rhubarb: (laugh)
[personal profile] rhubarb
Hey, if you don't feel like reading an atheist's reflections on god and prayer, feel free to skip this post.  I promise I won't hold it against you.  I wrote it mostly for myself, and while I don't feel like I said anything particularly offensive, that's a personal thing, your mileage may vary, and it's not really my call to make.


I remember, I used to pray every night before I went to sleep.  It was years ago--before anyone I knew really well had lost their virginity or died, but after I'd survived the nightmare that was fifth grade and figured out that most of my friends weren't really who I thought they were, at least they weren't anymore.  It was before I'd read any of the bible but after I'd come home from school to see my dad crying like a child.  It was while I had my first really painful crush and hated everything about my body.

I prayed for things like war not happening, ending soon, ending without so much pain, just ending.  I prayed for snow days.  I prayed that the people I knew would be happy, and that I would be too.  I prayed that I would do okay in geometry.  Sometimes the things I prayed for happened, but mostly they didn't.  I kept praying for them anyway, because saying them to myself made me feel more validated and organized in my thoughts, and it helped me get to sleep in the same way routines and bedtime stories do.

I don't pray anymore.  I haven't for years, not since the moment I realized that I didn't honestly believe there was any kind of god listening.  It was myself I'd been talking to, telling myself about all my hopes to lull myself to sleep every night.  And I realized that that was okay, the world would continue to have beautiful and terrible things both.  Sometimes I would fail, and sometimes I would succeed.  In the vast universe, I didn't have to understand everything in order to be happy.  I just had to let myself be happy.  I'd never felt so relieved and joyful and at ease with myself in my life.  It felt like coming home.

When I tell people about something like a death or illness in the family and they say they'll pray for me, I usually just say thanks and move on.  What I mean, really, is "thanks for the sentiment."  I figure it isn't really my business what praying is to them, and I know they mean well.

It's funny, but even though I prayed for years, every night without fail, I don't remember missing it at all that first night I didn't.  I slept just fine.  You'd think the change in routine would have impacted me more.


I don't know why I felt like writing this today.  I don't usually talk about religion or my lack of it much.  I guess between seeing so much talk about Easter and me being in such a good mood today, I felt a little nostalgic or philosophical or something.

Anyway, I hope you all have had wonderful days.  =)

Date: 2010-04-04 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samsamjellyjam.livejournal.com
<333

ILU, bb~

Date: 2010-04-04 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kai-lis.livejournal.com
<333 Right back atcha.

Date: 2010-04-05 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sereneignorance.livejournal.com
"It's funny, but even though I prayed for years, every night without fail, I don't remember missing it at all that first night I didn't. I slept just fine. You'd think the change in routine would have impacted me more."

Same here.

Date: 2010-04-05 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kai-lis.livejournal.com
Haha, funny how that works.

Date: 2010-04-05 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redbrunja.livejournal.com
Do you happen to watch the show Bones? Because there is great scene in a recent episode where a very empirical atheist and a man who is pretty secure in his Catholic faith are talking about what they gain emotionally from science and religion, and it basically drives home the ways that they're similar and the importance of what I would not spiritual practices, not religions.

Did that make any sense?

Date: 2010-04-05 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kai-lis.livejournal.com
I've seen a few scattered episodes, but not the one you're talking about.

That's interesting, though. It does seem to me that most atheists and most theists get the same or similar things from their views on life, it's just through different reasoning. I think the things we gain emotionally from science/religion/whatever probably have more to do with who we are personally than which actual philosophy we attach ourselves to.

I think so?

That's a gorgeous icon, btw.

Date: 2010-04-10 08:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redbrunja.livejournal.com
I think the things we gain emotionally from science/religion/whatever probably have more to do with who we are personally than which actual philosophy we attach ourselves to.


Yes, exactly. Good people are good people, regardless of what religion they do or don't believe.

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