I just got back about half an hour ago from playing squash for an hour with one of my friends. Man alive, that game is a workout. I played some racquetball, which is very similar, back in high school for gym class, so I remembered that it was very physically demanding, but still…if you ever want a fun way to work out and stay active, try squash or racquetball. You’ll be out of breath and sweating like a pig in no time. But in a fun way.
At any rate, since I really have no energy now to even move out of my chair, I decided that I might as well put the situation to good use and blog a bit. I don’t really have much to say, though. I guess a bit of an update about my religious undoings is in order. I kind of told myself I wouldn’t blog about it for a while, but I write what I think about, and I still think about religion and religious beliefs a lot. So here we go.
Altogether, things have been getting better. I made it through the Christmas season, although I cringed at the sight of nativity scenes with the Magi present. (Much of the Christmas story that we all know and love is due to smushing the two separate and wildly different nativity accounts from Matthew and Luke together into one big story. Seriously, try reading them both one after the other some time. And try to imagine them as two different stories instead of blending them both together. It’s amazing the complete difference between them.) I can’t say this was my best Christmas ever, but I think it was better than last Christmas, when my doubts about God and Christianity were just beginning. Things are looking up, even if I am a far way off from being comfortable.
So now it’s January. I’ve officially been non-religious for, well, a month, or two months, or five months, depending on where you start counting from. It’s kind of been a gradual thing, although there have been several distinct and memorable points in time. I think I’m going to end up going with the five-month date, as that was when things really started to change. From then on it was sort of a gradual transition, since switching worldviews is never as easy as switching a pair of glasses. If only it were that simple. Hey, try the Hindu glasses on for size! No, don’t like the reincarnation? Well try some Islam glasses! We’d be able to go through all the world religions in a week.
At any rate, things have gotten a lot clearer for me. As you can tell from my last post, I’ve started to approach some philosophical questions from my new point of view. That’s really helped to clear things up. After all, I have to go through and review everything again. What do I think about abortion? Or same-sex marriage? Or embryonic stem cell research? Or systems of ethics? Or animal rights? I’m still not sure about some of those things, but I’m making progress. My structure is being built, piece by piece, and soon I’ll have my life rebuilt once again. Of course, it’ll be in a very different location than before, but hopefully I’ll get a spot on the lake, and I can build a dock and….okay, I took the metaphor too far.
I’ve also begun to build up some information sources. I began to realize back in the summer that I was woefully uninformed, especially politically. This had little to do with my deconversion, but it was still important as a Canadian citizen. So I’ve got some online news sources bookmarked now, and I’ve been keeping more up-to-date with major news. Such as, well, the coalition and Harper proroguing Parliament, and all that fun stuff. I can imagine that my former Political Science professor is having a field day with that. I won’t get into my opinions on such a thing, but let’s just say that I’ve gotten more informed so that I can have a decently reasonable opinion, at any rate. I’ve also found a few atheist or secular blogs that I have now bookmarked. Sometimes they bring up some good arguments or information that really makes me think. Other times they are just silly. But either way, I’ve found an appreciation for reading all points of view, rather than almost subconsciously censoring the information I read.
To go along with that, I suppose this past year has given me an overwhelming desire to learn. It doesn’t really matter what I’m learning about, but it just has started to feel very good to learn new things. I’ve taken a little bit of an interest in history, a subject which I have never liked before. At all. I’ve got some science sites bookmarked that give me the scoop about the latest news in science, although that’s not quite as good, since science works on the basis of peer review. Sometimes I find that those sorts of sites tend to report scientific discoveries before they’ve been properly checked and re-checked. But at any rate, learning about these scientific breakthroughs and new theories is still good. And of course, I still am interested in psychology and philosophy and theology, and am trying my best to read as much as possible in those areas.
So I guess you could say that altogether, life is going pretty well. It has its ups and downs, but life always has that. It’s still a little tricky to know how to approach the subject with my friends. I’ve been a little hesitant to tell people about my decision, simply because you never know how they’re going to react. The reactions I have got so far have all been positive, but I’m ultimately just content to start to bring my opinions and behaviours in line with my new beliefs (or lack thereof) and talk about it if anyone asks. So far, all that’s really been happening is that I’ve disagreed with my friends on some issues. But I try to keep the peace as much as possible – I’ve always been very opinionated, so biting my tongue is an important skill I am trying to master.
At any rate, that’s about it for my life. Good job if you’ve read this far, since all that junk up above is really completely irrelevant to your life. Unless you’re me of course, but in that case you already knew all this stuff ahead of time, so there was no point to you reading it. But anyway, there is one thing I’d like to end off with. I recently was pointed towards a couple documentaries that deal with biblical history. One deals mainly with the history of the Jews and the development of the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Bible (running time approx. 2h). The other deals with the history of Christianity, from the life of Jesus all the way to the time of Constantine, when it was made the official religion of the Roman Empire (running time approx. 4h). At any rate, they are both delightfully informative, and from as much as I’ve read, it seems to present the conclusions of the majority of scholars. So because of that, it’s something to pay attention to. Some Christians, especially those who believe the Bible to be infallible and inerrant, might not agree with a word of what they say, but I’d still encourage everyone to at least watch the documentaries. You might not agree with it, but it is good to at least be aware of it. So here you have them: The Bible’s Buried Secrets and From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians. Enjoy!