Listening to The Hush Sound always makes me feel religious.
Do you know, my mom’s whole extended family is Catholic? Well, like, a bunch of them are. German Catholics, the lot. My mom went to a Catholic Girls’ School andrebelled because as a girl she was rebellious and too busy taking tea kettles full of beer through airport security to go to mass.
I am angry about this. I want to be Catholic! If I was Catholic, my life would be 10% better at least. I could be a nice dissenting Catholic girl. But you can’t JOIN Catholicism as a dissenter! That doesn’t work. I am trapped out here, a sad lonely atheist who loves religion and can’t join any because you can’t JOIN as a cultural Catholic, you can’t JOIN as a cultural religious person who is actually an atheist. 100% unfair.
cue college ~deep thinking philosophizing etc.
Closest I ever came to being religious, my mom gave me a couple books on Wicca when I was 12 and I was pagan until I realized I was actually atheist during my Junior year of high school. Probably the closest I will ever be to being religious, unless I am lucky enough to marry someone culturally religious and I convert so we can get married in The Church/Temple/Etc. My current s.o. was basically raised atheist, so he is useless to me.
At least with neo-pagan Nature religions, that shit can actually make sense to me. Like, the divine as a metaphor for the wonder and power of the universe, which is something I really, truly believe and feel. I once got drunk with my Catholic friend and we stayed up until seven o’clock in the morning talking about the Big Bang and atoms and the stars churning out the elements and the way I described it, drunk and eighteen with eyes full of drunkphilosophers’ wonder, he said I believed in God as he understood it.
Maybe he can vouch for me and they’ll baptize me at St. Whatever’s. St. Mary’s. Is that how it works? I can skip the catechism and just have a good Catholic sign off on me?
My Greek Orthodox friend explains God the best way she knows how, which is as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and that makes sense to me. Not in the way she means it, but like… the beginning and the end. That’s God. Young People’s Evangelical Churches love to slap “God is Love” all over everything, and that makes sense to me, too. Not like, God is some anthropomorphisized embodiment of love, or a loving being but like, God is love. Love is God. That makes sense to me.
I’m a materialist. I don’t believe there exists anything outside or beyond the physical world. Nothing transcends. There is no “more”. But there is so much! There is so much. Why would we need anything more when we can watch Pale Blue Dot and cry our eyes out because it’s so beautiful? I want to worship that. There is no Divine Plan, there are no souls, there are no soul mates. But science can prove that everything is connected, everything affects everything else, everyone came from the same place and quantum strings tug at the hearts of atoms from across infinity and we are made of star stuff and that is real. That’s real.
I love religion because I understand fully and completely the urge to worship. I think about all this and I just want to worship. To devote myself. If I’d been raised Catholic and born with less of a sex drive, I woulda been a nun in a heartbeat. Less. I am not shitting around here, I’ve read books on it, I’ve read nuns’ blogs, I know the downsides and the upsides and the requirements, and THAT makes sense to me. To devote yourself to worship, forever. What could be more worthy? Sure, there is no tribal sky god waiting for us after we die.
But there is so much. How am I supposed to do anything else when all I can think of is the big bang, of growing time and space and the first stars and the last stars, of the atoms and elements, of water and earth and light and life; when I sit in a car and am overwhelmed by the miracle that we are here with our highways in the midst of it all.
People ask me what my fibonacci tattoo means. This is what it means. It means I look at images of the universe, at pictures of galaxies with their arms reaching out in the same spiral as the leaves of the plant on my coffee table, and I cry real tears.
How does an atheist worship?