Why am I an atheist? 2 reasons…I was too logical as a child, and because the church told me I was going to die horribly, my soul was doomed, and there’s nothing I could do about it and my suffering was going to be a gift from god.
Let me explain. I was raised catholic and always hated the church. I had no problem with God at that age, but the church and it’s silly rules seemed to counter every fiber of common sense even unto itself. I saw very early on that every year literally the same gospels were always being said…the story always stopping, and the vast majority of the holy book never being referenced. It didn’t take long for me to see that “Hey, I heard this last year, and the year before…why don’t they change things up and read a different reading?” Then I read the book cover to cover, and understood exactly WHY they were leaving a lot out! So being an innocent child, I asked the priest if he’d be willing to explain at easter during his speech why God made the pharaoh’s heart harden so he’d refuse to release the slaves so he could torture the innocent people more and kill the babies when the pharaoh wanted to let them go several times. It just didn’t seem like a godlike thing to so. I was told “absolutely NOT” and the “wise priest” simply walked away! Seemed a simple question so why the hostility.
That’s when I started listening at church…REALLY listening. I listened how every week we were asked to mindlessly say the creeds (“I believe in God, the father almighty…I believe in Jesus Christ…etc…”), saw how we were all called the lowest of the low and only through belief would be we saved, and noticed it to be exactly like brainwashing techniques we were being taught in school that captured soldiers would be put through in the Korean/Vietnam wars. I questioned why we had to confess sins to a priest when God knows and sees all…seemed pointless to me to tell a HUMAN something when it’s GOD who’s doing the forgiving and odds are he set up the situation in the first place! That was another thing…I saw early on that EVERYTHING good was God, and EVERYTHING bad was Satan, no exceptions. People died, satan did it, one person saved, God did it.
Since I had so many questions and the priests were refusing to answer them, my parents encouraged me to attend an after church program, kind of alike a special school for advanced theology. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the teachers and bishops certainly didn’t enjoy me!
(bishop) So it is through Jesus that you will be saved and the Holy spirit is in you.
(me) But what about the Egyptian gods…or the greek gods? Aren’t they just as real?”
(bishop) No, those are myths, but our tales are true. There is only one god.
(me) bit the Bible itself says that God is to be judged AMONG THE GODS, and the first commandment says “have no other gods before me” That’s pretty plain that there are other gods. Didn’t you KNOW that was in there, I read it just the other night!
(bishop) Well…er…ummm…if you read it again and again the spirit will help you INTERPRET the true meaning of the verses, so don’t look at it so literally.
(me) but you said the book was the holy word of god, and now you’re saying not to take it literally? Which is it?
(bishop) clearly Satan is trying to deceive you, you should pray for guidance. Now moving on…it’s through Jesus that you will be saved, so let’s open our books to…
Yup…it was Satan who was making the words say what they did.
But it became VERY easy when I was told I was hopelessly doomed. You see, due to a childhood accident I have a severe phobia of ashes (long story, not relevant). As you know, a phobia is an irrational fear, beyond all control, and the accident certainly wasn’t my doing. I cannot be near them without panicking, and certainly cannot allow them to touch me at all.
(bishop) The easter duties are sacred, you MUST perform them to be saved.
(me) But I can’t…it’s simply impossible. Isn’t faith and actions enough…Father Landrey said last week that…
(bishop) No, by choosing not to receive the ashes your actions show you have no faith. Let God guide your emotions and simply receive the blessing and trust him…
(me) NO! I CAN’T DO THAT!!! Don’t you understand??? I pray, I do good, why would God care about some stupid ritual that HE made impossible for me?
(priest) God wouldn’t afflict you with this, but Satan would. Through God you can beat this though, let your faith guide you to him.
(me) but God did bad things to Job, so why did you assume Satan did it? Besides, again why would God care if I got some stupid ashes smeared on me regardless of how else I act? Are you saying that believing in everything you’re saying and Jesus and God and doing good to others and loving everyone and helping everyone isn’t enough? That God would damn me to Hell just over some stupid ritual that I can’t do because he made it impossible???
(both talking over each other) Yes…God didn’t give you your fear, Satan did…you must follow his runes…have more faith…beat your test…doesn’t matter how good you are the Easter duties must be performed or your soul is doomed…
(me) NOTHING I CAN DO WILL GET ME TO HEAVEN??? GOD wants nothing to do with me if I don’t get the ashes?
(bishop) I’m sorry, but yes, that is true.
(me) Than when you told me he was a just and loving god you were lying, and I don’t like liars!!! He’s just a cruel bully toying with people apparently, Job, Pharaoh, Moses, his own son…ALL of them got their lives destroyed by your God, NOT SATAN!!! GOD!!!
With that I stormed out, told my parents the story, and never looked back to catholic faith. Exploring other faiths I found that these rules didn’t apply, but that was even more revealing. They all believed in God but had different rules for salvation. How did THEY know they were right and the others wrong? What made them different han those who believed in the “false myths” of the Greeks? THEY thought they were right too! So I studied ALL theologies looking for one that actually could back up their words, as clearly I was lied to several times already.
To my surprise (but nobody here’s surprise), NONE of them had evidence! Not one had anything concrete, it was ALL faith!!! But science could explain a lot and more importantly was willing to admit when it couldn’t. THAT was the key to me…the willingness to encourage questions and demand answers…admit when they don’t know something, and then test until they do to discover an answer. The entirety of astronomy was based on not knowing but guessing and testing, and more and more on earth had explanations as soon as you researched it.
I still believe that something may help guide the world and nature, and that something MAY even be a god. It may just as well be an extradimentional entity we ASSUME to be a god, or maybe it’s all some other force or interactions with real physics we simply haven’t discovered or understood yet. The day that a faith can prove their claims I’ll be the first to believe again…until then, they have to prove their claims a lot better than “have faith”. Faith is for defeatists…reason and logic is what the world operates in, and now, so do I.