Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Great Escape

I know I'm ruffling a lot of feathers with all of my Atheist talk lately. Oh well. It's something I know about, seeing as how I am one and all. And it's something I'm very passionate about - hey, that'd make me an Atheism Geek! Awesome!

But I figured, why not go back into my past again and reveal some more of my early experiences as a young Atheist. Here's the general idea:

1986 (Age 6) - The things I was taught in Sunday School conflicted with what I knew of reality and, yes, morality. The 10 Commandments state that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, or commit adultry. Yet God obviously did both when he knocked Mary up. It was at this point that I first questioned the things that were being taught to me as 'fact,' and would soon make up my mind that it was all Mother Goose bullshit.

1987 (Age 7) - I begin to tell my parents that I don't want to go to church anymore. They told me that I was obligated to go until I was "a confirmed member of the church." In the Lutheran denomination, this follows similar to a Mitzva in the Hebrew culture: At age 13, the church recognizes a man or woman as an adult in their eyes. "When you're a confirmed member," they told me, "you can do whatever you want."

FAIL. They thought I wouldn't remember. They were horribly wrong.

From this point on, I played the waiting game, but not without having some fun. I began to openly question my 'teachers' as to the holes I found in their faith, much to their discomfort and, in some cases, anger. Hell, one of my youth leaders actually grabbed me by the scruff of my neck once, all because I was having fun putting sandwiches together for a fundraiser we had done. In front of my mom, no less! Joke's on them, they were run out of the church and pretty much never came back. Good riddance, honestly. Nazis...

When I finally turned 13, I dove into confirmation class with reckless abandon, determined to do anything I could to make sure that my confirmation came without a hitch, and as soon as possible. A transition in pastors for the church helped this along: The new pastor pretty much told me that, classes or not, she was going to confirm me. When I explained to her why I wanted to be confirmed so badly, she hesitated, but ultimately agreed that I needed to follow my own path. And so, from that night onward, all I did was wait again.

The day of my confirmation was actually more of a day of affirmation: I went through the ceremony, making everyone uncomfortable by refusing to say any of the mindless babble referring to asking God to help me, praising God, or anything other rubbish along those lines. And when my certificate was handed to me, I did what I had planned to do for six long years:

I turned around, said "It's been fun, everyone, but I'm of here," and walked out of the church, never to again return and watch people be crazy about some magic sky pixie. As I stepped out of the main worship hall and into the narthex to make my way to the front door, I mumbled under my breath "Fuck this shit." I don't know if anyone heard me, but I hope they did.

And that, my friends, is how I escaped the throes of the virus known as organized religion. My parents, who'd made a deal with me that they thought I would NEVER remember, found out that day that their son was not playing around when he said he no longer believed.

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