Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].
I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and a common fantasy, like the Riders having a chance at the playoffs) together.
It’s frankly disturbing to think about how writing the paragraph above would get me killed and disgrace my family, if it was any earlier point in history. Hopefully, we don’t return to those dark days.
I’m not an atheist so much as an agnostic. I accept there may be super beings invisible and unknowable to human perception, but also it’s better to suggest that you’re open to belief in the unknowable. That’s in part to calm the fears of those who recoil at the thought of atheism, and partly because I think it’s wise to realize that what never seems possible, happens all too frequently.