God and me, we‘ve always had a weird relationship. Mostly because I don’t believe in him so it makes it awkward when we run into each other. My parents are both Atheist and thus I don’t recall hearing about religion at all until I was about five or six years old. I had just moved to Perth from Adelaide and all the other kids in year one seemed to know each other from pre-primary. I used to sit on my own and eat my play lunch. The only time I remember interacting with the other kids was when I did a snart (simultaneous sneeze and fart) and they all pointed and laughed. Then out of the nowhere a little girl emerged. “Do you want to come and play with us?” she asked.
She was the nicest little girl I had ever come across. Kind and generous and never joined in when kids were nasty to other kids. We became the best of friends.
The first I noticed that something was different about her was when I went to her house. She seemed to have a lot of pictures of puppies and fridge magnets all referencing some dude called God. He sounded like a nice guy.
The first time I went there for dinner I was halfway wolfing down some bangers and mash when I looked around and saw everyone else had their eyes closed. They were saying grace. They thanked this fella god for bringing them the meal. Wow, I thought. Not only does this guy love and support you, he also brings food!? Sweet!
Soon enough my friend and her family told me all about God and his son Jesus. They sounded like stand-up kinda guys. They gave me my own bible with pictures for ‘little eyes’ .
Then came the bomb-shell. If you don’t believe in God and go to Church you’re going to hell….. Huh? What?! …I didn’t know much about Hell but what from I did know it did not sound like a place I wanted to be.
“Am…am I going to hell?” I asked my little friend.
“Yes,” she said bluntly, “but I pray for you every night”.
Well that was it. She had put the fear of god in me. I started pouring over that bible for little eyes with more zeal than had ever been reserved for my other favourite book ‘There’s a monster at the end of this book’.
I started praying every night. I asked my Mum if I could go to Church. Not wanting openly encourage or discourage my newfound spiritualism she said , “Sure…if you get yourself there.”
She made this offer in the full knowledge that being six and living in the middle of the bush this was not going to happen. That’s when I started to rebel. I had been talking to this guy every night and not once had he replied. Rude! I reasoned if I was going to be condemned to hell for circumstances beyond my control at six years old maybe he wasn’t such a great guy after all. This is probably when I started embracing hedonism. “Screw him” I thought. I threw out my bible for little eyes and went outside to torture ants and throw melons at cars.
God and I had little to do with each other after that day. That was until I thought I was going to die. It was about 18 months ago and I was on a little Island off Thailand called Koh Phangan. I was there along with many other tourists for a night of unbridled partying known as The Full Moon Party. I had a great time and all was going well until the next morning. Whilst making out with a Swedish tourist under a shower I accidently ingested some of the Thai water. Big, big mistake. I felt ok for a few hours even cracking open a few more tiger beers to help with the hangover.
By the afternoon the tables had turned. It started with a modest upchuck. Ok big night and too many beers, that’s to be expected. Get it out and it’ll all be ok.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. A couple of hours later I had exploded out of both ends with the force of a fire hose. When the explosions started to be filled with blood I realised I might be in big trouble. Luckily the bathroom was just one big shower because after a while I couldn’t decide which end to point towards the toilet so I just lay in the foetal position on the bathroom floor feebly clutching the shower nozzle. 8 hours later I was in the same position. Having never heard someone so sick and also fearing for my life, I could hear my friend plotting the tuk tuk route to the hospital. I refused to go, figuring that Koh Phangan hospital was probably nothing more than a few chicken crates and a packet of bandaids. No! If I was going to die it would be in the privacy and dignity of my poo-brown tiled hotel bathroom.
So where does the atheist turn to bargain in times like these? That’s right. I came crawling back.
“God”, I said through my delirium, “if you make this stop I promise I’ll believe in you”…
Eventually after about 12 hours the exploding had stopped and I collapsed in bed thirstier than I had ever been but too scared to ingest anything. I slept for four days.
So it did stop. And I survived. But did I keep my promise? Sadly no. When the fog cleared and my near death experienced passed I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea of believing in God. I believe there is something bigger than ourselves but that is as far as I can stretch. I also believe there must be a hell because that’s where they pump Thai water from. I guess this upgrades me from Atheist to Agnostic. If God does exist he is no doubt pissed at me for lying to him. I better look after myself from now on or I will become the girl who cried religion.