Religion; I have found my peace

I grew up in a Baptist & Church of Christ family. I was sent to a Baptist private school for a few years. I never understood the vitriolic and controlling and paranoid aspects of the church and school. I had questions that either had no answers or were unpopular. I did not cry and hold my hands up in the air during invocation, I did not understand why I didn't - but at times I wanted to. I wanted to be like them, because it was obvious I wasn't and it got me into trouble at times...because of those questions. There was tension and frustration and I was so fuckin confused at times, but how could I not be a happy little Christian like everyone around me? So fast forward to age 20, I joined the Marines and again church was pushed on me again. First in boot camp every Sunday, it was not voluntary, not really. Then later in the field, it was a means of escape, to attend service. By the time I got out, I had a little ball of hate in my gut for all things religion. For years afterwards I struggled with my relationship with it. Whenever there was a crisis I might instinctively say a prayer, but then it would fuck with me later...make me feel stupid for doing it. But then I started reading O'hair, Dawkins, Hitchins,Harris and others. I was set free! I was so happy and relieved to hear these brilliant people speaking out and making sense. I have to admit, I took pleasure in some of the satire on this website (Rin, more power to you). I enjoyed laughing at, no, ridiculing the thing that had tortured me for most of my life. But something happened recently that has changed my perception. After a few years of establishing myself as atheist and openly mocking religious beliefs and the brainwashed that perpetuate it - I witnessed an event that was very horrific and the people it happened to were left in shambles. They were literally knocked to their shoes emotionally and struggling to cope. The only thing they had in their desperation was their religion. It was obvious to me that they truly believed and it was also obvious that it was bringing them some real comfort, some actual relief. And in that instant I realized, it was time for me personally to stop poking fun. I was actually ashamed, because I had become like those I hated from my youth. I no longer feel the need to belittle. I am beyond all those ideas and doubts from my childhood that tortured me. If I can help someone else see that religion is man-made and false then great. But it is no longer my desire to be cruel, I am over it.
Uploaded 03/01/2013
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