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Why I am an atheist – Carlos

As a Mexican, I was raised following most of Catholic traditions. Even when my parents aren’t that devout themselves (I suspect they are closet atheists), they go with the flow and as a family we participate of important celebrations. I always was critical about beliefs and irrational thinking and that got me a few discussions at school, but nothing too prominent or problematic.

Got married with a beautiful girl and as tradition demands, got married at her hometown’s church (By the way, the prenuptial “conferences” they make you take are just pathetic and it was very difficult for me not to object or run away from such nonsense. The marriage itself wasn’t better, the priest was always behaving as an obnoxious dictator who had the right to tell you how to live your life. Well, typical catholic behaviour, I guess).

The huge change came when we both left the country to do a PhD in the UK. First the cultural shock (Mexico is quite homogeneous in terms of population and faith) and second, being away from family and friends, people tend to search company and shelter in groups. By the way, International students are a good market that chaplaincies and congregations are always trying to reach.

Then we had this other Mexican family who were “friends” with us and from the beginning they joined their local Methodist church. After a couple of months they started pushing us to join and eventually the husband invited us to Alpha Course sessions at their house. After having that dose of nonsense, I did whatever a good research student would have done and spent some time on the internet learning about the Alpha Course. By that time Richard Dawkins launched the Atheist Bus Campaign and serendipitously found Dawkins’ books cited in a book I was reading for my PhD.

The rest was easy, devouring atheist books and websites, whatever little faith I had vanished into oblivion and now I’m able to see all damage religions make to mankind and society.

So at the end I have to thank our Mexican fellows (of course as good Christians they unfriended us as soon as we didn’t accept his zombie god as saviour) for awakening a level 7 atheist in me.

Carlos
Mexico

Comments

  1. 'Tis Himself says

    of course as good Christians they unfriended us as soon as we didn’t accept his zombie god as saviour

    Did you expect any other reaction?

  2. chrisv says

    Congratulations on achieving level 7. I also am a 7. In fact, unless one truly believes in a god…really and truly believes…is a true 1…then one is a 7. Belief is belief. It’s like pregnancy…you can’t be just a little of some things. Now, if some supernatural something or other were to pop up by your side and drop two truckloads of floppin’ catfish on your lawn, you might be inclined to reconsider. Or sue the jerk. Whatever, experience indicates it won’t happen so be comfortable in your size 7 skin.

  3. cconti says

    Your reference of the pre-nuptial meeting triggered memories that had been buried for decades.

    My wife and I married in Canada (her home) in a medium size resort town in BC. I had made a deal with my wife back in San Francisco (a very far away place from where we would get married).

    “If you Mama wants a priest, so be it. But only for the ceremony and only to make her happy”

    It didn’t work out. The canadian family organized every single aspect of the marriage, including the dreadful pre-nup meeting.

    I quickly figured out that saying I was an atheist was not going to fly very well. personally, I could have cared less, but this was my wife’s family and already I was not Mr. popularity.

    Fortunately, I figured out the pastor belonged to some obscure evangelical sub-set I had never heard of but me being Italian born that made me also catholic, so whatever it was that he wanted me to do, prayers, genuflections, etc. I leveraged his ignorance of Catholicism and claimed heresy. I even told him that Catholics did not recite the Lord’s prayer in public, nor can we be seen praying or partecipating in any non catholic ceremony else my eternal soul was going to sizzle in hell for eternity. He bought the whole thing hook line and sinker (fortunately, Google was a long way in the future).

    He took his revenge by choosing the wedding music. A set of tunes that made my skin crawl and made mid 80′s pop sound like Mozart’s Requiem.

    her parents also took their sweet revenge for my manhandling of their pastor: they booked us into a hotel frozen in time circa 1971. It had a coin-op massage and a waterbed (how that was supposed to work was a mystery to me). When the day was finally over and we overcame our dread at the room decor (my bride almost called the airline to check on late night flights home), we finally sat on the bed to rest our sore feet.
    As my wife was already sitting on the bed I sort of dropped on it the way people do when they act like their legs can no longer support their own weight… and net thing I know, my wife was propelled up in the air not unlike the way those guys with the giant balloon by the lake accomplish on the famous youtube videos.
    That’s when the nature of the bed made itself known to us.

    We could not get out of there fast enough and it was the beginning of my wife path to atheism.