I embraced coming together to worship God, then to worship a God and Goddess. It helped me become connected to others. I was part of something. It felt meaningful.
My life became busy with plenty of big events in life: Marriage, children, house, school and job. My energy to devote to spiritual matters was put on the back burner. I had less time to devote to “the craft” and with negative experiences within the community it no longer became a priority. I became more interested in issues and conflicts happening in the world. That’s all I seemed to have time for, mentally. Between changing diapers, writing papers and work, I started exploring the mind, view points and reason.
My Wiccan faith finally ended more as a practical matter than becoming disillusioned with the religion. But, my next steps led me to consider Buddhism. I thought it could be a better, simpler match to help with exploring the mind and my own spirituality. I could gather and direct energy with a ritual with Witchcraft, but a Buddhist practice could help me to get to a state of peace with out setting up an elaborate ritual. Just sitting and meditating.
I started reading some books on Buddhist views and practice. Watched videos of the Dali Lama, read some books and started to learn some of the history. However, the culture seemed too foreign to me although some theory and practice seemed valuable. The more I delved into Buddhism, the more I started to feel like it was a return to Christianity in the sense that it required an adherence to historical texts, rituals and structure. Did I really want to get back into that? Not really? And, how was this any better than a Samhein or attending Catholic mass on Sunday? I began to understand overlapping patterns between all religions. Parts worked. Parts didn’t. Why? What am I missing? And, where do I go now?
Just as I was asking these questions, technology evolved in such a way as to provide the way for me. You tube was becoming more popular to search and find information on various subjects. Cell phones improved and I got a hold of a phone with the ability to watch videos. I found something called podcasts. The ability to be so close to pools of information matching my precise interest in the moment and the convenience of being able to listen or watch anywhere and anytime, helped me to along the way.
Increasingly being bolstered by knowledge, immersing more and more in thought, I started to value logic, reason and evidence and realize the flaws of faith-based beliefs. Further, I became more aware of consequences of bad, unsound ideas being pushed by religious institutions and how it was hurting humanity and a variety of ways. Muslims dying for Allah performing terrorist attacks, Evangelical Christians tricking worshipers into giving them money for new Jet airplanes to the State of Texas forcing religion into text books to edge out scientific inquiry and thought about evolution. I had growing feeling of unrest about all of it, wondered how people got that way and what I needed to do to counteract it.
I began looking at science-based thinking. I read Richard Dawkins the God Delusion, Listened to the Atheist Experience podcast, I read Peter Boghossian’s “A Manual for Creating Atheists,” I became a fan of Sam Harris and watched Anthony Magnabosco use Socratic dialogue to engage people in discussion to examine why they believe what they believe. After a time there just were not any good sound reasons I could keep why God exists and arguments based on faith melted away.
I’ve now embraced reason and logic as better ways to look at the world and see it as not compatible with a God belief. In the past, my life moved at a fast pace in life, comparing what I knew with what I saw and seemed to work in the world. I valued the volume of experience more than the richness of it and it has been long over due for me to switch.
I’ve realized now that part of me was looking for a community that accepted me and a community I could be a meaningful part of. My enjoyment of my experiences and the connections I made distracted me a bit from examining it more closely and not using as much reason as I should have. I’m now making the path of my life a path of reasoned thought without A God belief and I feel a lot better now that I have made that choice.