Thoughts on Religion

I was quite young when I realised that I didn’t believe in God. I had always gone to an Anglican Methodist church school, yet they failed to install any sense of belief in me. I remember the church being so bland and plain. Everything was cream with just a few embroidered banners on the high walls of a modern building. Perhaps it was the lack of ornamentation that meant I didn’t feel divine inspiration, but either way, when I was asked at about the age of 11 I said that I didn’t believe in God or Jesus. I guess I just didn’t feel that the Bible stories we heard held any more truth than other moral stories we were told as children.
These days I’m fascinated by history and religion. I try to imagine a dull medieval world in which the common person lived, and then the glorious Technicolor wonder that they must have experienced when seeing an east facing stained glass window in church in the Sunday morning sunshine. It must have inspired a sense of awe.
I didn’t choose to not believe in God, I just absolutely don’t. However, I believe that everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions when it comes to religion, and I don’t feel that being an atheist should mean that I have to be disrespectful to other peoples beliefs. Quite the opposite in fact! Surely, I should be able to look at, learn about, and respect other people’s beliefs, just as I would expect people to respect my own thoughts on the subject. When I make work it’s like thinking out loud for me. I feel inspired by religious art work, particularly medieval religious art work. I borrow and I explore what I come across. I think that, as an atheist, it makes sense to borrow imagery from various religions, just as religions have always found inspiration in the art work of other religions.
As far as I see it, following any religion can have its pros and cons. However, I think that the sense of comfort that religion can supply when faced with bereavement, (or any dire circumstances in fact) is undeniable. It is this aspect of religion in particular that I feel leaves me out in the cold with my atheist beliefs.


stella maris boxStella Maris Box. Mixed media. 2012

About Sharon Mossbeck

Sharon Mossbeck is a conceptual artist based in Sheffield. Mossbeck's work focuses on themes of death and religion, often presented in a vibrant, hedonistic manner. While based on themes of death, her work is more easily read as a celebration of life while questioning what may happen beyond. Mossbeck works in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture using found objects, photography and textiles. Available for commissions.
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2 Responses to Thoughts on Religion

  1. Mike Moore says:

    I agree that religious architecture, music, paintings etc can be very powerful and beautiful. I think non-believers can learn from that.

    I disagree with the bereavement point you made. When my father died, it really struck me how religion has stunted and perverted the grieving process. I was told again and again how my father was in a supernatural realm, living it up with the rest of my dead relatives. I was told his death was a godly plan, and how it was for the better.

    I think truth is more important than comfortable myths. And there is some truth, I think, to some religious philosophy.

    I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. John Murray says:

    As a young child the obvious disparity between the actions of people and the teachings of religions were so evident to me that I couldn’t believe everyone didn’t notice. The priests were not telling the truth, the ancient simple world in which these beliefs were founded was isolated and unsophisticated even to my young mind. Hypocrisy was everywhere I looked. The Second World War had ended and the fervent prayers of “gods chosen people had not rescued them from Nazi atrocities. The German Catholic Church had collaborated by default at least in the horrors.
    Humankind is a young specie and the geologic time span of existence shows are unimportance except to ourselves.

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