Why I am an atheist – Schwag

I’m an atheist because of a nun.

I went to Catholic school, Kindergarten until third grade.

One morning, when I was in first grade, I was called to the front of the class by the teacher, who was a nun. Three or four other students were called up as well.

Sister told the class that she hadn’t seen us at church the previous Sunday. I don’t remember what her point was for doing it.

All I remember thinking is ‘This is bullshit.”

I was 6 years old.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have an epiphany. But it got the ball rolling.



  1. says

    Yes, nothing says “Jeebus Loves You” like getting set in front of your friends and humiliated for something you had no control over. That goes right along with original sin come to think of it, you didn’t have anything to with it but you’re going to pay with your life anyway by God. Fucking bastards.

  2. Rodney Nelson says

    The Catholic Church considers shaming people to be an important device in keeping the laity in line. The Church teaches that everyone is unworthy sinners. Sinners should be humble and that humility is reinforced with humiliation. The laity should be ashamed of their failures and sins, they will never be perfect or worthy but guilty and ashamed.

    The flip side is when the Church’s bad actions are pointed out, the chain of command gets very angry with attempts to shame them. They’re inspired and directed by God, so calling them out for bad behavior is accusing God of immorality. That’s one reason why the Catholic Church keeps refusing to accept responsibility for pedophile priests and instead blames everyone from the Jews to atheists to the children themselves for the priests’ child raping and the hierarchy’s coverups.

  3. rogerfirth says

    I went to Catholic school from 1st through 8th grades. There was a mass every morning at 7:30, and class started about 8:30. I never went to the daily mass — I just arrived when classes started. My parents just dragged me to the weekly mass on Sunday morning or Saturday evening and that was good enough for them.

    One morning in school I was called out of class and dragged down to the office. There was a priest there with the principal (a nun). The priest yelled at me for interrupting his mass that morning by talking in the back and demanded I be punished. I tried to tell him I wasn’t there. I begged and pleaded, and asked them to call my Mom — she’d verify that I wasn’t there. They refused, and they made me stay after school.

    When I finally got home in tears and told my Mom about it, I asked her to call the school and complain. But she would have none of it. The priest had his reasons and she wasn’t going to question him.

    That was the moment I started hating priests and nuns, and lost respect for my Mom. I still loved her until the day she died, but I could never get over how she gave in. She knew I wasn’t there but she wouldn’t do anything because Father Whatsizfuck was to be respected at all costs.

    To this day I still hate priests and nuns. I simply can’t have any respect for people who give their entire lives over to a bizarre fantasy of a big daddy in the sky and a savior on a stick and claim authority over others because if it.

    And I hate them for making me lose respect for my Mom.

  4. says

    I was 7 when a nun told me that God cared about the way I folded my hands during prayer.

    Had a similar reaction to yours.
    Wait…what? No. No. Only a fool would even…think……
    Only a fool…

    Only a FOOL…

    ONLY a fool…

    Oh maaaaaan!

    What the hell am I doing here?

  5. kingbollock says

    My favourite Nun story is about one that taught at our school. Though, strictly speaking, she was an ex-Nun. One day my younger brother, about 8 at the time, told her that he didn’t want to go to Music class, so she punched him in the eye, blackening it.

    We knew she’d become an ex-Nun about 18 years previously and one day we found out why, when we bumped into her 18 year old son…

    And she still had the gall to teach RE.

  6. stonyground says

    I often wonder, did it take me longer to shake off Christianity because I was brought up by very moderate Methodists? I also find it interesting how, as little children we had to suck up the most outragious behaviour from adults and, how this temporary humility shaped our attitudes to authority for life. I think that all adults should be suspicious of those who think that, because they have authority, they are wiser than you are and can tell you what to do.

  7. marcg says

    My first day at school I got a washing cloth put on my left hand by a nun, because I was writing with my left hand. Even at that young age I fully understood what this would mean, being put on a pedestal on the first day for being weird different in front of a class full of kids and I know for sure she knew it too! I had to endure six more years of tyranny, but on that day my scepticism was born and I thank her for that.

  8. rogerfirth says

    I was 7 when a nun told me that God cared about the way I folded my hands during prayer.

    Don’t tell me. If you folded your hands with your fingers laced and wrapped over the back of the opposite hand you were praying to the devil because your fingers were pointing down, toward hell. The proper way to pray was with your palms pressed together and your fingers pointing upward, toward heaven. I got that, too. Religious people say the silliest things.

  9. JohnnieCanuck says

    My mother went to a Catholic school for girls because that was the only boarding school around. It would have been around 1917-1930.

    The nuns told the girls that patent leather shoes were sinful because the shiny surface would allow boys to see reflections of what was up their skirts. Really not true in practise, but it’s the thought that counts for these types.

  10. Margaret says


    Yes, nothing says “Jeebus Loves You” like getting set in front of your friends and humiliated for something you had no control over.

    Yes. Mother Teresa agrees with you there:

    “Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that He can kiss you.” -Mother Teresa

  11. chakolate says

    Hey, Schwag – you should find that nun and thank her.

    I too went to Catholic school from 1st through 8th grade. And I found that some nuns were the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, and others were the worst people you’d ever meet. The nice ones were usually new to the order; apparently, being in orders a long time makes you bitter. Can’t imagine why.