Sent in by Andrew
I grew up on the extremely Catholic west side of Cincinnati, Ohio. For those of you who aren't familiar with this (and thankfully most of the world isn't) West Side Cincinnati is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas of the country.
Religious, economic, psychological and geographic borders keep these suburbs of about 100,000 people apart from the rest of the city. No easy access to a major interstate due to endless miles of suburbs, anyone that wasn't catholic was ostracized behind closed doors, people from any other area of the city were weird, and the valleys that surrounded this area led to a staggering lack of culture. I was raised to believe that divorced parents and their children were odd and contemptible. My mother is a bigoted, hypocritical fascist, pretending to be compassionate yet speaking ill behind everyone's backs... like a true Christian. My father, coming from good 'ole German stock, was quiet, but had a fury that often led to bouts of physical abuse and blind dedication to things he was TOLD to believe in. They preached the bible and how anyone that was gay was going to hell, yet now that I am openly gay my parents "can't remember ever saying that."
From as far back as I can remember I knew I was gay. The deep self loathing that children are introduced to at an early age is staggering. Feeling alone in that I could never share my secret with anyone, I became withdrawn and paranoid. This condition coupled with a complete lack of compassion from my parents led me to contemplate suicide from about the age of nine.
How could I be doomed to hell when I haven't done anything wrong? I didn't ASK to be like this. All of the most awful children I went to school with were guaranteed a spot in the gated community called heaven, yet I was supposed to swim in a napalm lake for eternity?
I started calling 'bullshit' at a very early age. I can't remember when exactly I stopped believing, but I knew that this bilge they shoved down our throats was not for me. Since 6th grade I have know I was an atheist, but still spiritual in a sense of the wonders of the natural world.
I am currently living in Atlanta, GA, trying to find my place in the world. The problems I developed in my past that relate to self confidence and trust are still with me to this day. I lost someone I am in love with because I still feel victimized and they could not cope with my insecurities.
Recently I have made huge strides in discovering my true self, and shedding these insecurities. I feel more and more confident about myself every single day.
Thanks for giving me an outlet!
I hope you all come to the same inner peace that I am experiencing :)
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)