I was raised in a Christian family, but I also got to decide. I remember my pastor calling my mom very liberal when I was a kid and until that point I just assumed everyone fell in love with God like I did. Well no. I knew about atheism, but I didn’t realize even other Christians didn’t feel or learn about God the way I did. And I thank my mom for that. Basically my mom gave me science first you could say, she took me to classes at the planetarium and the Field Museum. She bought me a chemistry set and did experiments with me. I saved rocks and bones. I was an only child and I had my own little world of science. I loved it. I was taken to church and I was given a bible. It was explained to me that baptism is my choice and if there is anything else I’m interested in religiously or otherwise then I alone had to make that choice to continue my life as a Christian or not. I chose to to continue as a Christian. But for me it wasn’t because of the community of my fellow church goers. I never fit in with them or anyone at school either. I actually went to a Christian school then a public one. Pretty much the same for me social life wise. I’ve always had one friend or two. I’ve always had my mom to talk to or my grandma (who finally believes I’m actually not a lesbian now that I’m engaged and seems disappointed that I’m not an atheist lesbian, well lesbian at least) but while I’ve never been the bible thumping evangelical type, God has been with me since day one. Even before I read anything in the bible. Before I fell in love with dinosaurs and the rings of Saturn. I talked to him. I wasn’t one of those kids who had enough imagination to make up imaginary friends or play with a toy kitchenette without real food. No. I was always the kid that if I was gonna play I played with the real thing or I’m out. So when I was talking to God on my own, I was talking to someone. I knew it. And they, God, knew it because he talked back. Am I crazy? No clue but oh well. The only time I’ve ever felt a sense of community consistently is when it was just me and God. I rarely ever get that feeling from being around humans. I just don’t. Either no one gets me or I messes it up or I just feel nothing. I like churches. The physical buildings. I shy away from actual church. I feel bad about this. I feel selfish. I like my God to myself. I get to fully explore him and deepen my relationship with him alone. That’s not to say I don’t learn in church. I do.
Anyway. My long point is: I get you want community. You want refuge. You might have to find it on your own. I love God and science and I’m alone. A lot. When people died who I loved I didn’t find refuge in church. Then again that’s me. And Newton is my favorite scientist so…there you go. I even have a Pomeranian like he did.
I think you can find community. There are non theist organizations that commune together. One actually had a convention here in Chicago last year I think.
I liked your piece. I like that you ask questions. Similar questions to my own. I like Buddhism and for a while it was my second choice. No joke but I couldn’t let go of my bff upstairs. (How do I manage to sound delusional and dorky? It’s a gift..from above. Ok I’m done)
Good luck, I hope you find what you’re looking for.