Hi. My name is Shari and I’m a heathen.
After approximately 25 years “in the church” I threw in the towel.
Called it quits.
Shouted “hasta la vista, baby!” while making the devil horn sign as I walked down the pews mid-sermon on a Sabbath morning.
Ok, the last part isn’t true, but maybe I should’ve done it for the heck of it. Because my quiet departure has yielded more or less the same response.
Ok, maybe that’s not altogether true either.
See, I’m a liar: heathen to the core.
Honestly though, my departure hasn’t really been met with any extreme or adverse reactions from my former congregants. And I think this is simply because they just don’t know that I’m gone. Like, gone gone. To the dark side. They know that I’ve moved across the island and probably that I’m separated from my husband. But, I don’t think they really know.
A few of my close friends are aware, my mother (who is hiding her devastation remarkably well), and maybe the odd church friend who noticed my tattoos when I visited church a while back. Yeah, tattoos are explicit heathen marks. I think my closest friends, who are happy in their walk with The Lord, probably took it the hardest. I guess it’s hard to understand how after 25 years in the faith and all that God has brought me through, I could just turn my back on him and leave. Well, let me tell you how/why I did it.
I don’t know when it started, (it being the decline of my faith) but it definitely was during a period of depression, when I began to question everything in my life. I felt like a stranger to myself and I just wasn’t happy. Nothing had meaning or purpose and church was high on the list of pointlessly rote functions. White Jesus just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. He wasn’t making me happy; he wasn’t bringing me the fulfillment I longed for; he wasn’t saving my marriage; he wasn’t making me a multimillionaire by sitting on the couch every day.
So, unintentionally, the quitting of my marriage coincided with my quitting of the church. And I have NEVER felt happier in my life!!! I don’t ask anyone to keep me through the night or wake me up in the mornings, and unbelievably I’ve made it through the last two years. I haven’t asked anyone to bless my meal before eating it and I can’t say I’ve experienced any supernatural food poisoning thus far. I must admit though that I’ve had to beseech somebody on occasion (God, I guess) when taking public transportation. But it’s Jamaica. Supernatural powers are needed on the roads.
I go to work on Saturdays and I don’t feel guilty about “breaking the Sabbath”. I eat the dreaded PORK, much to my mother’s dismay. I have tattoos and piercings to come. I haven’t intentionally been to church or “fellowshipped with the brethren” in two years. I have fully embraced the hedonistic life. Heck, I even accept that LGBTQ persons are actual persons who deserve respect and love!** But most importantly, at the end of each day, I am happy. I don’t feel the need to believe in anything or anyone, or try to make it to some distant land in the clouds. I believe that my choices, and not my faith, are responsible for the outcome of my life. I am certain of this life and will live it to the fullest. YOLO.
So, do I still believe in God? Religion?
No, and no. This is Westworld and none of us are real.
Really though. My view on God and Religion is simple: if it makes you happy, by all means go ahead with it. Just don’t be killing folks. That’s not cool. I could, but I’d rather not get into the whole diatribe against organized Religion and Christianity and what it meant for my slave ancestors, and all the evils that were done in it’s name. That’s for another time and another post.
I will admit though, sometimes I can’t help but believe in a Creator when I look into the eyes of a beautiful innocent child, or see the majesty of a sunset from above the clouds. Or eat pizza. Because some higher power obviously created man with the capacity to create pizza and that Great Being deserves recognition!
All the other times, I simply don’t care.
I don’t know if we are here on this Earth for a purpose or just as an experiment.
I do know that we (humans) are downright terrible but equally as great, Religion or nah.
And I am OK with that.
** This is not to say that Christians in general don’t share this view, but I know A LOT of them who don’t!**