Trying to Lose My Religion

A skeptic grapples with her spiritual experience, religious upbringing and the workings of the brain.

My Greek Orthodox grandparents’ house had Byzantine icons of Jesus on virtually every wall. It’s not that they were die-hard religious people; they seldom went to church. But they did have religious rituals they stuck to. Burning incense in the house every Sunday was one. Bringing home koliva (a delicious dish of sweetened boiled wheat) after special services was another. They also insisted that if I wanted to be in God’s good books, I should make the sign of the cross every t...

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