Sent in by Ryan
My first memory in relation to god was at the age of 4 when my aunty (who in her youth had nearly become a nun) had told me “Now you must always be good because god is always watching you and knows everything you do.” As young child who despite going to church and even Sunday school really had no grasp of this whole god concept, yet had also been filled with the notion of “stranger danger,” I immediately slotted the two together and was thus terrified of being on my own outside the house. My head filled with images of a strange, scary bearded man with many eyes on stalks that could see everything in every which way.
Time passed as it does, I had my first communion and didn’t question it too much (other than why the catholic children got to do this thing and get out of class whist the other children stayed behind in class. To which I never got a satisfactory answer.) Yet over time I began to see less and less point in it (through a few minor incidents which need not be mentioned). When time came for my conformation, my father said something to me which I am still thankful for. He took me aside and asked me if it was what I really wanted, that if I went through with it, I was making a commitment, and had to be sure it was what I wanted. Realising even though at the time I believed in what was told to me, I really had no make this commitment to the church, so I said no, thinking that if I ever felt differently about it I could always do it at a later date. It was the first time I made a life choice, and though I still considered myself a catholic led me to question things more.
More time passed and it was really two incidents of learning history that actually made me hate religion. One church history, the other family. I saw the movie The Crucible and was quite taken aback. It led me to read the book, other things about the history of the church, and the bible itself which up until this time I had not read. I realised the evil and corrupt priest from Ivanhoe (a story I loved as a child) was not an exception but the historical norm. Needless to say I was disgusted; the audacity of Christians to constantly site the crimes and persecutions against them throughout history was nothing but a justification for some of the worst cases of persecution and genocide committed by themselves.
The piece of family history was discovering that my grandfather was not my genetic grandfather. My genetic grandfather (whom I do not consider to be my grandfather) had been a violent abusive drunk, my grandmother was a proper catholic woman, and played the organ for the local church for the last 10-20 years. Everyone in the parish knew my grandfather was abusive, but said nothing. One day my grandmother had enough and got a divorce. This was in the 60’s and she was asked to hand over her keys to the church and effectively shunned by the rest of the parish, including her daughters. Many years later she met Bert (my real grandfather) he loved her, and helped her buy the house she’d been renting, he was hated by my aunties despite all he did for my grandmother, and when she died they fought him for control of the house he was living in, and had been living in with my grandmother.
I so I started reading about religions, wondering which one was for me. I found a few bits and pieces here and there but over and over the picture was the same. One of the most stupid things that humans have tended to do through out history is the institutionalization of belief. Religion frees you from taking responsibility for your own actions, and in effect keeps you as a child with this looming Santa Claus/daddy figure hanging over you, promising to reward you if you’re good and go what your told, or spank you and send you to your room if you’re a naughty boy or girl. God may be out there and my love each and every one of us, but religion is of man not of some great and loving creator being.
This is the first time I've written this all down together, I found it quite liberating. Thank you.
Joined: Born and baptized Catholic
Now: Cynical free-thinker
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)