Life, the Universe, MS & Me

Sunday Special Number One

I have decided to start a series of Sunday specials, the topics will be those requested here below or on twitter. The subjects will be everything and anything provided I can get something out of it.


6/12/09. This week @Surzy has asked if I write about my thoughts on Christmas as a not-really believer living in a Christian household. Just a small topic then. And one that won’t in any way get me killed if they happen upon my blog (thank Pete for fingerprint sensors in laptops).


I suppose I had better start this with a small recount of my relationship with religion. I was started off young going to a Church of England church. I don’t remember when I started going but I remember going to little Sunday school and then to The Link before I decided to join the choir when I was nine. Yep that’s correct your very own writer was a good little choir girl, I had medals from the Royal School of Church Music to prove it. In fact I had my conformation when I was 12, it’s normally done at 13 but the Rector wrote to the bishop to ask if he minded. I went to C of E schools too.


So what happened in the intervening years between kneeling in front of the bishop, being anointed with oil, and pledging my eternal soul and where I am now? Jebus this could be a long story but I will try and keep it short.


My mother got a new boyfriend (my parents divorced when I was 11) a bloke at work that had a fish sticker on his tool box. So we left Exeter and moved to the countryside, my mother had actually guilt tripped me into moving with her, my brother stayed with our dad. Now we had been out that way a few times to go to the church that he went to and I must say I found it a little disturbing. They were evangelicals you see. All that jumping about and shouting and a tendency to scream and fall down when you have been brought up in the C of E tradition can be a bit of a shock to the system. That and I did rather think, as I had always understood that prayer went with quiet contemplation that they were being a bit… I don’t know, undignified certainly, irreverent, possibly. Well what ever it was I had a certain sense of it. Now most people who went there were the kindest people you could wish to meet and I mean no offence to them. Mother’s boyfriend however was and is a twat. One of those people who, not only reads the Daily Mail and thinks that they wouldn’t put things on TV if they weren’t true, but has funny ideas about what constitutes deviating from Christianity.


For instance, on the day we were moving he wouldn’t let me take my picture of a unicorn I had on the wall in my bedroom, he wouldn’t have it in the house. He does not allow any products with Proctor and Gamble written on them because they used to have Neptune as their logo, he thought I called him john two days after we moved in and it’s not his ‘Christian’ name so he slapped me round the face. I was 13 (see I tell you I would be murdered if they find I own certain books and you don’t believe me).



So between the weird bouncy people and the hateful mother’s boyfriend I was kind of going off religion to be honest. I gradually eased myself away from the church first by looking after the toddlers (ah the power of playdoh!) and then not going at all by feigning teenager tiredness (although he did threaten to throw me out for not going then which at 15 years old would have been amusing).


I guess the next step to where I am now with the whole thing would be going to Uni, being out of the house and doing my own thing. But more than that because the course I had put myself on was truly mind expanding.


The first week I was there one of our lecturers started by saying these things.


Everything you have been told is probably wrong

The past never existed

There is no such thing as a fact


Then we had to try and prove the existence of his invisible dragon*. Essentially I lost religion, in the sense of how we classify it, the more I understood it. But I am not an agnostic and I don’t think I would describe myself as an atheist either. I am actually quite open to anything really. I realise that some people desperately need something to cling to but, I see the void and I am happy with it to be that, I don’t feel the need to fill it with religion, philosophy or theoretical physics. These all amount to fulfilling the same basic human need, a way of understanding what’s around us, and they are as interesting as each other for the incurably curious (as I am). I believe in nothing. Actual nothing.


So, my thoughts on Christmas then. Well should my religious belief, or lack there of become known in this house I will be killed so I have to maintain a certain amount of pretence you understand but, you know I do quite like it. I like it for gathering people together; I like it for the exchanging presents and seeing my family. I particularly like it for its links to pseudo-pagan mid-winter festivities because I think it’s hilarious. Christmas as a religious festival, I can take or leave really. I believe in nothing and so I find that if it takes my fancy today, why not? If it doesn’t well, no great loss. But really, you know, it can be quite a warm and snuggly time of year so, whilst you have your government given day off, go and snuggle warmly your nearest and dearest because that’s what it’s for.



*it was in his head the whole time


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Can I nab the topic to blog about too? Please pretty please? 😀

Comment by TheMagicOfMedicine

yep course you can! xx

Comment by helen1984

Helen. A great read. Very sad to hear about your experience with the evangelists … I grew up with a number of those types – and on several occasions I was invited along to their ‘conventions’ bizarrely uplifting events where people clapped and cheered and generally enjoyed being around each other – as a gathering of human beings – lovely. As a religious event – terrifying!!

Thank you for writing this.

Surzy x x

Comment by Surzy

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