Wednesday, July 29, 2009


"I don't wanna hear you say you're sorry
I don't wanna hear you say we can start all over again
I think you must think that I'm stupid
Well I might be stupid for the rest of my life
but I'll never be stupid for you again
I just want it all to go away..."

Everclear, New Blue Champion

I enter a low, small building that some people have set up as a sort of synagogue. It looks like it was someone's house, but it is bare of furnishings, even of carpet. The walls are white and the light is dim, as though lit with many invisible candles. My friend and I are hanging around by the front doorway, unsure of what to do: we are not Jewish, and we do not want to show any disrespect to anyone. We notice a sign that tells people coming in to remain by the front door until shown where to go by someone in charge, and I am glad to find that we've been doing the right thing. "Remember," the sign warns, "You are in the presence of God."

To the left of the front door when you enter is a small brick firepit, tucked into an alcove, filled with iridescent rocks. The candlelight is stronger here, though still, I see no candles. We wait, and two priests approach; they are young, friendly and welcoming, with white robes and black hair and glasses. They smile and the front one extends his hand in either prayer or blessing. I bow my head out of some combination of habit and respect. Suddenly, I feel the air in the room grow heavy, tremulous. I am dizzy under the weight of it, numb and drunken. "Do you feel this??" my friend asks me. She is pitching forward; reeling back. I'm having trouble standing up as well; I feel my head spinning, my knees buckling. I fight it. I am angry, because I'm sure it's the presence of God. It feels so warm, and so peaceful, and at the same time, so terribly, terribly threatening. It'd be so easy to sink, to let myself back in at this point. To succumb.

Isn't this what I'd always wanted? To experience God like this? Isn't this what I had prayed for every time it happened to everyone else? Some mark, some token by which I would know that God had accepted me too? But it was always withheld from me for some reason. Until now. After I'd spent so long fighting for my mental and emotional freedom. Instead of feeling accepted, I feel betrayed. Manipulated. Fuck you, dude.

"See?" a little internal voice nags, "You ARE hardening your heart! You nonbelievers all rationalize away the truth of God because you're too uncomfortable with what it would mean for you." Ugh. Fuck it. Fuck you all. I begin thinking about what I'd been reading recently about brainwaves and suggestibility, and that focus seems to make the feelings fade away. I go and sit people while they talk and eat, quietly processing my experience. Composing a blog post in my head, even.

I wish I could say I felt some sort of triumph by the end of the dream, or even when I woke up. I suppose I began to feel calmer, but never quite shook the nagging, internal voice. Thing is, even if it's right, I don't care. And I suppose that's the point.


Fiat Lex said...

Even if it's something real, you don't want to allow evil, unscrupulous people to use it as a means of controlling you.

'S one of the reasons I'm fond of saying atheists--not the reflexively insulting ones but those who have thought it through--are some of God's favorite people. Because even if God's name and presence have power, refer back to something real, it is the act of a fool to trust them simply because of that power.

The Woeful Budgie said...

Even if that evil, unscrupulous person is me? :)

Ok, perhaps "evil and unscrupulous" is a bit of a stretch, but my point is that I didn't need anyone outside controlling me. I'd become a self-regulating unit. Even if the church had disappeared, I'd still have kept myself dutifully bound by the same self-loathing and second-guessing that I'd named "God".

But yeah, toward the tail end of my deconversion, the one hope I can remember having about God was this: that if he was good in any consistent, recognizable way, then he'd prefer that even though I couldn't bring myself to love him for the benevolent deity he was, then I'd at least stopped acting like such a twitchy little kiss-ass toward the petty tyrant he wasn't.

Which I suppose means that, in some convoluted way, leaving Christianity was my final act of faith.

Fiat Lex said...

:D So your feeling was, "If this is what God is like, then I don't want him...And if this isn't what God is like, which I would really be nice, then he wouldn't want me wasting my life on this bullshit."

I am in total agreeance. Firm accorditude. Absolute supportification.

Oh! I must link you to a lovely post by barkingreed: a tale of two circles. It is about the two Christianities; the one we left versus the one which is alleged to exist.

What a pity that in real life the first circle seems to be so much bigger.