sent in by Janet
I don't know where to begin. I could really go on forever about this. I was born to a Catholic mother and had no choice whatsoever. I was forced to attend mass and religious classes and even went to a Catholic kindergarten run by nuns. The nuns scared the crap out of me and at 5 years old I was already confused. Shouldn't I feel safe with the nuns? Aren't they supposed to be "good"?
I never understood the many contradictions of religion and the readings from mass, and whenever I asked about them, I got the same lame answer. "It's a mystery." Well, my mind doesn't wrap around "mysteries", and my mother would get very angry when I questioned her religion.
In my eyes, religion has caused more problems that it has ever helped. I don't even have to go into the wars fought and lives lost and torture and rape and pillaging done in the name of religion. (There's not a doubt in my mind that if there were no religions, there would be peace on the planet). Just in my small life, the damage has been profound.
My mother's whole family was, and some still are, brainwashed with it. I had a cousin that no one knew existed until my grandmother died. He was a "bastard" and my grandmother would not allow him to be around her other grandchildren. I remember my grandmother's funeral very well. My cousins and I were asking everyone who Paul was, but no one would tell us. It was a big secret.
I also had an aunt that I never met until a couple years ago. She had the nerve to marry a Jewish man and the family disowned her and would not talk about her. My mother kept a photo of her in her dresser. I was about 7 or 8 when I saw it and asked my mother about the picture. She wouldn't tell me who she was and told me it was none of my business.
I hate the secrecy and the hypocricy.
My gay cousin came out to me when I was 22. I was the first in the family he told because he was so afraid of the response. He didn't come out to the rest of the family for 10 more years because of their Catholicism. They still whisper about Mark...oh, the gay...
I also never understood, these "Good Catholics" who believed in loving one another and charity and forgiveness and all the teachings, but absolutely hated anyone who wasn't Catholic. They would be nice to people face to face, but the gossip was frightening. And they always had to insult them because they were Baptist or Methodist or Protestant or Lutheran.... and heaven help the Jews. They had a way of saying Jew that you would swear they had a mouth full of dog shit.
It all seemed very unreligious to me, but they never acted like they were sinning when they were doing it. I'm sure they never talked about it in confession.
I hated confession. My mother always said god was all knowing and knew all your thoughts and everything you ever did. If that is the case, why does anyone have to go to confession? He should know what sins everyone has committed. Also, why should I have to confess when he would know whether or not I took my pennance seriously or couldn't care less. And it was usually the latter.
I wonder if my mother ever confessed about how she beat the crap out me and my sister with brushes, yard sticks, or anything that was handy, when she got mad at us.
Occasionally I did try to be a good Catholic. I remember when I was about 10, being very sick on a Sunday. My mother told me I could stay home from mass because I was so sick. Stupid me, I actually thought that if I made the sacrifice to go to church, maybe god would make me feel better. Ha! I just ended up suffering through the longest mass of my life. Really, how hard would it have been for god to take away my stomach ache and headache? I only had the flu.
When I was 13, my father left. My mother went to the church for help. The priest turned her away because she was going to be divorced. That same priest has been investigated for raping alter boys. Three were friends I knew from high school and a fourth killed himself this past year because he could never get over it. So here is this great priest shitting on my mother because her husband left her and all the while he's a practicing pedophile. What a holy man.
After high school, when I left home, I didn't set foot in a church for years. When I was 21 I lost two good friends in an auto accident. They were hit by a drunk driver. I had a really hard time of dealing with it and at my mother's suggestion, I went to her church and talked to her priest. I figured it wouldn't hurt, but I was wrong. The priest had no time for my problem and he kept trying to get me to commit to joining the congregation. At least I wasn't sad when I walked out. I was furious....at myself for listening to my mother. I felt completely foolish.
On the other hand, I've never felt religious, or "saved" or loved Jesus. How can you love a figment of your imagination? I have always doubted. And, oh, yes, my mother has told me the story of "Doubting Thomas" many times. If Jesus walked in my room right now, you can bet I'd be all over him trying to figure out the trick. Ha! Ha!
I have never understood prayer. If god has our lives mapped out for us, why do we need to pray? What is going to happen is going to happen. If you pray and your prayers aren't answered (mine never have been), then it's god's will. If your prayers are answered, it's a miracle. Actually, if your prayers aren't answered , it's typical, and if they are answered it's a coincidence. How many people around the world prayed for the pope when he was sick and he died anyway?
From my early teens started coming up with my own theories on bible stories. I have read the majority of the bible in hopes of understanding and finding what others have found in it. However, reading it only made me doubt it and reject it even more.
My first "The Bible According to Janet" story was Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Why should anyone believe Eve took the apple and ate it after god told them it was forbidden? It's not logical. Who has a harder time with authority and rules, men or women? Men. Whose prison population is greater, men or women? Men. Why are most women in jail? Men. Why are most men in jail? They want what they can't have. Eve didn't take that apple. Adam took the apple or talked Eve into it. He probably told her "If you loved me you would." or "But I love you and I'll love you forever." or "If I don't get that apple I'll get blue balls." (Any of this clicking? The apple as analogy for sex.) And then when god found out, Adam did the manly thing and blamed Eve. Eve did the submissive thing and kept her mouth shut and took gods punnishment, pain in child birth.......of course I'd like to see a man pass a grapefruit out of his penis and see if it hurts. And Lilith, the first woman, (Wait a minute, wasn't Eve the first woman? No, she's just called the first woman.) was banished from Eden because the first time Adam tried that crap with her she smacked him upside the head and called him a lying son of a bitch.
God and religion are for people who can't get through life without a crutch or a reason. I know the difference between right and wrong. I don't need a religion or god to tell me. I am capable of logical thought and understand fairness. The golden rule, "treat others as you want to be treated" carries more weight and is a more valid way to live than the 10 commandments or bible could ever be. "Treat others as you want to be treated" has no contradictions or ambiguity and is all encompassing.
I have a perfect understanding of why bad things happen: 1. Shit just happens. 2. People are unpredictable and the majority are stupid, self-serving, egotistical ass holes and these are the ones that cause bad things to happen. I don't need god or religion to explain life to me. Science doesn't have all the answers, but it has the logical ones.
I believe young people today who are into religion are grasping for something, anything to hold on to, to believe in, to live for. If it wasn't religion it would be alcohol or crack or heroine. They are all false gods but give meaning and purpose to sad lives.
Older people, like my mother, are so brainwashed it is incomprehensible to them that they could be wrong. They can't dare entertain the thought for a fraction of a second. They would have to admit their lives are based on lies and have been wasted because of religion. I know my mother's life has been a waste since my dad left. She still believes "In the eyes of the Catholic Church, your father are I are married forever." That is sad and pathetic because she has been alone for 25 years and she will die alone because of her own stupidity. There's not a doubt in my mind that she still prays every day that my dad will return to her. What a waste of time and energy.
Frankly, if religion is what gets you through the day, power to you. But keep it to yourself and keep it out of my government, laws, schools, and courts which should be based on fact and logic, not fairy tales.
I could go on and on, but if anyone reads this, you should have gotten the point. It is very comforting to know there are so many of you that can think for yourselves and can tell fact from fiction and aren't willing to settle for "it's a mystery" as any kind of explanation for anything.
Love to my sister always, and thanks for the link to this site.
How old were you when you became a christian? Birth
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? Years ago. Not sure exactly..
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Catholic
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Agnostic, Anti-religious, Realistic, Logical
Why did you become a christian? No choice
Why did you de-convert? Never bought into a "faith". Never believed in religion.
email: jccocco at pobox dot alaska dot net
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)