I have a confession to make. I am not, as you have possibly assumed, an atheist.
Atheism is one of those assumptions about myself which I tend to not correct. I don’t really talk about believing in things because most of the people I know are atheists; a lot of those people are pretty insistent that they’re atheists.
I guess, technically, I fall at the religious end of agnostic. I’m not specifically religious, but I think I believe in Something. I’m not sure what that Something is. I’m not sure it actually exists. I’m also not sure if that matters. All I know is that sometimes things happen that logic and science kind of can’t explain.
At school, I spent a lot of my first year of “Special Religious Education” being the only person in the class asking questions. I was fascinated by religion. By these stories and beliefs and the way so much of our society continues to revolve around them. Soon though I got a little tired of all the answers being “Because God says so.” I also found it very difficult to deal with my teacher telling us that if you didn’t believe in God, nay if you didn’t believe in her specificversion of God, then you were definitely going to burn amid external torture.
When I was about 15 I was Confirmed at an Anglican church. The minister was not just a minister, he’d studied science at university. One of my favourite sessions was when he explained to us how funny it is to take The Rapture literally. Because cells are constantly being recycled! And how could every dead person rise from their graves to wreak havoc on the living when most of the components of their bodies are now making up other things!
What he taught us was not that these writings were inscrutable truth, but that within them there were metaphors and morals that could help us live this crazy weird thing called life.
A lot of what I learnt from that experience was not about religion at all. It was about my own mortality, and the kindness of strangers. I learnt about a code of symbols which, like it or not, are at the heart of Western Society. I learnt a lot about myself as a person. It didn’t make me a devote religious believer but I do think it made me a more rounded human being.
I love a lot of the things about religion. I love saints and relics. I love that Catherine of Sienna’s first miracle was falling down some stairs and not getting hurt. I love that somewhere in Italy there is a jar of Communion wafers which apparently never go stale. I love cathedrals. I love the vast tranquillity of them and the way they make me feel… safe. I love the way people believe in things. Because they can.
Sometimes I have a problem with the way comedy approaches religion. More specifically I sometimes get a little tired of the continual slamming of Christianity. A lot of the time it feels like little more than a blatant attack. I’m not going to deny that the organisationof Christianity has done some pretty suss things in its time. I’m not going to deny that a lot of things in the bible are stupid. I’m not going to deny that a lot of Christians also happen to be nut jobs.
But believing what you like is actually a human right – it’s called The Freedom of Religion and Belief. That means that no one should be allowed to tell anyone else what they should and shouldn’t believe in. What’s the difference, really, between a fundamentalist Christian shoving their beliefs down another person’s throat and a fundamental atheist telling someone they’re an idiot for believing in what they do?
There’s an awful lot of beliefs out there. And yes, a lot of them are kind of stupid when you think about it too much. But believing in stupid things also happens to be one of the principles on which humanity is founded.  
The image features three of my favourite cathedrals. They are (from left to right) Granada Cathedral, The Duomo in Siena and The Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva in Rome.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year