How and Why Fervently Religious Mark Jaquith Became an Atheist

#Opinion

Thu, Feb 9th, 2012 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

In his Tempus Fugit blog, Mark Jaquith explains his life-changing conclusion that "God is almost certainly a lie, religion is a scourge upon the world, and you are wasting your life with a cultish devotion to nonsensical superstitions and soul-crushing dogmas." Oh, and we also have no soul.

It's a lengthy read, but if you are one of those folks that stopped believing in the magic guy up in the sky or are on the fence, tortured between a belief placed in you by social construction and your own skepticism, it makes for an interesting read through one man's personal journey.

As versed as I was on the minutia of Catholicism and Christianity, I had a serious problem: I wasn't feeling it. I believed it -- which is to say I held it to be true in my mind -- but on no level did I ever feel anything that might indicate it was true. Other people would talk about how they felt the Lord speaking to them. How God gave them signs. How God answered their prayers and how they could feel his presence. I got nothing. I tried to feel it. Oh, how hard I tried. I would set it up so perfectly for God. I'd pray "Look, I don't need all of this constant communication like other people get. All I need is one sign. Just give me this one sign, and we're cool." I'd designate a sign. Not even something that would be a miracle. Just something that would seem non-coincidental. And I'd wait. Nothing would happen. I'd waffle, and settle on some lesser sign. It wouldn't happen. I'd keep lowering the bar, until I would be saying something like "okay, if I look at my watch and the second hand is pointing at a number divisible by five, that's the sign." I suppose I don't have to tell you that I didn't find those downgraded "signs" convincing. Eventually I gave up trying. I kept on believing in God. I just gave up hope that it would ever be anything more than a one-way relationship. Which, of course, is no kind of relationship at all. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Was it me? Or were other people just reading signs where there were none? Didn't everyone know that the voice inside your head is just you? Did they think their conscience was God's voice, or was I just not worthy of such a divine encounter? To this day, I've not had anything that could be described as a "religious experience".

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