It Takes Conviction To Be Trully Religious: Reflections Of A Happy-Clappy Turned Agnostic Atheist

1 May

I have done the whole nine yards when it comes to my religious “quest.”

Growing up in rural Transkei my first church experience memory was in the Zionist church. This was both fun and scary. I enjoyed “isigubhu”(the homemade drum) and it was always fun to watch or take part in “idresi”(a word most probably borrowed from English and the original word is still unknown to me)- anywho this was when the worshipers would form a circle and dance around it a la whirling dervish. Since most of these services took place in rondavels(huts) not exactly designed to hold large groups of people I was usually claustrophobic when the door was closed, lit candles and burning “mpepho”(incense).
Zionists were also famous for delivering a good wallop during exorcism and laying of hand which basically charecterised Zion worship.
Then there were the “prophesy” sessions where all manner of maladies and troubles were revealed in full view of an enthralled audience that was partly wrapped up in its own spiritual throes.
Those closest to God were often slain in the spirit and this was a fascinating spectacle to watch. Throw in the odd seance and my Sunday was done. Having thrown in a two cent coin in the collections plate we would all go home spiritually revived confident in the knowledge that we would not burn in hell. Oh what a mighty God we served.

I have also hopped to the St John’s Apostolic church at a few occasions. They had good rhythm and the inclination to drop Sesotho words in their sermons was nice to listen to. I was however disturbed by persistent rumors of “ukuthwala” and other occult practices. The mass ritualistic enema sessions early in the mornings were an instant turn off I must say.

Enter the methodist church, my maternal side of the family’s official church and Sunday School. I took to the teachings(read indoctrination) with great enthusiasm. Methodist Church preachers have a natural inclination to shout from the rooftop and the music is really uplifting if not a tad disorderly. These are the people I now looked up to for spiritual guidance. Once again rumors of witchcraft resurfaced. The Right Reverends started assasinating each other and the church split into factions. These are people who really believed in the existence of God.

As I grew older I joined the charismatic movement.
This was a whole new ball game with all sorts of metaphysical and supernatural experiences. Being “slain in the spirit” was commonplace. I met a new God who wanted a personal relationship. I spoke in tongues with the rest of the brethren. I was disturbed however, that I had no idea what I was saying. I went through the motions. In retrospect I can see how a feeling of ecstatic utopia can be interpreted as a personal experience with the divine. Our pastor’s wife was a pathological liar and upon close scrutiny the pastor himself was a character of questionable morals.

Along the line I was drawn to the teachings of Muhammad and I began reading the Quran much to the chagrin of my father who was an unpracticing Seventh Day Adventist. I continued to read the Quran but was greatly disturbed by just about all the muslims I knew. Surely no god, who is supposedly the embodiment of love and all that is charitable would condone and reward some of the practices, suicide bombers and fruit & veg shop owners come to mind.

And then I was shipped to an Adventist institution for a good three years. Oh they did a number on all of us. I must say though I fell hopelessly in love with Adventist music. Soothing. Harmonies that transport one to another plain. I was hooked. Hooked but not convinced. At this point I need to tell you I come from a proud line of adventist pastors. I kept this up for a number of years until I thought to self: stuff it. I saw through the theatrics and hypocrisy.

I have now decided that if there is a god, my better judgment thinks otherwise, he will talk to me him/herself in a language that I understand and screw the multitude of theologies that continue to enslave people around the world.
I refuse to continue to believe in a deity that “created” me for his sole entertainment.
I refuse to live in constant guilt that the lord watcheth over me as I do what comes naturally be what I eat, who I sleep with and what I say.
I refuse to believe in a god that has a fiery furnace roaring in wait for me and most importantly I will be damned I continue to believe in a god who communicates via an imperfect medium whether it be corrupted(read questionable) scripture, hypocritical preachers or mental enslaving religion.

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4 Responses to “It Takes Conviction To Be Trully Religious: Reflections Of A Happy-Clappy Turned Agnostic Atheist”

  1. nkosi valashiya May 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    I worship God and praise him as my ancestor. And that is the way of life i intend to teach my kids one day. I must say, reading this post was thought provokin.. but im not moved, not an inch. If you dnt believe there is a higher power who created the universe, then how do u explain the origins of men on planet earth? By all means kind sir, school me.

    • vukile October 4, 2012 at 3:23 am #

      a ridiculously late response there nkosi but my take is i dont claim to know. god as far as im concerned is an invention that we created to explain the inexplicable. were i to have children i would rather they chose that path themselves. it all starts as children when we are all hearded to centres of worship because ‘thats just the way it is.’ i still refute the fact that my life is on this earth to worship. this would mean im ‘created’ for some mysterious entity’s sole entertainement and ‘heaven’ forbid should i not toe the line. like i said if hes out there9the mystery alone is just ridiculous) he will, like i always say, speak to me in a language that i understand. him/her/itself. as far as im concerned this universe regulates itself as it has been doing for millenia.

  2. sqomane May 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Heavens knows I’ve been through all of this! I am left confused and also chose to have my own personal relationship with God in my head.

  3. Art King July 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Congratulations on climbing out of the slippery pit of self-delusion and stepping onto the solid ground of common sense, reason, and secular morality. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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