It's my own damn fault, really. If I hadn't been listening to Terry Gross all those many years ago, I never would have heard that woman. I don't even know her name. I suppose I could Google it and find out. How hard would be it be to find the name of the woman she'd interviewed who'd written a book about her path to atheism and talked about how she'd essentially had to mourn the death of her brother all over again?
Yet I don't Google it because it really doesn't matter. To believe that it was fate that I happened upon the interview is to profess a belief in fate. But in order to profess a belief in fate or karma, I'd need to still harbor a belief in God, He of the capitalized ilk. "Still." Alas, that crisis of faith noted awhile back -- how long ago I can't recall now -- never dissipated. It never moved out of the realm of crisis into resolution. Or I guess it is resolved because here I sit sans crisis. It resolved not with me falling back into the fold, mosh-pit-like, but, instead, with me stepping out of the throng of believers into a different light.
It's slow going, certainly. And it's riddled with guilt for, laugh if you must, not letting the kids come to atheism on their own, only after years of indoctrination of another sort. I'm not holding up my end of the parenting paradigm by weekly dunkings into the well, driving them to the inevitable questioning in their teens and young adulthood and then all-too-typical circling back to radical born-again being.
I've just kind of stopped. Dead. Dead stopped the preaching. And I find myself nodding in ardent support of r/atheism threads which make it to the top. Or standing in jaw-dropped wonder as people discuss the pure evil woman at the school district offices who gives communion -- communion! -- at a local parish as I wonder how she has not burst into flames at the very thought of such conduct coming from such a human being as her.
I thought with age came a more ardent belief, surely one baptized in fear of the end approaching closer and closer. Look! Just up there, around the bend, that's the end. For me. For you. For all of us. But my mind now knows that fairy tales are great, really great, for the young. And the tatters don't hold up for the old.
That said, you all go right ahead and pray for my soul, and the souls of those children of mine. Really, no hard feelings from me.
[Photo courtesy Blogness on the Edge of Town.]