sent in by M.a.o.
This could take a while; never give a prolific writer a chance to express their passionate viewpoint. It just doesn't stop.
To be frank at the beginning, I was supposed to be born Catholic. By the terms of my parents' marriage agreement (so they could be married in my mother's church), I was basically signed off to the Merry Mindfuck Corporation, Peter's Branch, before I was even conceived, since my father is a Lutheran, and she is, obviously, Catholic. Since they didn't want children, they had no problem with it, as far as I'm aware.
Obviously, protective sex has gained a bit since the early 80's.
I was born - and, in a marvelous statement as to the rest of my life, apparently ass-first, forcing them to do Cesearian - and my parents, who had by then moved out of the city, went to take me to the local church for baptismal. So far as I've understood it, the church wouldn't do it for free, as they weren't part of the assembly - my father says $100, which seems a bit odd for 1981, but who am I to understand the mentally depraved? - so I am, to this day, blissfully damned by being un-baptized. (According to my father, if being dunked in water is all it took, he baptized me every time he gave me a bath as a baby. This is why, despite his belief, he is the shit.) This has caused marvelous conflicts with my current boss, but I'll get to that juicy rant later.
Anyway, I was born, missed the baptismal bus, and realized early on that I was also just lucky enough to be born in the most assbackwards, lily-white, conservative Christian county in the state of Wisconsin. I, being half-Mexican and clearly looking it, was of course accepted with full and warmest regards by my classmates - and if you believe that, I have some prime farmland behind my house to sell you as well. Has some bastard angel with a flaming sword who won't leave, though. Needless to say, I was probably the only non-Caucasian student in my elementary school, maybe one of two or three in my middle school, and one of perhaps ten by the time I graduated high school. Almost every single one of them was either Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran (though I still have no fucking clue what the difference is between those last two, and both a Protestant and two Lutherans can't tell me), or, perhaps, a batshit insane Born-Again. Almost every single classmate I had went to Sunday school, which didn't necessarily register in my mind as something religious; just something I could laugh at them for, because HA HA HA, I didn't have to get my ass up to go to church, nor the class.
Why didn't it register? Well, my home life was fucking mad anyway - my parents are so queerily seperate from one another that they may as well just be roommates in the same house. My mother spent most of my life up until high school working second shift and spending her nights at the bar. My father is intelligent, fiercely passionate with his beliefs on whatever topic, but was not the touchy-feely type, really. So I spent much of my time playing outside, having friends who regularly stabbed me in the back, and watching TV. Neither of my parents went to church - I think I've honestly been inside of a grand total of three churches in my life, not counting assembly halls as my aunt is a Jehovah's Witness - so my religious education came mostly in the form of animated Bible Stories. You know. The three kid archeologists in Egypt somehow travel back in time to witness stories from the Bible. Marvelous animation for its time. Completely banal storylines. I had no idea they meant them to be serious. How could I? I never went to church, was told about God or Jesus except through a kind of osmosis, and never really had any reason to believe in the crazy shit. It was TV and a cartoon, and for me as a kid to believe in some Moses dude parting the sea was about the same as me believing there was a group of talking rodents rescuing people in New York.
I also had no idea Jehovah's Witnesses were supposed to be loopy until a few years ago, because my aunt is surprisingly not open - to me, anyway - about her views, I've only seen a few of their assembly halls and I spent the time staring into space, and her kids said nothing about it. She had nice picture books with, y'know, those majestic lions every damned Christian picture book seems to have, but that was about it.
So I grew up thankfully mentally sound, even if my ego took a daily beating in school because I couldn't change my skin colour. Made it into high school without any serious injury, and, thanks to the discovery of music outside of contemporary adult, also underwent a change from "Hopeful, Shy Puppy" into "Somewhat Hopeful, But Why The Fuck Bother?" and continued to watch people, because it's just what I do. I've since realized this may be a clue to my relatively uncluttered headspace; when you're the observer, you're prone to recognizing problems others don't. Almost every single student was some sort of jackass, conforming to the eternal stereotypes of some sort or another, and hopelessly quick to judge. Religion didn't often come up, but it seemed odd that it was so obviously there, hanging over everyone's heads, even if the students who came from the Catholic schools were the worst at breaking the rules. Hypocritical to a fault and completely closed-minded. It made me realize finally that I really was an athiest, because the logical, rational whole of my brain simply couldn't accept the doggeral they drooled. Told my mother when I was seventeen, which prompted a shrill "What?! Of course you believe in God!"
"Uh, no. Why would I? What reason was I ever given to believe in the first place? When have we gone to church? Read the Bible? Give me a break."
That precipitated my third and last visit to a church: I was forcibly dragged to the Catholic Church during our Easter trip to visit our relatives in Texas. Wonderful nap.
It's amazing what you then notice when you've finally realized that yes, people who still believe so strongly in God are completely insane. My born-again aunt is barely above poverty level, because she gave almost all of her inheiritance to her church, and a good portion of her income currently, despite having to raise a son - who was born a bastard, I will add, from a member of that same church. My roommate is a WELS Lutheran, born a bastard - his father is, from records, one of the richest men in Wisconsin - adopted by a pastor and his wife, and is apparently haunted by his dead mother and sister's spirit, which means he is not only mentally tipped, but spiritually questioning. Constantly. I'd call him an athiest if only for the fact he can curse God, God's plan, and everything else, yet still say he believes in Jesus. He can agree with almost everything I point out that contradicts the Bible, the sheer mind-numbing idiocy of Christianity, the hypocrisy of God, yet still revert back to the ol' Jesus hype.
My boss and her husband are WELS Lutheran too, after changing from Protestant in a snit over being snubbed over a building contract for the church, and from her once being Catholic - all Mexicans are, pretty much. They stand as a monument as to why I am gloriously athiest. She is the most insanely hypocritical, racist, insensitive Christian I've met, yet claims I'm close-minded and terrible. He pretty much follows whatever she says, because he is whipped. Both of them together are like a fundamental tornado of bricks; it appears suddenly, beats you without a chance of a real defense, and disappears, leaving chaos in its wake. Not surprisingly, they're also staunch Republicans who voted for Bush both times, even writing a letter to the local paper this last time as to the fact that voting for Bush is essentially a vote against the evil, Godless terrorists, and if he wins, we've won against them. She apparently said letting Terri Shiavo die could allow for a second Holocaust, as Hitler got the idea from euthanizing the drooling retarded.
Not a single Christian can tell me yet the real reason God kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden. It's fascinating to tell them what it says - have them dispute you - then pulling out the Bible and pointing to the very quote. Silence.
It's also fundamentally disturbing to see people believe in a theological entity that is perfect, but flawed; loving and kind, yet vengeful and spiteful; the Only God, who still refers to other gods; who made us "In His Image," begging the question that if it was spiritual and mental instead of physical, was God originally as dumb as a sack of bricks? To see people believe in a book that offers up flawed moral advice, only to spit venom at others who actually follow a moral creed Christians claim they're solely entitled to. To see people believe in a religion that has sparked the raping and looting of fellow Christians, the raping and looting of non-Christians, the forcible conversion of thousands, the torture and burning of thousands, and the current trend of wartime hypocrisy.
Being athiest isn't a decision. It's practically a lifesaving device.
Note: as some fundamentalist will no doubt leave some misspelled, improperly typed and punctuated remark to the point of me needing to find God because He's so marvelous and blahblahblah, I'll say this; tend to the log in your own eye, before you look to the splinter in another's eye.
Have a pleasently misguided day.
Email Address: 8_24 at grievousbodilyharm dot com