sent in by Wandering~
I’m not sure how to tell my story, but I'll try.
First, a brief background. My near-fundamentalist grandma was the biggest religious influence in the family. First she had a fit when my parents weren't married in a church she wanted. She kept trying to make my dad divorce my mom because she wasn’t a catholic like they were. When I was born my she had a big role in making sure that I was baptized and had a "proper upbringing."
I went to after school religion class in elementary school, went to church, was made to feel guilty when I didn’t, and was afraid to go to sleep without having holy water put on my forehead for "protection." however, I don’t think i ever fully believed in a "God".
I was raised in an ultra-catholic country in central america, where like 99% of people are catholic. seriously, for my fist 10 years of life i only met one Jewish person, everyone else was catholic.
Unfortunately for me, my grandma's ultra religious ideas eventually got into my mom's head, and she became (and still is) the main religious force in the family. for example, she yelled and grounded me because i yawned in church. my dad was never very religious, but he never complained about churchgoing or anything.
I had my first communion when i was about eight or nine, but at the time i had no idea what i was doing. i had seen all my other classmates do it, so i thought it was something we all just had to do. it was a total humiliation, i had no idea what to do (my religion teacher had been lousy, all she ever did was make me read the bible) The priest was in a really bad mood, the flowers for decoration were taken to the wrong church, only to be brought in during the middle of the ceremony, my dress caught fire on a candle, and a lot of other stuff.
I was so embarrassed that i forgot to pay attention to the priest.
After the ceremony, my mom yelled at me the whole car ride to the after communion party.
well, i still believed in all the catholic stuff after the communion, my first real doubts came when i was eleven, when I heard about evolution for the first time. our teacher mentioned it for some reason, and most of my class started ranting the usual "god made the universe" and "He created us" stuff.
while they were arguing w/ the teacher, I looked over the explanation in the worksheet. it just clicked, like it was obvious. that paragraph made more sense than years of Adam, eve and creationist lectures.
I started asking questions, such as "If the bible story is true, who did Cain get marry?" "Where are the dinosaurs in the story of creation?" "What about all the proof they've found to back up evolution?"
I was told to stop causing trouble and shut up.
i couldn’t speak about my doubts, since where i was growing up doubting the faith could make you an outcast, so i stayed quiet.
i started reading about other religions (something i had never done before, since i had been taught that other religions were wrong and my grandma belonged to a prayer group trying to convert everyone in the world to catholicism)
the more i learned, the more i became convinced that xtianity was wrong. when i was around 13 or 14, i silently became an atheist and made excuses to stop going to church.
when i was 15, i started exploring Paganism. i was inexplicably drawn to it. (maybe i had pagan ancestors, that would make sense)
I’m pagan now, but my family has no idea. My dad thinks earth religions are a joke, and my mom thinks they're just dangerous witchcraft rituals. my little brother is just cluelessly taking after my mom's religious beliefs. telling them anything is out of the question.
I’m glad I managed to escape the church and the xtian way of viewing things. I just wish I hadn’t spent part of my childhood afraid of going to hell.
Became a Christian: born one
Ceased being a Christian: 13 or 14
Labels before: catholic
Labels now: Pagan
Why I joined: not my choice
Why I left: realized it was fake
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)