It's hard to not think about religion.
I'm surrounded by it every day. I know that other people are religious; there are at least 7 churches within the bounds of the town I live in (a town with a population of less than 10K, around 7,000 in 2009). I habitually thank "God" for things, people ask me to pray for them constantly, and I know a lot of people who are very devout.
I don't begrudge them this, not at all. However, it keeps it in my mind, and makes me even more socially awkward. For example, I was Jesus-bombed the other day.
A Jesus-bomb, for those of you not aware of the term (that I may or may not have made up), is when a religious person says something in conversation that is so overtly religious that it puts a non-religious person in a state of unease. For example, if you are having a bad day, and someone responds to your stress with "It's okay, God loves you."
I was leaving work, and chatting to someone in an elevator (longest one-floor elevator ride ever, btw) about the long, busy day. I was saying how my day had been pretty stressful, but he said his had been pretty short, "Thank God. Some day, He's all we have to be thankful for." Bam. There it was. I didn't want to be rude, but there was a hanging spot where a response was required, so I ended up saying the most awkward, over-enthusiastic "YEAH" I think I've ever said. It came out like the opening to the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right", and it made the conversation rapidly devolve into "yeah, weather, uh huh."
I felt bad. I still do. I feel like there was something better to say, but I feel guilty allowing people to believe that I'm religious, as well.
At family dinners, we always say grace before dinner. I always keep my eyes open - something that once prompted a dinner guest (an open atheist) to ask me during prayer, "Are you an athiest?" I'm not really an athiest, I go with agnostic because it's more fitting to my actual spiritual (?) leanings.
However, I have still said prayer at dinner with my family, even after my "official" change of religious status. I justify this as praying on behalf of my family - that I am just a conduit for them, and if they believe it and it keeps their faith, I'm fine with that. I do tend to avoid using "God" in the prayer, and instead use "hope" or "wish" in place of "pray" or "ask".
Does that make me a bad agnostic? Does such a thing exist?
It's not that I firmly believe there is no god (big or little 'G'), it's more that I don't know if there is one, and normally I err on the side of "can't hurt" with this kind of thing, but for some reason, having faith doesn't work for me. I can't believe in the Christian God, because there is no proof and I believe too much in humanity and the goodness of people to say "yeah, all this good stuff, it happens because of some dude in the sky", and YES I realize it's far more complex than that.
I wouldn't say I don't strictly believe there is no higher power, either. I don't really believe or have faith in anything. I feel a lack of security in fact and I am the kind of person who believes what I see.
It's funny that I believe more in ghosts than in god, but it's because I have had more experiences that lend me to believe in ghosts - even if they are a fabrication of chemical mixups that cause hallucinations, they're still something I perceived, and what do I have but perception? No one else was there to disprove it, and it's happened more than once, and even a few times other people percieved it as well. Mass hallucination? I don't know.
I know some people need faith, and I know the value of it, but I often feel like people use God (or religion in general) to remove responsibility from their actions - it's not them that did the good thing or bad thing, it's God. God inspired them, God made them, they have an obligation. I just wish people would be responsible for it, and I think that's part of the reason why it doesn't work for me. I want to be responsible for my good things, and if I blame the bad things I do on God (or Satan, or negative energy, whatever), I can't take ownership of the good, either.
Try not to Jesus-bomb.
Faith is cool and all, but I just don't have it.
Still figuring things out.