Well, here I go again. It was just about a year ago that I embarked upon a weeklong trip in the midst of diehard Catholics, and now I’m preparing to do it once more. I leave tomorrow. That trip last year was, for me, the final challenge as I deconverted: could I remain a steadfast atheist in the face of not only physical labor but also an overwhelming Catholic influence? Could I look into the eyes of the men and women who shaped me during my early religious formation, knowing that I no longer believed any of the things they’d worked so hard to teach me? Could I handle being the only person in a crowded room who didn’t buy into the mumbo-jumbo being touted at the altar?
Apparently the answer was yes.
So why go back? Didn’t I suffer enough the last time? Haven’t I had my fill of awkwardness and discomfort? Well, yes and no. I’m exaggerating how awful it was; no one really knew I was an atheist at that point, so most of the tension was in my head. But this year I’m out in the open. I’m not hiding anymore. And that means someone could (and perhaps will) call me on it.
I’m not scared. In fact, I kind of hope someone does call me on it. Preferably in private: I’ll be unable to make any headway whatsoever in a public setting with the deck stacked so heavily against me. But whether anyone does or not, I’m very aware that people know. I mean, I shouldn't care. I don’t care. But it’s still a bit difficult to go along with prayers and mass and such (or as I like to call it, “let’s play make-believe”) when other people know I’m faking it.
I fully expect to have a great time. I don’t think anything will go awry and I feel confident that I can outwit or stalemate anyone who tries to discuss their beliefs with me. I just wanted to leave this little primer here, and a teaser as well: I’ll be hand writing entries during the week, and I’ll backdate them into this blog when I return. So now you have something to look forward to!
See you in a week. Wish me luck!