Sent in by Wesley
When I was young, and I mean real young (five at the oldest), I had like pretty much most of us, no real concept of human mortality, meaning I did not know I was going to die one day. I mean, death was just not something I ever had to consider. No family members I had ever spent time with had died, so my parents had just not really explained the whole death thing to me.
Now my parents were not really religious people. My mother was a self-confessed agnostic and non-practicing Presbyterian (by baptism), and my father was just a non-practicing Catholic (just weddings and funerals),
So, I had never really had any contact with strict beliefs in god.
However, my mother’s mother had started to become heavily involved in a new style of Christian church, a new American-style church led by a dashing dynamic young man with the title of “Pastor Mike.” He offered the reward of eternal life and happiness, but to achieve this status, there were rules to follow. And these rules were or are simple, as they are written in the bible and have existed for eons.
Now I just have to interrupt at this point as there are many different schools of thought on how the stories in the Bible should be interpreted. Many people believe that the stories are only elaborate myths that can be helpful to guide you through the rough times or when you are unsure of the best path to take -- a sort of guide book. Then there are the people who want to bring it all back to a literal interpretation, to assert that what is written is in fact complete and undeniable truth. They believe that an all powerful being created the entire cosmos step by step, bit by bit, until HE finally perfected it with Adam and Eve. You know the rest of the stories. This is what I understand to be a very fundamentalist view.
So, back up to speed.
It was around the time of my 8th birthday while staying with my grandma on a weekend visit that, without my parents consent, let alone mine, I was taken to this church and held under water, being instructed to ask some mysterious powerful being called Jesus into my heart as my life friend. This was my first taste of the “born again” version of the Christian religion.
My parents where furious with my grandma, but after the dust had settled, and in part due to my parents lack of experience with this church, that I was allowed to continue if I wanted to attend Sunday school at the church. It was OK at first. I met new friends and they told us cool stories of magical things from faraway lands and big bad monsters that punish the wicked. For a while I was hooked. It was fun.
But that did not last forever. I began to question the logic behind these stories. I could no longer believe that the entire human race with all its races and colours could possibly have come from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as well as all the other wonderfully elaborate stories that I was being fed.
Two years was all it took for me to realize that this was just all a crock of shit. I was being lied to in such an all encompassing way that I was being taught to fear an evil being that dwelt under the surface of the Earth and who would punish me for eternity if I stepped out of line. And then, of course, I was being promised all the wonders of heaven if I pledged my love to some big bearded guy in the sky surrounded by angels and family and other such loveliness. I had had enough. I knew I was being conned, so at the age of ten I openly denounced the church to my grandmother, to the shock of many, and told them all that I thought the whole thing was a load of nonsense and that I want nothing more to do with it.
This pretty much destroyed my relationship with my gram for awhile, and she sunk even deeper into her church activities. What was a once-a-week on a Sunday morning thing became a twice-a-Sunday thing, with more involvement in Bible studies, door knocking to spread the word, and then the ever bizarre speaking in tongues.
While I was spending occasional parts of my spare time examining and trying to comprehend the never ending contradictions and downright impossibilities and nonsense to be found in the Bible, my gram dove deeper into the church. She even participated in stints of Bible smuggling into China, missionary work in Israel and Palestine to convert Muslims, and months in parts of Africa to “Save the dark heathen masses from eternal damnation”
So it was at the ripe old age of 14 that I finally settled on my position, without too much external influence, that God did not create all that is around us, or us, but that we invented HIM. That conclusion made so much more sense. Religion worked (works) as a great method of taming the masses. Intimidation and fear mongering is meted out for those who did (do) not believe or follow, and an ultimate reward is promised for those who did (do) believe. This method was (is) successful because none of it could (can) ever be proven either way -- you just had to have faith. Faith: a blind belief in something completely un-provable. Also, it all makes for a great copout from reality when you start to comprehend your own mortality.
Well, I am thirty now and I still hold onto my non-belief in Christianity. Never has anyone truly given me a proper argument to make me think I am wrong. It just always keeps coming down to the faith thing.
That good old “unquestionable faith.”
Sometimes it just must be so easy to be so ignorant
Maybe it’s even bliss.
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)