I’ll talk more later about my path to fundamentalism, but for now, just know that I was born into an intensely Catholic family but became a fundie in my teens, eventually marrying a preacher. I hung out there in that general vein for about ten years before walking away from it.
It’s funny to me that the thing that mattered most to me in my fundie days, “what will happen when we die?” is something I just don’t worry about anymore. Nobody knows for sure, and people who say they do are lying. If there are gods, and if those gods are good, they’ll care more about what we do and how we treat each other than about whose cosmic butt we kissed while we were walking this earth.
The moment I realized that nobody really had the faintest idea what was really going on, the moment I saw that everybody acting certain was faking it, the moment I realized that reality just did not align with the source material, that was the moment I realized I could not participate in a farce any longer. I was laying in bed one Sunday morning, the sunlight pouring in through my tastefully-decorated bedroom window into a room that looked like Martha Stewart had gotten sick in it, and I realized I just had no more energy to believe anymore. Like the heroine in “V for Vendetta,” the fear had just been burned out of me and I felt exhausted and empty, but not in a bad way, more in the way of a vessel soon to be filled after having been washed. I had been reading the Bible the day before and had seen some things in it that could no longer be reconciled, and over a long night of tossing and turning, my fear had evaporated along with any vestiges of belief. I realized that I could just say I was not going to church, and that while my preacher husband would not be happy with that, he could not make me go. Nobody could.
And so I said I wasn’t going, and yes, my husband was not happy, but yes, despite some rather blustery arguments and attempts to drag me out of bed, he could not make me go. I slept and drowsed alone in a pastel-draped bed while he went angrily alone to church and made excuses for me. I felt free and light and happy for the first time in many years. It would still be a year before I was fully disentangled of both the religion and the husband, but my feet were on the path and nothing would stop me from finding my way out of the dungeon.
Since then, I’ve felt that same clarion-call of the soul, that same spiritual awakening, that same lifting-up of the spirit, in other ways, but that was the first one I ever had, and so it is probably the most intense of all the ones that were to follow. I would learn that these Blinding Flashes of the Obvious were not unique in or out of Christianity; that they were just part of being human, that everybody gets them about something at some point. I had been involved in tabletop D&D gaming in my younger years, and I thought of it as my having made my saving throw against illusion. I’d rolled to disbelieve, and now nothing at all could induce me to believe again. I was past it. I was over it. I was done. I was exhausted. But I was ready for the next adventure as I learned the truth about the false teachings I’d absorbed my entire life.
What in the world had I been reading in the Bible? We’ll talk about that next time.