The stories of Christianity are outlandish: a talking snake, living in a whale’s belly, plagues that rain down just by asking, a god who murders babies, a man who comes back from the dead. I grew up hearing these things were true. I was surrounded by people – seemingly a whole nation – who believed it – and adults knew best – so I had no reason to question it. I was angered by this god at times, but I didn’t seriously doubt his existence for over 3 decades.
There comes a certain arrogance with indoctrination. Explain the basic premise of Christianity to someone who grew up in another faith or none at all and their reaction is along the lines of, “Uh hmm, right… you believe this?” or just plain incredulity. It’s also how Christians often react to other belief systems. It is not uncommon for people to leave the belief system of their youth, whether for a different one or to leave religion all together. I wonder how often a person raised as an atheist embraces religion as an adult. I suspect it’s less common.
I’ve been watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on Netflix which has led me to learn more about his life and writings. He was fascinating.
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
That’s a rational, honest statement. As for me, I cling to a glimmer of hope. It prevents me from implanting myself in atheism. I know this is due to indoctrination. I know it is due to years of believing there had to be a better afterlife after all the shit I went through. While I’m now fairly certain that afterlife doesn’t exist, I dwell in the ambiguity of agnosticism with a smidgen of hope. But I don’t kid myself. I know this is irrational. It’s just where I’m at right now.