Once again I did that today. I brought something up with my friend; a kid next to me starting talking about it; and the conversation got pretty (more like really) red-hot. I forced myself to finally say "I don't know" just to drop the subject for good. At least from that, I realized I was right about one assumption all along.
As long as I'm different from the crowd, I will be alone but I have to coexist by causing as few problems possible.
NOTE: I do NOT hate anyone of any side of the political or religious spectrum. Both the left and right have their faults. This is a rant that has no intention whatsoever of causing offense to person; deciding to disown me as an online friend; OR starting any fiery debates. We get enough drama in American Politics.
It's incredibly tough going to a Catholic High School. No, a conservative Catholic High School. The environment is stifling, so far on the one extreme that anyone slightly away from it is looked down upon. There is almost an insincerity in how people express and present themselves. Plus, it doesn't help that the area I live in, one hour away from Philadelphia, is so rural that it has a small town essence. Everyone knows each other.
The fact that I never lived in one place longer than three years has probably fed my desire to travel and be on the move. As of August this year, I have been living in Pennsylvania for seven, long, restless years. It took me four or five to make the friends I have now. Ever since I've been here, I was the strange kid no one has ever seen before; the loner who is weird and has problems; the quiet one who hates people; the girl who must be a lesbian because no boy acknowledges her existence. I'm saying this to paint the scene; I don't expect any sympathy since I know that's how things were [and still are] and I accept that fact.
Despite my social issues that continue to persist, my biggest obstacle right now is religion. I was born and raised a Catholic, though my parents never seriously practiced. For a while, I didn't mind the fact I had religion classes in a Catholic school; it was mandatory and perfectly fine. But when the school had guests show explicit videos on anti-abortion, things started not to click with my thought process and what I was taught. My parents have always been supportive and didn't care what I believed, but my school expected that all who attended were Catholics.
But as I left my grade school and went to high school, the way religion was taught grew more and more strict and absolute. (Wouldn't it be the opposite since teenagers can think more independently than children?) My first high school wasn't too bad since my two religion teachers were cool. One of them actually encouraged reasoning and explained WHY things were a certain way (with sources other than the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) But once the school closed and fused with another, this school year has been hell. My current class is quite similar to how Dolores Umbridge treated her Defense Against the Dark Arts classes in Harry Potter 5.
Now, back onto what happened today. In religion class, my teacher showed two videos that he flipped out about and sent the class in an uproar (NOTE: I was facepalming the whole time.) A news story said that a group of atheists spent about $20,000 on a billboard sign in New Jersey saying something around the lines of:
"Christmas is a myth. Celebrate the season with reason."
In anger, Christians put up a billboard saying:
"Christmas is real. Celebrate Jesus."
As much as I believe in freedom of speech and expression... was it necessary for Christians to react over ONE SIGN? I understand one would be angry, but really? Every meager dollar bill say "In God We Trust" and our pledge of allegiance has "...one nation over God," and do atheists go all out on controversy? The difference here is that those things are everywhere. But. This. Is. Just. One. Sign! THERE ARE WORSE THINGS! But did the atheists make a smart move? If the message didn't come out so harshly, then maybe, maybe not. I think they had the right to do it, and I give that minority group credit for standing up to the majority.
My teacher argued that the atheists wasted money on a pointless sign. But didn't the Christians do the exact same thing? Pay money to raise the volume of their own voices up?
As for the argument I avoided? The boy said how angry he was by it and that how atheists believe in nothing and have far less proof than Christians do. I weaseled out... because I consider myself an agnostic atheist.
I don't believe in Christianity anymore because nothing clicked with me anymore. The basic laws of how to treat others and the concept of a higher being didn't seem too different to any other religion. The environment of "everything is black or white" set me off. Life is not that easy. If life was black or white, the abortion, contraception, abstinence, gay/lesbian/bi/transgender, and priest pedophilia issues would have ended already. There would only be one true religion. Life would be boring if there was no "grey," no uncertainty, no doubts.
The bottom line is, I have found some truth in everything I hear. I have found no absolute right answer to the big questions.
It took me a few years to think things through, but I am now coming to terms that I am still in a questioning phase in my life. But for now, I don't believe any description of a higher being has convinced me that it is true. Whatever created us, I have no idea. Why we are as we are, I have no idea. And if I am never to know the answer, than so be it. I would rather live life as I have accepted to be right and die happy. If life is a roller coaster that ends unfinished above a deep, endless pit of nothingness, let me enjoy the ride while I still can.
If no other "non-believers" or atheists think like I do, then oh well. This is what I believe. And I wasn't going to say it to that boy, or else he's treat me as if I'm a stereotypical God-denier, despairing lone soul, or a delusional girl who will die an old maid. That was a war I wasn't going to fight. But on the last day of senior year, I might go onto the intercom system and announce that I'm a non-believer. That'd be a joy comparable as to saying "SO LONG, PAST LIFE! I AM FINALLY FREE!"
I will not be surprised if anyone was offended by what I have written. But know that if my friends read this, don't think that I deeply resent believers of any faith. I disagree with how religions function and what they believe (I'm surprised my friends haven't duck-taped my opinionated mouth shut yet...) but I don't hold grudges against people because they support it. Being intentionally unreasonable, forceful, and hateful on the other hand... are things I really hate. :)
So one would ask me: Fangirl, after this long bitch-rant, why continue to go to a Catholic High School?
I have three reasons:
- Public school destroyed the happy kid I once was. I entered smiling and friendly and left depressed andreserved. If i do go to public school, I would have to go to one in an area that is deemed "backwards" and having "racial issues." This is my only option, a lesser of two evils.
- If I leave high school now, senior year will be tough. I need to readapt to a group of kids that have known each other since... freshman year. Plus, academic awards would be extremely hard for me to even possibly obtain.
- The biggest reason of all. My friends are there. The three friends who tolerate my odd, annoying self. The friends who listen to my problems, and I listen back. The friends who don't care that I don't follow the crowd. The friends who I finally can spend hours on the phone with. And the friends who tease me to pluck my eyebrows and get my drivers permit.
This rant is much longer than I anticipated... hopefully I don't get any hate messages... o_O
I conclude with this:
Believe what you want as long as you are happy. Know what is true to you and cherish it. And pick your battles. So head to a stranger's house and say, "So, what about them crazy politicians?" "Have you heard the latest religion/atheist controversy?"
And I hope you all have no injuries on the battlefield. :D