Why I am an atheist – Nico Adams

There was exactly one time I went to a “serious” church. My parents took the family to the local Unitarian church every once in a while, but only because taught more lessons about tolerance than it did about Jesus. But my parents are also classical musicians. They have a hectic work schedule, and when I was five, they left us with the nanny on a Sunday morning.

My nanny, of course, was a religious conservative. She was one of the nicest people I’ve known to this day, but when push came to shove, she took us to *her* church.

After I was separated from my siblings (by age group), I remember being placed in a room with a gigantic bucket of candy inside. Naturally us kids went nuts, so the main instructor addressed it immediately. “Okay kids, here’s the deal. You can have one of whatever candy you want in here, but DON’T TAKE THE CRUNCH BARS. I need them for a project later.” Then he left to, quote, “take care of something”.

Right away I noticed this didn’t make sense. What does a grown adult man do with twenty fun size Crunch bars? Build a sculpture? So it made sense when his assistant, a young woman, asked a little girl: “Hey, do you want a Crunch bar?” Of course she did. They’re the best. “You can go ahead and take it. It’s not such a big deal. There are a lot of them in there, he probably won’t even notice.”

And I thought, okay. Everything she just said makes sense. And she’s in charge, after all, so how can you get in trouble for doing what she says? Everybody took a Crunch bar.

A few minutes later Main Man came back, and he was furious. “Did you eat the Crunch bars? Huh? Did you?” As you can imagine, everybody was confused. Nobody was sure if we had done something wrong. To our dismay, Assistant Woman stayed silent.

“Boys and girls,” he concluded, “this was a lesson about temptation.” Woah. What? “When Adam and Eve took an apple from the tree of knowledge, it was because they had been tempted by the snake. Now you know how powerful a force temptation can be.”

I was confused for the rest of the morning because the teacher had clearly made a mistake. This wasn’t temptation: This was god telling Adam and Eve never to eat from the tree of knowledge, changing his mind five minutes later, and then banishing them anyway.

Today this reminds me of what George Orwell famously wrote in 1984: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else will follow.”

I’m an atheist because religion makes a virtue out of believing, against all odds, that two and two make five. Five year olds can see through it, but grown men and women teach themselves not to. The result is terrifying. “Pardon me sir, are you interested in learning about why two and two make five?” “Martin Luther is famous for defying the church and teaching that two and two make five and a half.” “Don’t vote for Obama! He believes that two and two make THREE!”

Personally, I think two and two make four. Next time I’m taking all the Crunch bars.

Nico Adams


  1. gragra, something clever after the comma says

    I’ve always said this: kids aren’t stupid. They know bullshit when they hear it. I remember as a kid in church when they were chanting a psalm about “I the lord your god am a jealous god” and thinking that jealousy didn’t sound very god-like.

    If they can knock the bullshit detector out of your hands at that age then that’s how they get the adult. What they did to you when you were 5 was manipulative and borders on abusive, IMO – fucking with a kid’s head like that.

  2. csmiller says

    Exodus 20:3-5 (KJV)

    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    There, in his own book, he admits he is vain, jealous, narcissistic and insecure. He goes on to demonstrate that he is petty and full of wrath at the slightest wrong.

  3. epicure says

    Just wondering… what size is *fun size*? What the indiarubber ostrich does that mean? Imperial or metric fun size?

  4. Michael says

    I think “Fun size” is the latest, smaller-version of “Bite size”, which we had when I was a kid. Essentially an experiment to see how small they can make a chocolate bar and still sell them at a price that exceeds the profit on selling regular-sized bars.

    On a related-note, I remember when minature hampsters first appeared in pet stores. My immediate thought, based on how big they were, was “Bite size”. lol.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    We can only hope that the assistant later realized her role in personifying Eve, the vile temptress, and turned to raging feminism as atonement for her part in reinforcing institutional misogyny.

  6. stonyground says

    Of course the adults knew that you were all too young to have read and understood the Eden story. Wouldn’t it have been cool if one kid had said “Oh I get it, That guy is God, you’re the snake and we are all little Adams and Eves. The crunch bars are the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Don’t eat the crunch bars kids God prefers people to stay ignorant”. Thinking about it, this little exercise did nothing but demonstrate how the fall was a stitch up. Adam and Eve had been deliberately kept in ignorance of the difference between right and wrong and then condemned for not knowing the difference.

    In the UK ‘Fun size’ choc bars are about double the size of ‘Bite size’ they usually come in bags with about ten in.

  7. johnlee says

    I can remember a toe-curling hymn we were taught to sing when I was very young, all about giving the Lord thanks for “bright new mornings”, etc. It finished “Thank you, Oh Lord I want to thank you that I’m free to thank”.
    Even then it seemed a little freaky…

  8. crocswsocks says

    Of course, in reality, Obama believes two plus two might equal four, but he’s going to have to think about it some more.

    Or… something.