When I was 13, I went to a Baptist Sunday School.
If I try to remember why I was going to this every week, on a Sunday, when I would rather be sleeping, or playing, the only thing I can come up with is that my slightly older step-brother, Chris, was going and I liked hanging out with him.
Don't get me wrong, I was completely into it all. I acted in Holiday plays, recruited more followers, and tried to lead a God-worthy life. I was a Boy Scout at the time and it also allowed me to check off one more Merit Badge.
My Father was a spiritual man and my Step-Mother was religious but both had decided that their kids would be able to make up there minds as to what they wanted to be and never pressured us directly or indirectly about it. My real mother is a Southern Baptist so I am sure that learning about my new found religious affiliation was a proud moment for her.
Through this whole process though, I had never actually been listening to the doctrine. I was attending Sunday school and either sleeping through it or cutting up in the back of the class. On the rare occasion when we would attend the actual Church Service I was busy reading a text book or trying to sing from the hymnals that were always present in the racks attached to the pew in front of me.
Then came the day when Chris told me about baptism and getting saved. This sounded interesting. After all the bad stuff I heard about that could land me in the worst place ever for eternity the possibility of saying a few words and getting dunked into water to secure a place in the "white fluffy relaxation room" sounded very appealing.
I asked Chris if he had done it and what had he experienced. He told me he had never experienced more joy in his life than the moment he did it. "Wow!", I thought to myself, "I want that!" so I got the Chic tract he had been waving around in front of me, went into my room to be alone with God, and started to read about what I should do.
This is where my whole life starts to change into something else. This particular moment in time is where I can track back to as my life defining moment. If I had actually felt something, if I had actually been imbued with some kind of Holy Spirit or enlightened power, or even a warm glow, things may have been different. Alas, I felt...nothing.
I must have done something wrong. I read a word wrong or transposed something. I looked at the words and tried them again. Still nothing. What did this mean? Was I unworthy? Did I make God mad at me? Chris had felt it and he was less pious than I was. My brain started racing. It was the birth of Logic in my mind. Chris said the words and he felt joy. I said the words and I didn't. A does not equal B.
Maybe you had to really believe, you know like Tinkerbelle in Peter Pan. I really believed then and Tinkerbelle had come back to life so I gave it one more try. I completely believed. I never prayed harder in my short life. Outcome? Still nothing.
Only one logical conclusion could be made from this. Chris had lied. He had done it before so I wasn't completely shocked but, it was still quite a let down. Well, if he thought he was going to pretend to sit in the "white fluffy relaxation room" without me then he had another think coming. I composed myself and walked out of my room. He was waiting for me in the hall. He asked if I had felt it and I told him I had. I was ready to baptized and give my life over to God. We decided right then and there to get our Baptisms on the same day.
However, there was something nagging at the back of my brain from then on. It's still there to this day. How many people lied about feeling something so they would "fit in"? My guess is many more than would let on. A religion based on a lie. Hmmmm...
From that day on my faith in God, and religion as well, began to wane. I thought that maybe if I read the Bible from front to back it would make things make more sense. HA! It had quite the opposite effect. By the time I was done reading it, I was convinced that the Bible was spurious at best, fictitious at worst. For an intelligent, logical, rational mind reading the Bible is probably the best thing you can do to understand how messed up some religions can be.
I am now an Atheist. I am proud of it. Do I hate religion? No. Do I hate Religious people? Sometimes. (When they do stupid things) Most of all, I am happy to have escaped what would have been an oppressed devout life. Instead, I get to enjoy the world more.
I think I have gone on long enough for now. I will write more later maybe. I just really felt I had to get this off my chest.
Just before I started writing this Blog, I cried. I am not sure why. I think it has to do with the constant oppressive feeling that Atheists get from today’s society. I fantasize about living in a world where people can believe what they want and where those beliefs hold no threat (mentally or physically) to any other human being.