I was raised as a Christian, low key but weekly church and we sang in the choir. Mr H was brought up with a similar background but probably ducked out earlier than me. In fact I met him at a Christian Arts Festival, he was there for the music and I was there for.... I'm not actually sure. I started going with my brother and sister in my teens, and I suppose we also went mainly for the music, and it was a 'safe' festival to go to. It was just something I did.
In my twenties, after I was married, I stopped going to church except at Christmas. Now I don't even go then because I don't want to be one of those people who only goes to church at Christmas. Mr H and I didn't have much in common with the people our age at church; instead we'd go out somewhere, to the sea or the forest, because we didn't believe that God's presence was restricted to a stone building. .
Over the last few years, both Mr H have realised separately that we're not really sure what we believe in.. Is that age? or education? or just that we've both become more questioning of things that were previously taken for granted?
Everyone believes that their religion is the 'right' one (although so many of them overlap), but now I don't know if it is. I feel a bit as though I was brought up being told that Ford was the only make of car, but no-one gave me the opportunity to test drive any of the other makes. I'm not saying I don't want a car at all but in this enlightened age who has the right to tell me it has to be a Ford. I also don't like the idea that the car manufacturer is responsible for everything, including filling the tank with fuel when required (if you can't keep up with the metaphor, I'm talking about taking responsibility for ourselves, our actions and what happens in our lives instead of relying on Somebody to sort it all for us).
Ford: "Any colour so long as it's black"
Today, as I considered for half a second that I might go to church, I checked myself. Why did I think I might go? I realised it was because I thought I ought to be thinking that I should go. Not a good reason.
Then I started thinking about the afterlife, eternal life, eternal damnation, and how some people spend their whole lives worrying about it. I realised that right here and now I'm not bothered about the afterlife, I'm quite satisfied with the present life. We think about the past and the future far too much as it is, and thinking beyond death too regularly seems to me to be.. well, odd. I suppose that the reason is that this earthly life is supposed to be just a stepping stone. But what if this turns out to be it? All of it? I'm not saying that everyone should go out and party and get hammered every night. I'm just saying that I prefer to make the most of the here and now,
And if when I die I get a shake of the head at Heaven's door, well I'll just have to take responsibility for that.