Recently there was a discussion about religion in my family and it made me stop and think about how I ended up where I am now.
I was raised as a Christian. I went to Sunday School, I learned about Christianity at school and I was confirmed in the church when I was about 13.
Whenever I was at primary school though, it occurred to me that a lot of what I was being told made no sense. I even remember when I was 11 my teacher saying to me "you're more of a scientific person aren't you Rachael?" I think it was pretty clear I wasn't going to blindly believe in something I had doubts about.
Alas, I went along with religion for a couple of years for my dad's sake. At secondary school I tried out the Scripture Union although, once again, I was not that convinced. Around the first couple of years of secondary school I referred to myself as "Agnostic" ie. I had no idea if it was right or wrong but felt it was dubious.
Things made less and less sense and I stopped partaking in any religious activity. I held my head high during prayer time with my eyes open and I skipped out on obviously religious talks being held for our year to listen to.
I started referring to myself as an atheist about halfway through secondary school. Although that sounds pretty concrete about what I believed, there were still ambiguities. If heaven doesn't exist, what does happen when I die? This went unanswered in my mind for a few years to come.
As I became more and more depressed, I tried anything I could to make myself feel better. I decided to try out Christianity once more and began to read some Bible passages at night. I thought it would give my life meaning and make me feel like I'm worth something.
I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm not sure what other people read into in those passages but all I felt was that I'm an even worse person than I originally thought. I gave up.
Next, I decided to print out the entire book of the Church of Satan to try out. I'm not too sure why but I didn't feel I fit into it either. I don't think I loved myself enough to warrant being selfish. I next was willing to try Buddhism but at this point thought maybe religion wasn't for me.
My current thinking is that religion works for a lot of people to help them through difficult times or just to guide them in their life. It shouldn't be hated on for that purpose. Personally, I'm trying to figure out how to get through life and get through difficult times with my own inner strength. I want to be able to guide myself.
My current thinking for the afterlife is that there is nothing. Once it ends, it ends. The elements that make up my body will return to earth to become part of something else. But for me? Everything stops. That may sound a little depressing but I try not to think about it.