My parents were Catholic, as was their parents, and their parents, etc. as far back as anyone in the family can remember. When I was about 4 or 5, it didn’t understand mass or any of the other rituals and ceremonies that make up Catholicism. I know that I hated going to church, catechism, confession, communion, and all that stuff. But I was sometimes terrified that I might die in my sleep and go to Hell because I wasn’t in a “state of grace.” When I was about 5, my mother told me that Catholics had to suffer in life and that only Catholics went to Heaven. Wow, what a horrible thing to tell a 5 year old! I went to church and catechism every Sunday, and I mean EVERY Sunday. There was no “go or else”, there wasn’t any “or else”. At about 12, I began to doubt all the teachings of the church, but didn’t really know if I believed or not in a god. When I left home, I also quit going to church and told my parents I didn’t believe in any of “that stuff”. My parents practically disowned me for a time. Thereafter, for most of my adult life, religion wasn’t a part of my life and didn’t think about it. I didn’t know or associate with anyone that went to church. I probably did know people who went to church, but they didn’t talk about it. I went to my father’s funeral mass only to please my mother and swore I would never go to a mass again and I haven’t.
When I was 44, I married a woman who was about as Catholic as the Pope. Probably more Catholic because she really believes on all that bullshit. I doubt the Pope does. He’s just another ambitious politician who used religion to gain power and status. My wife and I argue religion all the time, but this hasn’t had a really bad effect on our relationship. At least she finally stopped nagging be to go to church.
But then we moved to northwest Arkansas, part of the Backward, Baptist, Bible, Belt. Here, there’s church on every block, people talk about their church, their religion, their Bible, their Bible study class, their choir practice, etc. etc. constantly. I got so tired of being told in person and on the TV, that the Bible says this and that, that I read the Bible, the ENTIRE Bible, to see what it said. Makes me sick. The best source I know of for turning a believer into a non-believer, is the Bible. The people who are always quoting the Bible and how it is the basis for morality, obviously haven’t read the Bible. If I were god and someone said that I wrote it, I would be insulted. I also read much of the Koran. By the way, Arkansas is one of seven states that has an unconstitutional state law requiring a belief in god to serve in a public office or on a jury. I know this is the law and from personal experience. I was excused from jury duty for refusing to take a religious oath. Arkansas doesn’t say which god you have to believe in, but then you’re given a Christian Bible to swear an oath. Doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, a non-believer, or whatever.
After reading the Bible, I started reading about other religions and also I read Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris , Dennet, plus the writings of religious people. I tried reading a book titled, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” I read about half of it and couldn’t read any more it. Total bullshit, circular arguments and nonsense. For example, “God exists because the universe exits.” “All religions claim to be the true religion”, (true). But in the next paragraph, “of course, Christianity is the true religion.”
I don’t know why people are called Agnostic.
In reality, everyone is an Agnostic. Agnostic means, no knowledge. That is what we have about Heaven, Hell, and an afterlife. Of course religious people “know” there is. Religion enables people to know things that are impossible to know.
In summary, if one studies religion, which of course the clergy forbids, one can only come to the conclusion that it’s all a lie.