Watts wrote a check he couldn’t cash »« Stereotypes

Why I am an atheist – Julia

For the first twelve years of my life, my mother frantically tried to bring me up in her Baptist church. She was elated that one of the first words I learnt to spell was “Jesus” at age 2. My father (who I found out to be an atheist last year) is a pilot and would conveniently bring me on fishing trips every few Sundays. It struck me as odd that he never had to go to church, but I didn’t really ask about it.

It wasn’t very long until I started questioning. When I was 5, my Sunday School teacher “disproved” the big bang by throwing a bunch of hard plastic animal toys into a plastic bag and shaking them up together. “See?” he said. “Everything is the exact same as when it went into the bag. This means that the only way the universe could have started was through god!”

Well, I was 5. It was the ’90s. I was irrevocably in love with Bill Nye. I told my Sunday School teacher that actually, no, he had done nothing to increase the entropy inside the bag, and how on earth can you perform nuclear changes by banging a bunch of polymers together?!

This would mark the first time I embarrassed my mother in church. I’m sure it wasn’t the last. There was so much they taught that just never made sense to me—How can everyone in heaven be happy if they know people they love are in hell? Why didn’t this all-powerful god hint to my aunt who died of rare duodenal cancer that she should get an endoscopy earlier? Moreso, why is this god such a jerk in general? Why is every religion “right”? What if religion is a farce and I waste my entire life—all that I have to live—following obscene rules instead of doing what I want? Why do these people say that without god, they would just be out raping and murdering all day? And why on earth do my Sunday School teachers keep telling me I’m going to burn in hell for listening to Queen?

By the time I was about 12, I didn’t have to go to church anymore. Whether news of my questions reached my mother and she decided I was too much of an embarrassment, or she decided that if church and years of bible camp couldn’t sway my mind, nothing would, I don’t know. I’m now involved in an atheist club in my university where I’m studying biochemistry—a combination she’s not pleased with, but has learned to accept.

So, why am I an atheist? Bill Nye helped me how to think and introduced me to science before my anyone else did. My childhood curiosity refused to take “Goddidit” as an answer. My amazement for the universe and how it works grows each year, and I refuse to stop at such superficial answers and instead look for the elegance of what truly goes on. I’m an atheist because I’ve always been an atheist, and can’t imagine being limited by believing in magical sky fairies.

Julia
Canada

Comments

  1. redwood says

    Nice story, good writing. One thing I’ve noticed in this series is that a common denominator for atheists seems to be a willingness, even a necessity, to question what is told us and not to accept it without reasonable evidence. I love Julia’s questions. It’s the step that most religious people dare not take, perhaps because of a lack of curiosity or because they’re afraid of what they might find out or even because they would rather keep their heads in the sand. The ones that take that step are no longer religious.

  2. says

    Hey there, just got through reading your post. Definitely interesting, I have to agree with you of course. I spent the better part of my first 20years being a dedicated Catholic… it was only later on in life that I really began questioning everything and have come to my realizations. I’ve actually detailed it a ton on my blog: http://temporalrelativity.blogspot.com if you’re ever interested you should check out a couple of my posts.

    One of my major harps about it all is the basic BS behind it. None of it makes any sense after you look at it and it actually starts to become ridiculous, much like Santa Clause (which is the comparison I use in my posting). In any event, have a great day!!

  3. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Another Why I am an Atheist giving props to Bill Nye! Awesome!

    My amazement for the universe and how it works grows each year, and I refuse to stop at such superficial answers and instead look for the elegance of what truly goes on.

    QFT! There’s nothing quite like like GODDIDIT! to take the beauty and amazement away.

  4. felly says

    humans are so arrogant..
    they try to solve all the cases in the world with their own sense
    friends, God is so great to be explained, because He is God.. :)

  5. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Fuck you, Felly.

    Shouldn’t you be in church or something?

  6. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    How can good questions be so embarrassing, how can that be? Kids, if you are in an environment where you asking deep questions brings shame upon your family, get the hell out of there!

  7. Jack van Beverningk says

    In general I like these stories too, but if I may be so pedantic as to offer two tips:
    1) Before submitting your story, slowly read what you wrote back to yourself out loud: that’s the best way to find most of the typos. (things like: “and introduced me to science before my anyone else did”)
    2) Resist the temptation to tell us how incredibly smart you were at a very young age (like correcting your teacher about entropy at age 5): you lose credibility (even when the story is true), and nobody likes overly smart kids.

    .. but by all means, keep the stories coming (especially the ones by people who ‘saw the light’ at a later age).

  8. says

    Julia,
    I was 5 in the 1970s. I noticed the same thing about my in-the-closet-atheist Dad who was a natural sciences teacher (now retired). My Bill Nye was Carl Sagan (though I loved Nye, too, even in my late 20s). Dad & I watched & taped every episode on PBS. Dad took me to NASA back when it was WAY geekier than it is now. And the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where my dad was friends with one of the curators, and I got to go “behind the scenes”, places normally off limits to the general public.

    Mom tried to turn me into a good Presbyterian, but even she rejected the more hard-core Church of Christ tradition of HER mother’s (Presbyterianism was my Dad’s family’s faith tradition that he had rejected). I went through the motions but it all seemed like a giant game of pretend to me.

    I finally walked away from church attendance in middle school because I found it boring and decided I preferred to sleep in on Sundays. When I hit puberty, got interested in girls, and then found out how inhumane and anti-sex the church really was, that turned me from a just-so atheist to downright anti-theist ;-)

    But I didn’t become a *confident* atheist until much, much later (Late 20s, early 30s).

  9. KG says

    humans are so arrogant.. – felly

    It’s unsound to generalise about everyone from your own case.

  10. Archaeopteryx says

    I love these stories, and I especially love this one. I wish that, when I was five, I had trusted my instincts the way that Julia did. It would have saved me a whole bunch of time and trouble.

  11. redwood says

    Hey, felly@4, it would be helpful to your point if you could at least be coherent. Your last sentence makes no sense. And speaking of arrogance, isn’t believing that you know the only truth and way a bit on that side?

  12. Otrame says

    @7
    1) this is not a composion class. Keep your “tips” to yourself.

    2) Speak for your self. I LOVE “overly” smart kids.

  13. Corkscrew says

    And why on earth do my Sunday School teachers keep telling me I’m going to burn in hell for listening to Queen?

    That one actually makes sense to me. Maybe it’s a matter of faith.

    2) Resist the temptation to tell us how incredibly smart you were at a very young age (like correcting your teacher about entropy at age 5): you lose credibility (even when the story is true), and nobody likes overly smart kids.

    Jack, you may be right about nobody liking a smart-alec. But if you think this story reduces Julia’s credibility then this is more of a reflection on you than on her. Speaking personally, some of my earliest memories involve trying to get my head round the nuances of faster-than-light travel and arguing with creationists about irreducible complexity.

    A lot of kids are very smart and inquisitive (or at least more so than the average Sunday school teacher). A significant number of these kids will do as I did: read their encyclopedia as far as Ath and decide that our approach makes more sense than the garbage they’re being fed at church. These kids are our future.

  14. mjones says

    Yet again we see that once a child is exposed to the truth it is very hard to convince them to trade it for a much less appealing lie. Everything religiots do in regards to education follows from that.

  15. ManOutOfTime says

    @Jackoff Von Bullenshite – let us know when your personal, thoughtful essay is published so everyone can make uninvited suggestions about your grammar and punctuation. She’s a Bill Nye worshipper – from Canada! Who cares if she misplaced a pronoun?

  16. Jack van Beverningk says

    #13: . Oh shit .. just got caught by the comment police! *shudders*
    Sorry for the ‘composion’ class. *suppressing snarky comment*

  17. says

    When I was 5, my Sunday School teacher “disproved” the big bang by throwing a bunch of hard plastic animal toys into a plastic bag and shaking them up together.

    Will astrophysics never learn?

    If only Hubble had consulted Sunday School teachers prior to publishing his results, what a lot of trouble would have been saved…

    Glen Davidson

  18. ManOutOfTime says

    @Felly – if you could find a way to open yourself up to the wonders of the real universe – what Richard Dawkins calls The Greatest Show on Earth and The Magic of Reality – you might find that there is awe, beauty, and fulfillment far beyond the outdated and man-made fallacies of religion. We live on a planet orbiting a star which is one of billions in our galaxy, and which galaxy is one of hundreds of millions in the visible universe, our bodies and everthing we can see and touch consist of matter spewed from stars billions of years ago, drink water probably deposited here by comets, and every living thing on this earth shares an ancestor way way back in the primordial, nearly oxygen-free soup. It’s all so much more fantastic than which ancient Jew begat which, or who brought the butter dish to Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon. The belief in supernatural gods is a delusion that is holding you back – but there are tools, science and skeptical inquiry, which can heal your mind, and a warm community of reality-based folks with whom to share the journey forward!

  19. Mo says

    Jack –

    She’s smart _and_ she’s female. Threatening?

    [no typos were killed by anal retention in this message]

  20. says

    A general comment: I do have a rule against godbotting, or the usual mindless proselytizing Christians love to do. The “Why I am an atheist” threads are tempting targets for the followers of that undead zombie, so I’m going to be policing them a little more tightly in the future, I think.

    In other words, felly, go bugger a decaying porcupine, then do a quick flip ’round the taint and stuff the whole rancid assemblage up your tightly puckered ass.

  21. niftyatheist says

    Jack:

    #13: . Oh shit .. just got caught by the comment police! *shudders*
    Sorry for the ‘composion’ class. *suppressing snarky comment*

    Haha. What a loser.

    Julia: Excellent essay! Loved your childhood curiosity and spunk. I think the world needs many more children/young adults like you.

  22. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    In other words, felly, go bugger a decaying porcupine, then do a quick flip ’round the taint and stuff the whole rancid assemblage up your tightly puckered ass.

    I ♥ you.

  23. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The comment I wanted to make now seems even more appropriate:
    Your five-year-old self kicked ass, Julia. I love how you described the progress of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

    Jack van Beverningk,
    You could have spared us the pompous advice. I personally like smartasses, but only when they are capable of actually saying something smart.

  24. Kemist says

    …nobody likes overly smart kids.

    In my elementary and high school experience, I have found out that it is mostly stupid and insecure people who dislike very smart kids.

    Had a few teachers like that. I was placed in a group of “gifted” students at the beginning of high school, and some teachers started berating us about it before any of us had even opened his/her mouth.

  25. Lauren Ipsum says

    A Quick Flip ‘Round the Taint would be an awesome title for the autobiography of a porn star.

    And I love smart kids too. And smart-ass kids.

    And now I must acquire as many Bill Nye episodes as I can, alongside Mythbusters, for the joy and education of my offspring, in the hopes that I too will have smart, smart-ass kids.

  26. Kemist says

    humans are so arrogant..
    they try to solve all the cases in the world with their own sense
    friends, God is so great to be explained, because He is God.. :)

    Well, some people have more sense than you do, and have fun trying to understand how things work in the world.

    And you’re lucky there are such people. If there were only people like you, you wouldn’t have this nice computer to type your nonsense on, for instance.

  27. says

    I wasn’t aware of entropy at age five but I was cognizant and aware of reality enough to question my Sunday School teacher concerning the capacity of “The Ark” to hold a pair of all the animals found on earth. This was just the beginning of a very long journey for me when most of what I’d been told then involved a place called “hell” for not being good. I’d discarded most of the obvious nonsense but there is a great deal of power in those brainwashed threats and this particular one kept me in place for approximately the next 40 years. Thanks to the Evangelical movement and the Bush administration I was able to finally take a closer look.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Am I the only one to think felly’s post may have been a parody? Though without a followup, it’s hard to say.

    I’ve notice a godbot on almost every story making remarks, either snark or like the above. Don’t know it is one person using sockpuppets, or a different one each time, like a class project.

  29. says

    I love smart kids. Way to go, Julia! You’re light-years ahead of where I was at that age.

    More proof that we consistently underestimate children.

  30. mijan says

    Oh, for the love of Bill Nye. I think that man has done more good for this earth than people will ever know.

    I’m a tiny bit older than the average Bill Nye fan, but I certainly see the value. For a while, I taught with a group called Mad Science. I’m living in the Bible Belt, and I got to go around teaching science in local schools, in a state where science has been under attack for too long. I got to teach fun science. REAL science. I got the kids to think, to question, to test, to experiment. I got them to realize that none of it was magic, and that there were real, reasonable explanations for EVERYTHING they saw.

    I had to be careful. If I said anything anti-religion enough to get parents angry, I could get fired, even though pretty much everyone in the Mad Science company (including the boss) were skeptics, agnostics, atheists, and so on. I taught one set of courses to a Catholic school. (Those Catholic kids were the biggest brats and bullies, I swear. The public school kids were generally much nicer.) So, I was subtle. I reinforced the idea of questioning things and demanding real proof. I got the kids (as young as six years) to understand what empirical evidence was.

    Finally, one day, a kid asked me one of those questions that you KNOW had come from a Sunday school teacher. I believe the unit was “essential forces.” Gravity, momentum, inertia, magnetism, etc. The question was basically equating gravity to magic. So… for this adorable little 8-year old, I got to explain gravity as a function of mass, not magic. By the end of the class, the girl was so excited that she’d discovered KNOWLEDGE that obviously her Sunday school teacher didn’t have (knowledge = power), and had become fully convinced of her own personal power to test any question and find answers.

    Kids have curious minds, and if you give them the right tools, they’ll go for science over superstition any day of the week… unless you scare them senseless with stories of hell and demons and devils. Remove the fear, and scientific inquiry takes over.

    Which takes me full circle, back to Bill Nye. He doesn’t even address the superstition. He doesn’t give it power. He opens up the floor to free and rational inquiry, and to empirical evidence. He gave voice to the natural inquisitiveness that children possess, and didn’t squash it the way religion does. The result? Bright young adults like Julia who will be a powerful voice of reason in years to come.

    Congrats, Julia, for refusing to take “goddidit” as an answer. Biochemistry was one of my undergraduate majors, too. Don’t let ANYTHING hold you back.

  31. raven says

    The “Why I am an atheist” threads are tempting targets for the followers of that undead zombie, so I’m going to be policing them a little more tightly in the future, I think.

    It looks like one person with multiple sockpuppets. Same style.

    1. Driveby, drop off dumb, godbot garbage. Run away.

    2. Poor grammar.

    3. Contentless.

    4. Written by someone with the intelligence and mental age of a 6 year old normal person.

  32. says

    Julia wrote:
    “I was irrevocably in love with Bill Nye”
    For me it was Don Herbert “Mr Wizard”. He taught us grade school kids how to make fire spewing volcanoes using heavy metal salts.
    Also I must mention Isaac Asimov as an even bigger influence later on.
    I LOVE QUEEN TOO! My first rock concert was Queen back around 1975? Wow. Ticket was $7.00.

  33. Tom Clark says

    “By the time I was twelve, I didn’t have to go to church anymore.” Lucky! My parents made me until last year, at age 16!

    Although they’re unusually intelligent Christians, and are therefore naturally skilled at making excuses.

  34. niftyatheist says

    Mister Sleight of Hand says:
    23 October 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Lauren Ipsum:

    And now I must acquire as many Bill Nye episodes as I can…

    Consider the following your one stop, Bill Nye shop.

    Haha! :D This is awesome. I just read on there that Bill Nye’s birthday is the same date as my daughter who loved his show (she was born in 1989) and is about to graduate with a degree in Physics! I am so delighted by this coincidence that I have just texted her with this random awesome factoid for the day. :D

  35. Dr. Who? says

    “Who’s to say god could be a higher dimensional being quantum physics has some very interesting concepts on the subject. There r the theorized 12 dimensions study each one carefully and reflect upon the science of each theory run an non myopic table against it endorsing religion is in fact an intelligence based upon greater intelligence. NMEs in the pentagon ran this subject, project monarch endorsed the reigns of this theological circus the physics of it are in fact endorsing the god concept. For bits of ur molecular structure r disappearing with it carrying information of what we know not yet but soon science will discover the greater information these synapses of the universe fire sparks of light that convey great information. Knowledge of quantum physics must be at least conceptualized to interpret what is said about such subjects. For what u see is already history, the light takes it’s time to see what is seen. And we r seen for such brief as flash of lightning by a fifth dimensional perceiver. Particles r waves and funny enough act differently when watched. we know not why but ur perception of that reality is changed when perceived. Given rise to the theoretical ‘magic particles’. In fact science is supporting more and more the theorized omniscientific being known as the true god. It’s not the person remember who gives religion it’s sword it’s the interpretation. :) like saying the comptroller general is the one responsible for our fiscal debt it’s just not true!”

    Can someone please explain what the devil this is? I really don’t get it…… I know this is sort of unrelated to the comment thread, but I got into a debate with someone based on this posting, and the other person responded with this….. Which I don’t follow at all……

  36. Echidna says

    I love smart kids; you would have to be very insecure to feel threatened by them. As for credibility, religious coercion starts very young, so tales of not getting sucked in must also be at that age. Kudos to the parent who promoted Bill Nye. And fishing – the example that church is optional.

  37. otrame says

    @41

    That sort of writing is very typical of schizophrenics. I’m not diagnosing here, as there are other things that can scramble the mental processes. At the very least, s/he has swallowed some genuine Grade A bullshit without understanding it even a little. You are very unlikely to accomplish anything at all by continuing the dialogue.

  38. mikee says

    Julia

    Thank you for the wonderful story, I’m sure your ability to question what doesn’t make sense will hold you in good stead in your studies.
    The godbots that your writing has attracted only makes what you say look evern more eloquent next to their naivete.

  39. mikee says

    @ Jack #7

    “but if I may be so pedantic as to offer two tips:”

    Gees, if you really have to

    “1) Before submitting your story, slowly read what you wrote back to yourself out loud: that’s the best way to find most of the typos. (things like: “and introduced me to science before my anyone else did”)”

    Valid point grammatically but why focus on style when this writer has provided so much fascinating content. I don’t think PZ takes marks off for grammatical errors.

    “2) Resist the temptation to tell us how incredibly smart you were at a very young age (like correcting your teacher about entropy at age 5): you lose credibility (even when the story is true), and nobody likes overly smart kids.”

    This is not being pedantic, but rather it reveals that you have a problem with “oversmart kids”. As many others have said here, they do not. And I fail how this would cause a loss in credibility.
    Oversmart kids are wonderful, and people or put them down or dismiss them do both the kids and society in general a disservice. Also an “oversmart” child is not necessarily a rude child, which perhaps what you have the problem with?

    “.. but by all means, keep the stories coming (especially the ones by people who ‘saw the light’ at a later age).”

    Thank you M’Lord, I’m sure PZ is delighted he has your permission to keep the stories coming.

  40. crissakentavr says

    It’s entirely plausible that there is a ‘god of the gaps’ that could impact our reality from some extra-dimentional space via the strange behavior of sub-sub-atomic particles and energies which would’ve been far more influential billions of years ago. And then again, it’s entirely plausible that the strange behavior we see at that level is the pixels of our simulated reality inside some god-like computer. Either one would have to be so large as to not actually matter if they exist, as they are outside our universe and therefore outside of our ability to tell A from B from C. But the one ‘no outside help’ solution does have one thing the others don’t: Simplicity.

    When some god-believer starts talking about particle physics, that’s when it’s time to walk away.

    I have to say, my biggest influence was Asimov. I didn’t have TV until later in my childhood so basics such as Carl Sagan and Mr Wizard were things I knew about, but that I didn’t get to do anything but read. And the books we had at the library were Asimov. So it was he that I read. When Bill Nye was on tv as a comedian-scientist, I was already in middle school.

    But I do have to say, Bill Nye has got it on for getting little kids to have the right words. He’s so cool that way.

    When I was five and questioned the sunday-school teacher, I was sent home for crying. I no longer remember why I was crying, but it was the last time I had to go to sunday school.

  41. Jim McKernon says

    I submitted a letter to Why I Am An Atheist on 10/15 and I don’t know if it was received by you guys or not. Could you let me know in case I need to re submit it?

  42. Hazuki says

    This all brings to mind John Loftus’s “Outsider Test for Faith” (and is a fascinating look into the differences between being exposed to religion as a child and as an adult).

    As an outsider you would consider the entire thing ridiculous but if you’re exposed as a child or shattered and manipulated as an adult, you get this stuff pounded into you and it lingers with you on an emotional level. It’s hard to be rational when you’ve had hellfire and brimstone smashed into your skull from a height of six feet during your formative years.

  43. Therrin says

    I submitted a letter to Why I Am An Atheist on 10/15 and I don’t know if it was received by you guys or not. Could you let me know in case I need to re submit it?

    Jim, he received over 200 submissions, stay tuned through 2012 and it should show up.

  44. says

    Right now I have over 400 submissions. I threw them all in a big folder, and I haven’t even read them: once each day, I randomly pluck one out of the folder and post it. Yours could be the one tomorrow; it could the one in two years.

    Don’t resubmit. I had one guy who tried to increase his odds by sending me a dozen copies — I just delete every one after the first. I suppose if you annoyed me enough with spam I might dig in and extirpate every last one.

  45. Morrison says

    The refrain that “science” equals atheism is the underlying theme to a lot of us.

    I remember how Jack Krebs, of Kansas Citizens for Science, used to deny that science implied atheism in any fashion during the Evoltion Wars.

    Of course, now that he thinks that battle is won he has come out bluntly with his anti Christianity but still waffles on the Science Implies Atheism gig.

    The trouble is, it is now apparent that 2012 is going to see a new battle in Kansas, but also apparent that now…now that Kansas Citizens for Science has been exposed as the Pro Atheist group it was…that KCFS will not be able to lead the counterattack as it did before.

  46. raven says

    I remember how Jack Krebs, of Kansas Citizens for Science, used to deny that science implied atheism in any fashion during the Evoltion Wars.

    WTF are you babbling on about.

    Science is how we understand the real world.

    Religion is beliefs in supernatural entities and realms that are beyond the reach of science.

    They aren’t the same and don’t overlap.

    Religions sometimes or often make claims about the real world. In that case, those claims are a subject of science. Mostly they are just wrong. That isn’t science’s problem. It is religion’s problem.

    Morrison the Fake Atheist:

    now that Kansas Citizens for Science has been exposed as the Pro Atheist group it was…that KCFS will not be able to lead the counterattack as it did before.

    BTW, I don’t believe you are an atheist. You sound really, really dumb.

    I don’t see why KCFS can’t lead the counterattack.

    1. It’s been illegal to teach religious dogmas like creationism in public schools for decades and many court cases. Yet again another fundie xian loss is no big deal.

    2. This is something that Fake Atheist can’t figure out. Atheists are citizens too. They pay taxes, vote, and so on. The No Religions run around 22% of the population, almost as many as the fundies.

    Two more facts for Fake Atheist. Even most xians don’t have a problem with evolution and science. And one of the most hated groups in the USA according to recent polls are fundie xians. A lot of those fed up with the fundies are…other xians.

  47. raven says

    Morrison is probably a sockpuppet for a troll with a zillion ID’s.

    There’s been a lot of driveby godbots and a lot of Fake Atheists over the last week.

    Chances are they are one person of a coven of fundie homeschoolers.

  48. Julien Rousseau says

    In other words, felly, go bugger a decaying porcupine, then do a quick flip ’round the taint and stuff the whole rancid assemblage up your tightly puckered ass.

    How about a twist on that:
    stuff the whole rancid assemblage up your tightly puckered ass then do a quick flip ’round the taint and stuff the whole faeces covered assemblage up your tight urethra.

  49. David Marjanović, OM says

    2) Resist the temptation to tell us how incredibly smart you were at a very young age (like correcting your teacher about entropy at age 5): you lose credibility (even when the story is true), and nobody likes overly smart kids.

    3) Resist the temptation to spread your envy and your argument from personal incredulity all over this lovely thread; and absolutely do not use Leonardo DiFuckingCaprio as your avatar picture.

    Speak for yourself, sneering jerk. I like “overly” smart kids – having been one myself.

  50. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Speak for yourself, sneering jerk. I like “overly” smart kids – having been one myself.

    This. Jackass.

  51. Eric RoM says

    When I asked my pastor during catechism class, “Sooooooo, all those people on the other side of the Earth after Jesus, they’re just out of luck Heaven-wise?” (or something along those lines), and he answered “Yes”, well, that was it for me.

  52. Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor says

    A 5 year old girl questioning bad science with the proper terms is probably the cutest, most squee-worthy thing I can conceive of.

  53. Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor says

    And, Jack, you may hate kids who are smarter than you, but you really can’t go around hating all children, it makes you look so bad.

  54. marcaso says

    The most poignant question Julia poses is “How can everyone in heaven be happy if they know people they love are in hell?”A version of that is doing the rounds at home.

  55. Qwerty says

    “There was so much they taught that just never made sense to me—How can everyone in heaven be happy if they know people they love are in hell?”

    I remember being taught it was a mortal sin (raised Catholic) to miss mass, but my father missed it every week. Apparently my mother did care that her husband was doomed to eternal fire as it was never discussed.

  56. Qwerty says

    “Apparently my mother did care that her husband was doomed to eternal fire as it was never discussed.”

    This should be “didn’t care.”

    Ahh, preview, preview, preview!!!

  57. KingUber says

    Going to heaven is like being assimilated by the Borg, you become part of a hive mind and lose your emotions and individuality, just mindless drones

  58. lpetrich says

    A better analogy for the Big Bang is water freezing – it gets lots of macroscopic-scale order as it does so.