My About information in the column of this main page reads as follows:
Inquisitive, atheist, moral skeptic. Obsessive by nature and non-apologetic. Interested in science fiction with a particular appreciation for utopias, dystopias, dinosaurs, time travel, parallel universes, androgyny, and artificial intelligence.
The first sentence has been recently changed from ‘agnostic’ to ‘atheist.’ I will explain the reason for this change later and in the next post. But, first is a glimpse into my history.
As an INTP, I have always had very little in common with others. My thirst for knowledge and need to question everything I encounter, manifested very early in life. Until the age of 8, I lived in a community of what can only be described as fanatical Christians.
People in this community went to church several times a week. My grandmother could recite large parts of the Bible. The stories I heard of Jesus seemed incredible if true, but there were too many holes. The explanations of Sunday school teachers never satisfied. The less they satisfied, the more questions I asked.
I considered the possibility that it was just those particular Sunday school teachers that could not come up with a good way of explaining anything. They must be stupid, I thought. The plan was easy: I just needed to question people who would know more–such as the priest. The priest, however, did not satisfy my questions either. In fact, I was singled out, my parents were called in, and there was an exchange about how much shame I ought to feel for questioning God. By age 5, I had been ‘kicked out’ out of Sunday school several times for ‘disrupting the peace’ with my questions.
I was baffled that other children could sing Christian songs and talk about Jesus like they believed. Maybe it was all an elaborate joke and the priest followed by church goers would gather all of us kids one Sunday and say, “Aha! Got you!” We would all laugh and that would be the end of it. For several weeks, I looked at adults suspiciously and scrutinized their moves in attempts to predict the date of the Big Reveal. It was actually quite exciting–that is, until it became obvious there was not going to be a Big Reveal.
I wondered if there was some truth these children were being told that wonderfully and logically explained everything and I had somehow not been made privy to it. I eliminated that possibility soon enough. From my questions and my grandmother’s recitations, I knew far more about Christianity than they did.
I became convinced that there was something wrong with the Bible. Those who wrote it had supposedly been inspired by God. But, God could not possibly be that irrational! I thought, maybe they were not that ‘fine tuned’ to God and therefore misinterpreted the most important details! All those poor people I went to Church with were believing in lies. With so many believing these lies, the problem was out of control. Something had to be done right away. The situation was desperate!
I spoke to anyone who would listen and explained the ‘holes’ and how they were all believing lies. It did not go over well. At first, I thought the reason they did not believe me was because as a child I must not have been explaining it very well. I became obsessed with coming up with more detailed explanations to vanquish everyone’s delusions. None of them worked. It then occurred to me that if I could get the priest to see–someone whose word carried weight–then when he explained the truth, the delusion would automatically disappear.
This did not work either.
The priest would not be swayed. I was told I was embarrassing my family with my disbelief. How dare I a child think such things! I eventually concluded my explanations were not the problem. They just believed in the lies so thoroughly nothing anyone could say would change their minds. I resented being forced to attend Sunday school. I resented that everyone thought I needed to be made an example of.
I tried different ways to escape to no avail. Eventually, I realized since there was no way out and I did not want to be punished all the time, the only recourse was to say nothing. It worked. The elders because convinced that I was now convinced about God and the punishments did not come. In fact, they were extra nice, telling me that everyone loses their way at some point and what mattered was that I found my way back. That was when I became a different kind of example–an example of how God works on even the most deluded.
By the time I was 8, my family moved to a different country. The priest at this new Church was Anglican and they had women priests. Aha! I thought, these people are different. They must not be deluded. If I told them again what I had told everyone else in the last community . . .
This did not work either.
Worse, I had to study and go through the ritual of First Communion and pledge in front of everyone my allegiance to God. My parents were angry with me that day. They said I looked like I was going to my execution instead of to a wonderful ceremony. I told them they were executing my soul. They said I was being dramatic and disobedient. They warned that I better not embarrass them in front of everyone. I looked miserable but I went through with the ceremony. I decided in the end that pretense would avoid punishment.
I moved countries again a year and a half later. The new community was Anglican. My parents had decided that the Anglican denomination encouraged fairer treatment of women and was more open minded in general. However, there were no Anglican schools. I was sent to Catholic schools and remained there until graduating from High School.
Junior High was the worst. I stressed whenever the school had to walk to the church next door for mass. I thought this was another thing wrong with the Bible. Hell did not exist after death. Hell was right then and there, especially each time I set foot in that church. I bribed my friends into giving me their spot in line in order to be the the very last person to go to confession.
I refused to confess to anything.
The priest would sigh each time he saw me—‘saw’ being the operative word for in this Church one had to confess in a small room looking the priest directly in the eyes. I made a point of stating to the priest that this was not designed to benefit me but rather to humiliate. He learned to just give up and send me off with several dozen Hail Marys and Our Fathers. In my last year of Junior High, I was in and out of the confessional with such speed, it was like a confessional drive thru.
Unfortunately, that last year, I had no choice about getting Confirmed. I had put it off for so long, the people at Church were talking about an intervention. The last thing I wanted, was to sit through that and get preached upon even more.
Without Religion classes, one could not obtain a High School diploma. The High School courses purported to encourage debate unlike the no tolerance approach in Junior High. We were taught about world religions. I asked my religion teacher why we did not learn about Atheism considering we were learning to be ‘open minded’ by studying other religions. Evidently, Atheism was not part of the curriculum.
I have always had little tolerance for hypocrisy, but growing up with Religion, I now possess zero tolerance.
It was not surprising that Atheism was not part of the curriculum. I did not even know such a word existed because in order for that to happen, one has to be aware that there are others who do not believe in God. More importantly, that they actually have evidence to back up their disbelief instead of disbelieving because they are hateful, evil people. Therefore, not only were Atheists evil, misguided souls, but the mere word was to be fervently avoided. It was not until graduating from High School and purchasing a book on Atheism, that I learned the reasons. The arguments were so simple and the evidence so convincing that it was simply . . . beautiful.
The Internet is a wonderful invention. It is good to know there are others who think like me. That there are others who see religion as a delusion. I resent not being taught about Atheism as a child. Everyone acted like the existence of God was a given. All those years, I worked on ‘If God exists and God thinks this, then God must be angry with this or happy with that et cetera.’ It would have saved me a lot of frustration if I had known that the option of not believing in God existed. Moreover, that the option was supported by actual logical reasons and not a byproduct of a flawed character.
Instead, no one spoke of the reasons. Merely asking for them was thoroughly frowned upon. Instead of reasons, one was given ignorance. One’s character was abused, deemed weak for allowing Satan deep into one’s mind to question, reminded of Hell, and most of all, showered and drowned with Guilt.
I think of it as Intellectual Rape. It is abusive. Later on, I became interested in brainwashing practices and techniques. I superimposed them over Religion and with it came even greater clarity. I felt resentment and outrage over what was done to me. But worse than that, was that millions of people over the world looked on these practices and not only did nothing to stop the abuse, but encouraged it.
The reason I was not taught about Atheism is obvious. The God idea cannot survive scrutiny and any idea that cannot survive it is not worth believing, much less modeling one’s life after, or worse yet, dying for.
The God Delusion and its abusive implementation is actually quite beautiful in its perversion. As far as Christianity is concerned, you can look back 2,000 years and marvel at the level of bold, consistent, all encompassing manipulation required to convince so many people.
At its base, exists a relentless thirst for power. 2,000 years ago, humans were already mass brainwashing to such extremes that followers were absolutely convinced into giving up their lives as fuel to ensure and propagate a monstrous delusion! That it continues today is not a testament of its validity as believers would suggest, but rather a testament of a well designed brainwashing machine.
The techniques that machine uses are universal and still powerful and applicable today. This is a major problem. I questioned enough to seek information about Atheism to understand both sides well enough to make a conscious choice. Some people are simply less susceptible to brainwashing than others. These same people are more likely to jump the fence into Atheism or Agnosticism. Yet, even I, someone who considers themselves less susceptible to brainwashing than others, when I first opened the pages of that Atheism book years ago, whilst the arguments were convincing, emotionally I felt guilt for finding them so.
That guilt is now gone of course. However, it cannot be underestimated. For most, the brainwashing is so complete, that simply looking at a book with the word ‘Atheism’ somewhere in the title is enough to turn away in shame much less pick it up and read it. I do not believe most people have the willpower to keep that guilt in check long enough to read the arguments behind Atheism objectively. Looking at them objectively means you are inviting the possibility of being converted, which means you are being blasphemous, and most humans go out of their way to avoid discomfort.
This is why if you ask most Christians about Atheism and they are honest enough, and not ashamed of recognizing their limitations, will admit they do not really know the arguments behind Atheism. All they know is that Atheism is not for them. Having God in their lives enriches them, makes them feel good, gives them a reason to socialize with others, and anything that offers these things cannot be that bad. This just indicates that many care more about what feels good than what is true.
At any rate, most people are not that honest, and Christians being humans, will attack Atheism long before they admit to ignorance on the subject. Most religious leaders, of course, are ever so eager to support this ignorance and so the cycle continues. Whilst I believe a great deal of people are frustratingly dim regardless of religious orientation or lack of it, the major problem I see with believers is not stupidity. It is weakness–a susceptibility to brainwashing. It would be wonderful if advances in psychology, science, and technology could eventually lead to a cure for this.