It is 1pm on Wednesday, 8 April, 2009..
This comment could upset some people but I sincerely hope they read it through thoroughly and take in what it is I am trying to say. I think it is the advent of Easter that has probably brought these thoughts to the front of my mind.
I am not religious....have tried to be but have failed. Although not from a Catholic family I attended a Catholic college from the age of 5 through to 11 and although I did not take part in the catechism lessons the other non-catholic girl and I always sat at the back of the classroom so, of course, heard the whole lesson anyway. Even at that tender age I found myself questioning a lot of the beliefs that were being taught to the other students, i.e. a baby is born with mortal sin on its soul..."How could an innocent little baby have mortal sin on its soul?" I asked myself. Unfortunately, being a rather shy child I didn't query this with the nun who was taking the class. My daughter many years later did actually question much that was taught by the by nuns (she too attended a Catholic college but from age 13 to 15 which probably made a difference...a little more cheek at that age!!). She actually passed Divinity (forget the proper name of the subject) as a Junior subject so something certainly sunk in. She lives a good life and tries so hard to do right by everyone in her life which is not always easy.
My father was an atheist and my mother had been baptised in the Baptist church in England when she was 15. I did attend Sunday School for a short while when I was about 8 years and then from age 12 to 14 I attended a Church of England college where, strangely enough, we had to attend chapel every morning before classes began. Why did none of this religious teaching 'rub off' on me?
When I was nearly 12 I decided I wanted to be christened and also change my given name. I don't know why but we went into St George's Cathedral in Perth and saw Dean Moore. He christened me and then I was confirmed a few months later. He was one of the most wonderful men I have known in my life and was fantastic with young people. I used to go into Perth every Sunday morning to attend the special Communion service that was for younger people. Dean Moore would even tell people that if they were on their way to the beach then to come in their shorts as they were always welcome as long as they were decently dressed. He would tell them they didn't need to dress up but 'just come here first".
For some reason even with all that, religion itself failed to grip me.
When about 15 or 16 I attended St Hilda's C/E in North Perth and was actually asked by the minister to become a Sunday School teacher. This thought horrified me (I preferred to go yachting on a Sunday anyway) and for some reason from then on I drifted away from going to church altogether. I didn't know enough to teach at Sunday School anyway so would have failed dismally.
Many years ago I even attended a Billy Graham presentation at Claremont Showgrounds (it was packed) but when the time came and he said "Come on down" I wondered at the number of people that made their way to the front. Why did I not feel anything at all? What was wrong with me?
I have always tried to live my life doing unto others as I would like them to do unto me, definitely honoured my father and mother, tried not to lie and am a pacifist so would not kill or injure anyone deliberately. These are the beliefs that most religious people live by but what makes them religious and not me?
Mother Nature I feel is what controls our planet and much of what happens to us and even the specialist I had for the birth of my two children seemed to have that belief as well. I know he was a Roman Catholic but when my daughter was born prematurely and I asked him why, his reply was "Mother Nature knows what she is doing. You were heading for problems so she took over and now you should not have any problems." Mother Nature obviously took over two years later when my son was also born a month prematurely!! Happy to say both babies grew up to be healthy people.
I do not say I am an atheist as I do have my own (perhaps peculiar) beliefs but I do not feel the need to pray to a higher being for, to start with, I doubt any deity would have the time to bother with a mere mortal like me when there are so many other needy causes. My mother (who you could be considered religious to a certain degree) once said she believed we lived our heaven or hell on earth and perhaps she was right.
For some reason I don't feel I am lacking anything in my life. I don't want to die but know I must eventually and the thought doesn't frighten me. Just later rather than sooner please.
I love to take time to see the stars at night, the flowers that bloom and nature itself I find so wonderous, even though at times it can be quite violent.
I sincerely hope I have not upset anyone by what I have written today and that was certainly not my intention. I just felt I needed to get this out of my system and try and explain more of who I am or am not whichever way you look at it.
Incidentally I have friends who are religious ranging from Roman Catholics through to protestant and not one of them has ever tried to change my beliefs nor would I ever consider trying to change theirs. We appreciate we are all different and leave it there. I feel everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and if they feel better for having those beliefs then I am glad for them. As long as people didn't fight about those different beliefs the world would be a perfect place. We must have respect for each other; that I feel is the most important thing of all.
To anyone who reads this I wish them a happy, safe and peaceful Easter.