After this incident, I continued to be involved in this church because of my relationships with the community. But the more I tried to be engaged, the faster my faith “bled out” through my still-open wounds. And so I took a massive step back.

When atheists rail against religions, this is one of the points they seem to miss. So much of religion is about community and structure, not faith. Much is communicated between people in rituals, and a vast reservoir of empathy between members is built through shared experiences. Many positive aspects of fellowshipping in spiritual communities are ignored in New Atheist-style attacks on religiosity, but any honest, logical accounting of religion must consider these aspects and the value they offer to both individuals and societies.

Fortunately, religion does not require faith. Not only are there such things as Christian agnostics, who practice a secular, cultural form of Christianity, but there are also entire secular religions.

I, myself, belong to such a religion, and my reasons for doing so have nothing to do with faith in any supernatural beings or forces.

Just the facts: Writer. Gamer. Feminist. Educated in Astrophysics. Professional Gambler. Student of Language. Satanist. Anarchist.

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