Not All Who Wander Are Lost

The Christianity of my youth was a bubble of protection for me. I didn’t realize how effective the sheltering was until recently. When faced with the opposing belief system, I find myself feeling exposed. Atheism doesn’t believe in God, but it also doesn’t believe in life after death. This is it. No floating towards the light. No reunion with loved ones. None of the comfort of mom’s Thanksgiving dressing and pumpkin pie.

Why don’t I go back home? Back to Christianity or even a milder form of religion? I’ve asked myself the same thought. My goal was to have a view of Christianity from the outside. I wanted to see without the bias of being raised in the buckle of the Bible belt. I practically cut my teeth on a church hymnal. All of my memorization and early explorations were from the Petri dish of religion. I crawled out of this swamp on purpose. I wanted a different view. I wanted to see the world without the limitations of religious doctrine.

Now I realize that I was sheltered. As much as growing up in a large family is different to growing up an orphan. Well, here I am. A lot of limitations are in other’s beliefs also. Why does everyone have to lock down their beliefs? I hate closed doors and locked boxes. Why do we have to believe in anything in particular? What if I went the entirety of my life and never believed any belief. Does that make me a Buddhist? It might take me on the path of Buddha now that I think of it. Humorous how our lives are. We aren’t comfortable with people who don’t decide. The first thing we want to know of someone is their work. What do you do? Then marital status. Married? Children? Then we migrate to political and religious notions. Define yourself, we say.

As I ponder life after death or even just this life, I realize it truly doesn’t matter what I believe. Life is, now. If there is a reincarnation then I’m coming back to fix bad karma and enjoy the good that I have created. If this is all there is, I won’t realize it since I will be gone. As it was before I was born. It will be no matter what I believe. I can’t swallow a pill or chant 1000 times to force a belief. Once exposed, a lie is no longer deceiving. You see it for the illusion it once was, much like the saying, What’s been seen cannot be unseen. I stand in the valley of the shadow of death, but I fear no evil.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

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