Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How did I become an atheist?

I am a 30-something-year-old guy living in reality. It was not always that way, however. This is the story of my journey to reality from religion.

I was raised in a Roman Catholic (RC from here on) family. More accurately, my mother is a RC and my father is neutral on the matter. I went to RC elementary and high school. There's no middle school or junior high school where I'm from, so that's 14 years of Catholic schooling, from kindergarten through the end of high school. There were no nuns running the schools, but we did pray every day and have to go to mass once a month or so. My mom tells me that when I was in kindergarten, the fanatical teacher thought I was devil-spawn because I was left-handed when writing. The teacher tried to convert me to being a right-handed writer, but my parents intervened and straightened the psycho-bitch out.

I had the regular RC upbringing, including first communion, confession, confirmation, etc. I don't recall actually questioning the faith that much when I was in elementary school, although there was one funny incident when I definitely showed my streak of independent thought. We were in grade 8, and preparing to do our confirmation ceremony. This involved sitting around the local priest from the church next door and asking questions, discussing our faith, etc. When the topic of women serving in the RC church came up, I called the Pope a hypocrite for trying to convince us that all people are equal, but that women can't be priests. I now realise that it was because they didn't want any women to witness their molestation of children :-) But anyways, my independent streak in regards to the church was there.

At the beginning of high school, I was still pretty sure that god existed. I used to think about becoming a priest myself, in order to be the best person possible. I blamed the bad things that happened to me on god, suggested to myself that things happen for a reason, god has a plan, etc.

In the final years of high school, we started studying world religions as part of our compulsory religious education. I remember reading about the silly rituals and beliefs of the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, etc. The one that got to me the most was (I think) some Hindu ritual where these people whirl around in circles until they get dizzy, then when they collapse onto the ground, they have visions of various truths. I thought it was absolutely hilarious! But then something happened. I was able to turn my ridicule on myself, which is a skill that very few religious people have. I saw that while I was laughing at them for their stupid dizzy fainting, they were over there laughing at me for my belief in drinking the blood of some dead guy, resurrections, ascensions, etc, etc, etc.

What a turning point that was! I came to the conclusion that my religion was no more valid than any of the others, and in some ways, was even more ridiculous than many of them. I realised that more than half of the world thinks I'm wrong. I had my holy book, but they also had one. There was nothing particularly special about any of those books or religions when compared against the others. But all of the religions couldn't be true, that's not possible. The only reasonable conclusion was that they were ALL bullshit!

So, I gave up my religion, cold turkey. Had no problems at all turning my back on it. I could no longer justify or defend the belief, and wanted to live the rest of my life in freedom from its clutches. I'm now so much happier and free!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It feels so good to see different point of view from you :)