Howdy, ready for a long one?
My name is Vincent, but all my friends call me Vinny.
I was born many moons ago in Salem Mass. (Yes, that Salem.) to a Catholic family. I was named after a priest, who is now an important member of the Boston Archdiocese. Luckily my father was in the Air Force, so we moved out of the area before I got a job as an alterboy.
From the frying pan into the fire of Virginia, where we found ourselves surrounded by Southern Baptists. My parents continued to successfully indoctrinate me into their faith of choice, until I learned of the "Santa Claus conspiracy!"
The fact that my parents had lied to me left deep scars in my young mind. I began to question all the outrageous tales they had told me...
The Easter Bunny? - LIE!
The Tooth Fairy? - LIE!
God? - ...... God? - You have to have faith!
Not good enough. I soon found myself kicked out of Sunday school for asking too many questions. My parents grounded me, and took away my Atari 2600.
Confused about the whole thing, I picked up and read the Bible, and I was horrified at what I found there.
So as to not cause any more arguements I quietly and obediently went to church, as I sat there I just couldn't reconcile the things they said and did against what I had read.
In 1983 we moved to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, I saw some messed up stuff there!
I slowly stopped going to church, and by the time we moved back to the U.S. in 1986, I was only going twice a year.
My father chose to retire in Hicktown NH, just in time for me to enter high school. I didn't quite fit in with the kids here. An extreme metalhead who didn't go to church, I must be a devil worshipper! I played it up just to mess with the other kids, but I was really quite non-religous at the time.
1990 I graduated, and had planned on going into the Air Force just like Dad, after I took a year and relaxed... It ended up being quite an eventful year.
That fall my grandmother was diagnosed with an extremely agressive form of cancer. When Thanksgiving came around they sedated grandma and propped her up at the head of the table where she proceeded to drool on herself while staring blankly into space. Most of the time however she was in constant agonizing pain. Her few lucid moments were spent begging, pleading, and praying for death.
Towards the end she spent most of her time cursing god for not taking her.
She died in January. (Same day that Coalition planes started the first Iraq war.)
Something inside me snapped. I was filled with an insane hatred of god, the church, and religion.
At her funeral I was given the task of being a pall bearer. I sat at the front of the church, and did not kneel once during the ceremony. This upset a lot of people. It upset them even more when I responded that "I don't kneel to sick sadistic assholes like your god."
In June of that year, weeks before I went into the military, I was involved in a major car accident. (Made worse by the fact that I was not in a car at the time.) In addition to severe head trauma I was left with several physical injuries that left me "Unfit for military service."
Many family members considered this a punishment from god. I considered them freaking nuts.
Years have passed, I have become a far more rational atheist. (But I still consider them freaking nuts!)
To anyone still reading this, I might add more recent history later, but as this is the first time I've ever written any of this, I feel I've written enough for now.

In closing, it's good to be here.

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Stories like yours make me glad I grew up in Washington state with average, believing, but non practicing christian parents. I haven't had the kinds of horror stories you might find in common with people here. I am not sure I would have been able to hold it together around so many people in places like that.

Welcome.

Josh
Thanks for the welcomes!
The accident was many years ago, and there are no lasting physical effects.
Some people still say I'm not right in the head though. I guess not having a fairy godfather makes me strange. Hrm?

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