Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jesus Tastes Like Cardboard

It's true; ask any Catholic. 

I thought I should start my new blog with an attention-getter, so yeah. Cardboard.   

I was the daughter of Catholic parents--well, a Catholic mom, anyway--and attended parochial schools through high school. On a weekly basis, I tasted first-hand the dull, dry wafer that millions of people in this world believe to be converted into Jesus's body during the sacrament of the eucharist. Not symbolically converted; actually converted. 

I can still summon up the memory of that taste, but I can't summon up a memory of a time when I genuinely believed it. I said to myself that I believed it, and I said, "Amen," when the priests proffered the little off-white disk with the secret code words. I knew the right answer. But honestly? Nothing. 

I stopped going to mass once I moved into my college dorm room. I dabbled with various denominations when I married an Episcopalian, especially after we had kids. But once I determined to do an honest self-examination, the gig was up: I'm an atheist. 

Or secular humanist, if you'd like reassurance that there is a moral code at work to keep me from murder and mayhem. 

None of my friends or family have come out to me as atheists yet, though some of them probably are. I don't ask everyone I know. It's personal. But sometimes it comes up in conversation.  

The point is, you wouldn't know it from looking at me (unless I'm wearing my "Village Atheist" t-shirt). I have no flashing eyes, no floating hair. There's nothing extraordinary about my life experience. I'm just the heretic next door. 

I don't wish to disavow you of your faith, but if you'd like to know more about one non-believer's beliefs--assuming you can suppress the urge to weave a circle round me thrice and close your eyes with holy dread--read on.