I was born Catholic, and had to convert to Jehovah's Witness at age 8 because my mother decided it.
My father has always been an atheist, but he never shared his views while I was growing up. He simply had nothing to do with the religion while not interfering with my mother's indoctrination of us.
My father helped me escape of the theological tyranny of my mother by signing permission for me to work as a deckhand in a freighter at age 15 (this is decades ago when people grew up quickly). On my return after six months, I saw the religious leaders and their families for what they were, a bunch of hypocritical manipulating predators.
I was still a minor at sixteen and my mother was the boss around children related issues, so I needed to escape again. This time, my father signed my papers for me to attend Naval school, and I was free for ever at age 17.
I was certain that neither the Catholics nor the Jehovah's Witnesses would be saved by their own criteria if there was a god. Within a few weeks in the Navy's boot camp, I knew there was no god.
I have been an atheist ever since, but felt that I was the only one in the world because I still didn't know that my father and his father had always been atheists. Perhaps it is genetic:)
I found a European Atheist web based community and have been a member there for a couple of years. Finally, I found this atheist community, which is closer to home. Home for me is Ontario, Canada.
Thank you booklover. My family and friends know that I am a freethinker, but I am careful not to mention it to my clients, or acquaintances, because they are all religious and scared of non believers.
I don't want to lose clients over religion. They need to believe, so let them. I need their business:)
How is the non-religious community in Ontario? I know all about Ontario: I lived in a town that had ferry service to Canada and from where I could see the Canadian Customs office with the Canadian flag flying (with apologies to Sarah Palin for purloining the basis of her knowledge of Russia).
My experience in basic training in the USAF coincides with yours in Navy boot camp. Going from a small town with a strong Catholic community to the Babel of all of the religions I had contact with opened my mind and also prompted me to ask: What the hey? Five of the six masses that I attended in the Air Force were at Lackland AFB in Texas because they were mandatory.
My father was a "good" Catholic while my mother used almost any excuse to not attend Sunday mass. Looking back I think she was at least non-religious.
Kelly! that's a good Irish name. I had a friend with that name.
I am not sure about freethinkers in Ontario. We have a large influx of immigration here and a large number of immigrants come from countries with near theocracies. I have acquaintances from every religion, but it is difficult for me to be myself because the moment I question any religious absurdity, my acquaintances go into endless preaching of nonsense.
I would like to meet a Canadian forum of freethinkers, but haven't yet. Please let me know if you know of one.