The reason I have decided to become an atheist was based around my experience with religion growing up. I come from a Catholic family, that by alot of means were very liberal in their practices. I remember tending a Catholic preschool at a very young age when my grandmother was deeply involved with the church. It was then my first exposure to religion had taken root. My mother, who practiced her religion very loosely, had decided that the teachings of Christ should be taught to us through the means of a protestant church. So beginning at the ages of 5, we would begin going to a baptist church located in the down town area of my city. I can vaguely remember the smell of old wood and mold in the place as the pastor and his constituents would do their best to ease the anxiety of all of the new kids tending to their Sunday services.
It was about the time that I was cornered by one of the pastors at the age of 6, they had found out what religion my mother was practicing. Upon him asking me to confirm my mothers religion, as Catholic, this grown man told me that my mother was going to burn in hell and there was no salvation for her. After explaining this situation to my mother, she quickly withdrew myself and my sister from this specific church only to put us in another Sunday school. While some of the experiences were joyful, something began to set in about the whole experience. At the young age of 7, I began to take in my observations of people. I would hear whispers from church goers, as well as some of the pastors, that my sister and I were called “the poor kids.” People began to treat us differently, ignore us, and place us in the back during services. I got my first dose of how people can be so fake, even towards young children to uphold their pious attitudes. It was when, the pastor had pressured my sister to be baptised against my mothers wishes, that my mother decided she had, had enough of the church and withdrew us from it. I was one of the lucky ones that didnt succumb to the manipulations of the water ritual.
It was then, from the time I was 8-11 years old, I had endured great amounts of physical abuse, because of the poor choices in my mothers boyfriends, mental abuse, and at one age, sexual abuse from one of my mothers boyfriend’s male friends. During the entire process, I had tried and tried to take to heart the teaching of this Jesus character and God would come to my aid and rescue me from all of these painful trials. Nothing. Years of prayer, protection, forgiveness, guilt, anguish, still, the magical man in the sky ignored everything.
It was through my teen years that I had begun to experiment with other religions, as well as the use of drugs. I confirmed myself to be a black witch at the age of 14, started being highly infatuated with demonology, evil spirits and Satanism. My mother of course, hearing about my practices, decided to teach me the “correct way” to witchcraft. I know, silly to hear that not only was my mother a Catholic, she was also into witchcraft. My willingness to commit to such bullshit began to fade and I decided a new approach to settle my inner rage could be found through the practice of Buddhism. That didnt last long either. The subtle approach to life just didnt work out. I had an animal inside that was too ferocious for the peace, love, kumbaya crap. It wasnt mentioned, but I had attempted to take my life 3 times. It was about the last time, I was 18, feeling sorry for myself and hopeless that no God out there could ease my pain, I attempted to hang myself. It was in those few moments that I had a revelation about the whole thing. I had told myself, that life is how you make it. There is no need to feel the guilt given to you by some religion, non-entity, or people to make it. It was at that point, I was trying to define myself as what I truly felt was necessary to me and what felt right. Atheism defined exactly what I had felt. Since then, I have lived a life with no regret. I feel free from the bondage’s of mental slavery and it is the experience of life without guilt that has made me relish life so much more. I am currently 33 years old, I have a wonderful family and a great life. All of this without the need of an imaginary sky super fiend.