Her hand basket is packed and she’s ready to go!

I guess it’s time I go into my religion topic. This should be interesting. Let me start with my religious history.

My parents were both raised Church of Christ. And when I came along, we attended the Church of Christ regularly. I went to Sunday school, not on a regular basis but occasionally. Many times, I skipped Sunday School and sat through the regular service with my parents. I spent most my time doodling on the church bulletin to keep myself occupied. I recall many occasions as I got a little older that my sisters would tell me it wouldn’t hurt for me to actually pay attention during the sermons. But I found them quite boring and generally doodled or slept on my mother’s lap as she would play with my hair. We stopped going to church when I was around the age of 13 or so. As I recall, there was a falling out at our church over the current minister leaving and I guess my parents were not very happy with our church for letting him go. The last minister I recall from that church was Joe Beam. And oddly enough, he is now quite popular nationally with his lesson about sex in marriage. I’m gonna guess that’s why they ran him out of Montgomery.

So, my knowledge of the Bible is quite limited. I don’t claim to know or understand any of it. What I do know from my upbringing in the Church of Christ is that if I was not baptized in the church, I am going to hell. That sure stuck with me. In the Church of Christ, you were not baptized until you made the decision on your own to be baptized in the church. I never “felt it” and was never baptized before we quit going. My mother returned to the Church of Christ after her first cancer diagnosis and surgery but my father refused to go. I was in college by that time and was not living at home when my mother started going again. And quite frankly, I don’t think I thought about going to church or religion at all until Adam died.

When I was at my lowest point after Adam’s death, I thought going back to church might bring me some answers I was seeking. I was single and living in Pensacola at the time so I researched some Church of Christ locations. Gateway Church of Christ was a large congregation in Pensacola and I thought it might offer me more since the congregation was so big. I started attending the main services but did not go to Sunday school. I never felt I could go to Sunday school since my knowledge of the Bible was so limited, I thought I would look like an idiot and I didn’t want to face that. I had several older couples embrace me there when I would attend and before I knew it, I had people showing up at my door at home. THAT I could not take. I didn’t want them coming to my home. And each sermon I sat through, I heard over and over that people like Adam were bad and were destined to go to hell. That was something else I couldn’t stomach. And I began to think, if he was in hell, that’s where I wanted to go. So I quit going.

I have a hard time believing that good people will go to hell just because they did not attend the right kind of church. Does it not matter what kind of person you are? Certainly, if there is indeed a God, he does not punish good people because they did not attend the right church or did not get baptized. But what proof do I have that there even IS a God? I observe things that happen in this world and I have to wonder. Some of the greatest, most Christian and loving people I have ever known have been stricken with cancer and died no matter how hard they fought. And many times I see such good people dealt a situation they do not deserve. Some great friends have been blessed with a child but their child has Autism or Cerebral Palsy. And those poor children…what did they do to be brought into this world with such an affliction? Children are the innocent.

I’ve had arguments with some of my best Christian friends about people who are gay. And I’ve been told by some these friends that being gay is a choice. I ask, why would someone CHOOSE to be something that will have them ostracized by their family and friends? And looked down upon. I truly believe they do not choose that. I personally believe they are born that way. And most I know were conflicted for years or are still conflicted over this issue. If it were a choice, they would choose otherwise. I know they would. They merely want to be accepted and be “normal”.

So when my cat Bob had cancer and was hanging on to life by a thread, I had to make the decision to put him down. My first pet to have to deal with such an issue. Bob was by best buddy and he loved me completely. I did what I thought was best for him. And I came home with Bob in a plastic trash bag inside his carrier. I was horrified they had put him in a plastic bag but no one told me to bring anything other than my cat in his little carrier with a towel. I arrived home and watched as Luke dug the hole in our back yard in Daphne and buried my Bob…still in that plastic bag. And I cried and cried. And for some reason, the thoughts that came to my mind at that time were about me and how I was destined to go to hell because I’d never been baptized in the Church of Christ. It was the first real discussion Luke and I ever had about religion…in depth. And amazingly enough, we were on the same plane. And I felt a little better.

What proof do I have that heaven and hell even exist? None that I’ve seen. What proof do I have that God exists? None that I have seen. I am of the belief that we are here…we’re here right now…and when we die, we are gone. I have times when I feel Adam is with me. I have times  when I feel my two grandfathers with me. But is that just my mind playing tricks on me? I once had a detailed, vivid dream about my grandfather. When I woke the next morning, I told my mother all about it. And she looked at the calendar and said that this morning was the morning my grandfather died. I certainly had not consciously remembered the date of his death. I was in elementary school when he died. But who is to say my mind didn’t recall that?

Did all those stories in the Bible actually happen? I don’t think so. I think perhaps a variation of those stories happened and someone recorded them but I am not certain they were not embellished. So, I call myself agnostic. That scares people…especially in the South. But am I agnostic or atheist? I’m not sure. Let’s look at the definition of agnostic: 1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as god, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. 2.a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study. That being said, I cannot imagine that there are NOT people who are agnostic! I just feel if you are a thinking person at all, you MUST have some doubts. But most don’t…or won’t say they do…because that would doom them to hell, right? How can you fully and completely believe all the events of the Bible to be truth and believe that Jesus will come back? I just can’t. I can’t grasp that.

Therefore, I am a doubter. And should I be banished to hell, I should have many friends there with me….some of whom I miss greatly. And I have no doubt that if there is indeed a heaven, my mother is there celebrating and reaping the great reward she so deserves.