I was raised as a Christian Scientist (I have not met any other atheists with this
background, which sort of surprises me). Quick note about Christian Scientists:
they believe that the material world does not exist. They also take literally the
“God created everything and it was good” part of the bible, which means they believe
there is no pain or evil, it is all just an illusion (like the material world). So,
imagine being three years old and falling down and scraping your knee, and your
parents tell you “You’re not hurt”. Not in a “there, there it’s not so bad” kind of
way, but in terms of “pain doesn’t exist but if you acknowledge it, you give the
illusion power, therefore do not acknowledge it”. So as a kid I was very very
confused. In addition to these weird beliefs, they also hold the standard weird
Christian beliefs, and I remember arguing with my Sunday school teachers about
passages in the bible (the prodigal son was one that stuck in my gullet). I always
thought there was something wrong with me because I did not feel the presence of god
like everyone around me seemed to.
Unfortunately, I didn’t just scrape my knee as a kid but was sexually abused by my
maternal grandfather. Couldn’t tell anyone though, because evil does not exist,
Fast forward to post-college, when I finally got out of Christian Science, I tried
various other forms of Christianity, searching for someone, wanting there to be
someone watching out for me. Which I’d also wished for as a kid, but to no avail.
I got involved in a twelve step program too, which was very big on a Higher Power,
and I kept trying for years to feel the presence that wasn’t there.
Years later, I developed adult-onset epilepsy and had years of seizures, then had to
have brain surgery to stop them. There is nothing like facing death to make you
take a good look at your life. I realized that maybe there was not something wrong
with me, maybe just maybe, there was no “presence” there to be felt. What a relief,
I wasn’t broken and unloved after all!
I am very grateful to those who blog and tweet about atheism, as they have allowed
me to join a community of others who have stepped outside the bounds of god-belief.
After a lifetime of feeling like the one puzzle piece that did not fit, I am no