Previously published on my Tumblr page, http://a-woman-apart.tumblr.com/
I think that there’s a quote floating around somewhere that says that the opposite of love isn’t hate; it says that the opposite of love is actually apathy. The opposite of the concern born of love is the cool, dismissive disinterest that is born of simply not caring at all.
The argument for this is that hatred is not love’s true opposite, because when you hate someone, they are at least on your mind- and in fact, you may even be obsessed with bringing about their demise. You may constantly think of them, even if it is in a negative light, and maybe seek to besmirch or cause them some harm.
So in that sense, I don’t hate- and never will hate- any religion. I still care- still want to care; only, maybe just a little less. I’m definitely still obsessed- though neither love nor hate adequately describes my feelings with regards to my journey so far.
What I am realizing is that I no longer feel the gut-wrenching, headache-inducing anxiety whenever someone is preaching something and I hear my dad speaking agreement- or disagreement. My heart doesn’t start racing and my palms start getting sweaty when another person comes up with religious reasoning behind why it is wrong to be gay. My mouth doesn’t go dry when I’m given gentle advice to “don’t turn away” or “everyone’s gone through it (with regard to disbelief)”.
Also, even though I may still go running to write a post almost every time I come back from a church service, the sense of urgency has abated. I’m becoming more relaxed about my beliefs and identity, and less guarded with regards to sharing them. I no longer feel like I have to either be silent, or end up breaking down while I try to [weakly] defend my positions. I can still be quiet when necessary to avoid conflict, but now I feel a lot less guilty and conflicted about doing so. I may even speak up every now and then if I feel like it is a good time to do so.
So in summary, is apathy ever a good thing? I don’t know if it’s inherently good- or bad. When it comes to social justice, it’s definitely a huge obstacle to making changes- if no one goes to the polls or takes any action, nothing changes. In the case of someone who is recovering from religion, however, it may provide a good temporary defense against getting totally overwhelmed with the “work” of recovery. If you choose simply not to care, or just to focus on other aspects of your life for a while, it doesn’t make you a Bad Recovered Person. In fact, the fact that you can exist- without feeling constantly threatened- in a highly religious society, may be a sign that you are beginning to ease comfortably into your recovery.
I think that’s where I am. I am at a pretty comfortable place in my recovery, to where even though it may bother me if someone says, “As long as you believe in X, you’re good” when I no longer believe in that something, it doesn’t automatically plunge me into a quicksand of self-doubt.
I don’t wish any less for anyone else.