just am not satisfied with it. I will tell you why.
I am comfortable in what I believe, or do not believe, as the case may be. I am not sure I need to read anything to tell me how I should defend my position or attack the position of others. That's what these books do. Much as many books written by religious people would put forward the position that their particular brand of religion was the best, so are these atheists, or probably more correctly, antitheists. I am comfortable in my decision and I am happy with others, many blogging friends of mine, who have come to different religious decisions in their own lives. Why do I need to attack them? I do not. They do not attack me or put me down. All is good.
Of course if the freedom to believe whatever I want is threatened or I am discriminated against on the basis of my choice of non-belief, then I will fight. So far, I have no need to fight.
For me, living in New Zealand has many annoying points. Sometimes I throw my arms in the air and just wish I were elsewhere, anywhere. One thing however that I am proud of is the fact that religion or what you believe is not an issue. Extremist religious groups exist of course, but they have no power. Our very own prime minister is an atheist, but that does not affect how people vote. It shouldn't. Her personal belief that there is no god is neither here nor there in the running of the country. One fringe Christian group tried to make it an issue, but it came to nothing. I was happy.
So that's where I am. My writing style is one of a flow of ideas with very little checking to see if it makes sense. I hope this does. I have thought a lot about this topic. I have been influenced by the people who comment on my blog. Many of them are Christian. I do not want to offend, but at the same time I want to be honest. I read their blogs and religion is an integral part of their lives. I admire this. I am not envious of it, I appreciate the differences. I hope you do too.