The subject of how I was able to question my faith and became an atheist was briefly discussed in an earlier blog. Now time for the meat and potatoes of my blog which is to take the questioning and exploration one step further. We have great minds who have questioned faith in our society endlessly, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Friedrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill to name a few. The material available to people who would like to become more informed in their life and the decisions they are making for their children and generations to come is pretty inspiring. But what about how we view relationships?
I have briefly touched on the subject of divorce. We are at record numbers in our divorce rates with almost no end in site. And I wonder how many people actually question why this is? I have heard the argument so many times that so and so did this and that, broke my heart, cheated, we grew apart, etc. But why is this occurring really? In our society marriage is an institution for monogamy, raising children and in Quebec especially, getting tax breaks. If you are a person of faith, this goes one step further and is sanctioned by God. That you promise to be faithful to not only your spouse but to God and to be fruitful and multiply, a sure fire way to bring the next generation into religion.
But oddly this idea of marriage still is not lasting even with the legal expense of divorce and the bond breaking with God. Could it be that it is time to expand on our limited ideals of what marriage should be and in essence our relationships in general? If the top three reasons for divorce in Canada are : Communication, Money and Cheating, then perhaps the reasons we get married should be re-evaluated. Humans have the basics in common, to want to share experiences with fellow humans, eat and have sex. So now is the time to start questioning why we would ruin meaningful relationships over money and sex, and open up the channels for communication over what actually matters.
I think we can get to a point where money is just money, sex is just sex and we find a partner to share the raising of children and our experiences with, for better and worse. I am questioning why I was raised to believe that monogamous relationships work, if this is only a myth and is there something much better out there. Something that fits the human condition much better for men and for women. I know that mistakes will be made and feelings may get in the way but I am willing to put my fears on hold for the exploration of the most amazing relationship and finding the partner to share that with. I am trying to explore solutions for the demise of marriage and lasting relationships in our society.
The rampant increase of dating sites and ways to meet people is overwhelming right now, but before we get to a point where speed dating is the normal way to have a relationship, lets accept that the confines of a relationship are becoming broader. Our society is becoming more educated and with that restrictions must be questioned. If we start judging people based on a few minutes with a skewed perception of what marriage and a relationship really mean than our next generation is going to have an increase in broken homes and more challenges to face.
Ask the scary question of why your relationship would end right at the beginning, try and get on the same page with open communication and let us start evolving our ideals with education and acceptance.
When I was a little girl, the idea of hell was a very scary place, and I was directed to pray each night before I went to bed. I tried very hard to be a good Christian when I was entered into the Catholic school system at the age of 8. As I grew up I was given every opportunity to ask questions, read any book I wanted, and ultimately given freedom with my personal spirituality.
When I was 14, I openly became agnostic, which evolved to atheism as a late teenager. As an atheist religion has always been a secret fascination of mine. I first read ” A Skeleton in God’s Closet” when I was in high school which just blew my mind. Although it was fiction, it had an unsettling way of ending right where it should have began, it ended with religion being the only answer and all the evidence that riveted me to the contrary in the elaborate hoax. I realize it is a very cut and dry summation but its meaningful also because it is the last fictional book that I have purchased. This book had such a major impact on the reading material I have chosen from there on in.
As well there are some amazing writers out there who have opened my eyes to the possibility that what the faithful wanted to be a hoax, in the novel above, could actually be a reality. For example, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail”, which predates any of the fiction that Dan Brown has written. I truly am of the opinion that each book you read leaves a little bit inside that shapes your reality going forward. I want to be shaped by factual research and well written material and not some dribble about vampires or wizards.
Once I switched to non-fiction the pieces of the puzzle which religion tried to answer for me, were finally answered, by the ironic lack of it. As a girl trying to be the best Christian I could, I was always trying to please this invisible being. I was constantly seeking signs and reassurances that I was on the correct path in life. I would find signs in nature, my food, the weather, really anything. The weird thing was when religion was finally absent from my life, I realized that the only person I needed to please was me. The idea that I am the only judge and jury of how I live my life, and how I appear to the people I surround myself with has been my own personal salvation.
Religion has caused incredible harm, and bloodshed throughout our history, but unless we research and learn from our past mistakes we are doomed to repeat this cycle and raise children who do not look to themselves or their parents for answers, but rather turn to some invisible being. I know who I want to raise my children, and it is not the voices in their heads or some pious male preaching at church. Making mistakes is not sin, it is part of being human, what you learn from those mistakes is the real value to your humanity.