When I was 5, I had a teacher, whom I now recognise was a fundamentalist Christian. Which actually is quite rare in the reasonably affluent, relatively liberal area of London I live in.
She used to talk regularly about the glory of God and Jesus, and how Jesus came down to save us all, blah blah blah. We’ve all heard it.
But the thing that got me was when she said we could communicate with god. She told my class that if we sat very quietly, we’d be able to hear God talking to us. When you’re 5 you take your teacher’s word on pretty much everything. I remember thinking that I’d never get that kind of quiet at school with all the boisterous kids, and that at home I’d struggle too, as I have a brother 2 years my senior with severe learning disabilities, who was normally making a racket.
However, one day my brother was out. I had my chance. I went up to my room and sat in silence and waited. And waited. And waited.
And then I knew. It was, as we say in England, utter bollocks. All of it.
I enjoy this story especially when people are preaching to me, giving it the old, “if you ask God sincerely to reveal himself to you, he undoubtably will”. You don’t get any more sincere than a 5 year old fully expecting to hear God talk to you. There’s no comeback for them there.
As I’ve got older, I’ve never had any doubts. Not even close. I just cannot see how any serious minded person can believe any of the crap in any holy book you care to pick up. It’s all so insane. I mean, Jesus, born of a virgin. Resurrected. Really? Mohammed, flew up to heaven on a winged horse. Really? Talking snakes. Men living in Whales. Really? Are you 6 years old?
I’m now loving the “new” atheist movement, and the attempt to rally the troops, so to speak, in the fight against religious fundamentalism, in all it’s preposterous, irrational forms, whether it be Islamic fascists or the moronic creationists pushing their crap in class.
So here’s to the continued rise of free thought, rationalism and humanism. We are slowly, but surely building a better world.