The whole thing started around the time I was eight years old. By then I’d made my first Communion and was attending a Catholic school. But I figured I may as well not rock the boat to much and so didn’t say much about it for about seven years.
By that time I’m fifteen years old and taking classes prior to my Confirmation in the Catholic church. During the final weeks we all had to do a one on one with one of the parish priests. I sat in front of that priest and boldly told him I didn’t believe or believe in any of it and had a very hard time reconciling the concept of faith with what I’d learned of science and logic at that time. The funny part of course is that they went right ahead and confirmed me anyhow. How’s that for hypocrisy!
And over the years that followed my father and I would get into discussions about religion. The thing is, my religious education while I may have parroted a lot just to get my ass through it, I actually learned a hell of a lot. And so when my father would say off the wall shit like “Even the Bible says black and white people shouldn’t be together.’ I’d counter that having read the ENTIRETY of the texts of the Bible I didn’t recall that particular choice nugget being in there. At this point the conversation would devolve with my father blatantly stating “You never believed in God anyway.” to which I’d respond “You’re absolutely correct, I do not believe in a fictional being.” and the upshot of this would be the rest of the car ride in silence, and sometimes on special occasions were I the one driving I’d offer to let my father off by the side of the highway if he so pleased.
I think that went on maybe two or three times. Then he’d drive his own car or I’d ride with someone else, etc. So it’s not a surprise that he and I don’t talk to each other anymore. What’s the point when you know it will eventually degrade into accusations of your disbelief.
There were however times I questioned how he could believe in a God who took two wonderful women away from my father due to early deaths from cancer. He once admitted that it did sort of shake his faith but my father being the follower that he is, he went right back to it so he can bitch about the pastor, etc.
Of course my atheism has gotten me in hot water on other occasions. At one place of employment the boss was a fundie Catholic. Four of six members of his staff including me, we were all atheists. I find that in the I.T. realm there’s quite a bit of atheism for some reason.
And I love,absolutely love debating why people still believe with priests. It’s a trip. They’re so brainwashed that they cannot see what is right in front of them.
I look at it this way – we’re pressed enough for time as it is. Why waste the time believing in a non-existent deity? And then of course recall that the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had their pantheons of Gods who’ve faded out with history. Why not God and Jesus Christ, the latter of who the evidence is increasingly pointing to the non-existence of even the so called Prince of Peace.
I also look at how religious belief has retarded progress over the eons. We still fight the battles today what with the contraception thing with the churches and the health care reform act. But it goes further – I have a firm belief that every boy and girl by age 1 or 2 should be vaccinated for HPV. But of course the religious idiots (And don’t get me started on the anti-vaxers) say that it’ll only make it more permissible for kids to have wanton misdirected sex. But then we have states with abstinence only sex eduction where the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases are SKYROCKETING. How’s that working out for them one has to wonder.
The best advice I can give anyone who has doubts about their religion is to actually READ the entire Bible. Don’t cherry pick, read it all. it is only when you do that you start to realize the contradictions inherent in the text.
But I’m encouraged by things like Skepticon, The Atheist Experience out of Austin, TX etc. These people were all once very religious and they were able to lift the veil and see that it was all so much pulled out of someones ass.