sent in by Brian
My father never had any religious influence on me; it was my mother's responsibility. My maternal Grandmother, who is still alive and kicking at 82, is a strong catholic that raised seven kids.
While her beliefs in Catholism are strong, she has an unusually open mind. I recall this one day this discussion with her, when I accidently slip the word "Atheist" in there. As inquisitive as she is, she asks what it means. Of course, I am bewildered that she does not know what Atheist means. So I tell her, and instead of an expected response of condemnation, she tells me she was never really sure and that my late grandfather had told her that one notable trait of atheists was that they were exceedingly honest. (Leaves me wondering if he ever intended for her to know the real definition).
Anyhow, while she is a strong Catholic, she is not a fundamentalist in any way. In fact, she wears a ballcap regularly, and I never see her wear a dress outside of church or any special event. She could pass off as a Tomboy.
Back up a few years to when I found out how much Catholic she was..... She does the rosary every night, and when I spent two weeks at her house, I went to some church function about a dozen times.
Later on, I started noticing how all my uncles and aunts followed suit.
The Chronological Order Department:
I was baptised at the tender age of 3 (or was it 4?). I hated the experience, and to this day, I still hate getting water in my face with any element of surprize.
After that, my dad dropped off the church scene, only to return to be at mom's side for Christmas.
I never took any liking to church. Mom made me go every Sunday, and every year, I was enrolled in a weekly religious class. (So what else is new here?) Ok, I admit, there was that one time I had my first piece of this thinly-hammered grain tablet which they called "ACTUAL FLESH OF CHRIST." This was about fourth grade. I think they call that "First Communion." I knew it was just a piece of #$@!@ed up bread anyway, but I just wanted to become a "even bigger kid." I resisted the wine, though. Other than that, I had resisted anything about Church.
Other than that communion stint, Church served no purpose, so why should I even bother with it? At this time, I still sorta believed in God, though I only saw God as the trivial answer to all the unanswered questions. (Hmmmmmm, isn't that the basis for religion?)
Finally, in fifth grade, my school district (Ok, it was my fifth/sixth grade teacher) realized what such a smart kid I was and I was enrolled in her 2-year IA (gifted student) program. It was then when I discovered my talent in Math, which is why I am here today at Central Washington University to become a HS Math Teacher. Along with Math came some other concrete subjects that suddenly answered all my unanswered questions. At this time, my mother begins disliking church because of the quality of service. She likes to pray, or so she says. I have never seen her pray outside of church, though. She does not like the preacher howling out:
So we slowly slipped away from church. My attendence in church classes were terminated after sixth grade. We would only return to church for Christmas.
Enter High School. Just as a early grade school kid can't imagine that there is no Santa Clause (My $0.02: he may have existed long ago when his Nice 'n' Naughty list was short and sweet.), I loosely hung on to the notion of the existence of God, simply because I could not imagine a single person not believing in him. Then my dad starts listening to Tom Leykis. Despite the @!@#!@#!@hole of a person he is, he was the first of his kind that I ever encountered: an ATHEIST!!! You mean, you can believe there is no higher power, and still live?
This starts to unfold my beliefs of higher powers. The world is making more sense to me every day, and I fail to see any contributions made by higher powers.
As I am exposed to the media, I become aware of other religions, and how some groups want to kill off another. Enter in this new evidence: There are several religions, all different in some way, all claim they are right. By a logical supposition, either one religion is the right one, or none of them are. I don't want to waste my time finding that right religion.
As of today, I have totally dismissed the notion of a higher power. However, I still retain certain traits of religions, such as how to treat your neighbor, when sex is okay, and that murder is wrong. Heck, I agree with most of the commandments! I just don't believe in a higher being.
I have not told anyone in my family or in contact with my family about my atheism. Though I am very sure that they know I am not a religious type, I just don't want to burden them with that label on me.
And as I look outside my dorm room at 1:49 AM Pacific Standard Time and see snow, I take comfort in knowing that:
The absolute humidity is at a level such that condensation of water occurs below the freezing point so that it freezes into an ice crystal.
Try explaining this one to Pat Robertson.
Became a Christian: Birth
Ceased being a Christian: DOA
Labels before: Catholic
Labels now: Atheist
Why I joined: Mom tried raising me Catholic
Why I left: Never worked