I was raised "cultural" christian. My mother was religious (I think she's in doubt now) and my Father has always been an agnostic. I've been baptized... but prayers were never part of our lives outside the church and we didn't even go often to church, only on "special" occasions. We were raised to speak our mind and challenged us thinking for ourselves, so there was never any pressure from my family side. (I recently asked my mom why she never told us about hell, she answered that she was raised very religious and went to catholic school and the most scary thing she remembers is the fear of going to hell and she didn't want to do the same to her children (yay for mom!))
In kindergarten I made some friends and my two best friends happened to be a jew and a protestant christian... that's when I found out that there is more than 1 belief.... They just lived across the street so we learned each others culture at a young age (none of them were strongly religious, "cultural" again, I guess.... )
On the 6. of Dezember it's saint nicolas day and kids get presents (just like santa claus), my jewish friend knew there was no Saint Nicolas, but her parents told her not to spoil it for us. My protestant friend was from germany and my parents are from belgium. Now the problem is that in Luxembourg Saint Nicolas lives in heaven... the german one lives on the north pole.... and well the belgian one comes from Spain on a white horse. I still liked the presents :) but parents should inform themselves ;) I still love that day... my mom still gives me some chocolate ;);)
When I got to primary school, we did have religion classes (1 hour a week, at most 2), and those were a little more serious than later in high school (the ones that I mentionned in my profile). There was another option which was (translated literally) "secular moral eduction", both my jewish friend and protestant friend went to that class. They teached about all the diffrent religions and had discussions. I had the "joy" to be in religion class. I was young but I was already questionning the whole bible thing (ah yes, I never read the bible), especially with the creation issue. Dinosaurs were always cool, and I knew a some things about them, and the time span just didn't fit and I asked about it. I was told that the seven day creation were "symbolic" for evolution (roman catholic region here, so evolution is accepted).... My next issue was Eve. I was always told by my parents that woman are just the same than men (especially growing up with 2 elder brothers), and the adam and eve thing didn't fit in again.... the rib thing. I probably wasn't an atheist at that time, but I certainly didn't believe in a christian god.
Then when I was 8 or 9 the question came up if I wanted to do my communion. I don't remember my parents pushing it, but it was kind of the thing you had to do. I didn't mind, I would get a lot of presents out of it. So I admit I really did it for the presents (my brother didn't (he's an atheist too, but he believed when he was younger)). Before going to high school (12 years old I guess) you could do the "confirmation"... again... I don't have the slighest clue what it was about... I was more interested in good rock and metal music at that time. But in a rage I broke my hi-fi (Which I worked for to buy it) and I really, really needed something to listen music to.... to I asked for a Hi-fi as a present (as my birthday was too far away (I'm not that greedy anymore, I earn my own money now, I had no money and I was spoiled being the youngest and being the only girl ... ))... so I just did that thing to get the hi-fi....
I still didn't consider myself an atheist, I actually didn't until 2 years ago when I read the God Delusion (haha... I'm sure you've heard that before). I never questionned the existance of god, because it had to do with all those weird ritual and beliefs that I didn't agree with.
Then came high school. I succeasfully failed my first year (as I actually had to study... there was no way I ever put much effort in school before... primary school was easy). The next year my jewish friend joined my school (she's a year younger than me) and the protestant guy went to a completely diffrent school... Luckily we were in the same class. We got friends another girl and had our first alcohol and weed experiences....Alcohol is not considered that bad... when I was 13 there was no problem getting beer in a supermarket... they just sold it.... and most pubs would give out alcohol (It has changed... but you can legally drink at the age of 16 here). Allthough we managed to pass all our classes (or some of us), we were drunk and stoned all the time. The mother of the new girl we got friends with was a hardcore christian, but I won her over because I knew about some things, and she absolutely adored me and the other girl could always come over to me :) haha. We had a lot of fun mocking the jehova witnesses at the central station... When we saw them we walked up to them and I groaned and said in a deep voice "Saaataaaaan".... my friend threw her on her knees and yelled "I've seen God!*.... we were stupid... I admit....
Our religion classes were less bound to the bible, but it was more of a discussion hour on diffrent topics and religions. I had one teacher I adored... He was the only one who actually accepted the fact that I didn't believe in a god (I still considered myself an agnostic because atheist sounded so harch)... and I had a lot of good discussions... I actually didn't believe that he was a believe because I was a 100% sure that he is gay... a few years later he had an accident, he got hit by a bus and he survived. I went to visit him (after the coma, allthough I hadn't seen him in years...) at the hospital and I asked him about the accident and he said he didn't remember a thing, that god probably helped him forget the horrible things... I realized he was religious after all and didn't want to confront him... I haven't seen him since them...
I investigated a bit on other religions but my main issue was that in most religions, when to say almost all of them, the woman is worth shit, and I just didn't like that... so even rastafarism was nothing for me (would have been a pleasant religion ;))
I had the big luck that 2001/2002 was my last year of high school. When 9/11 happened, I was watching tv and it was the first time ever that they canceled the program and got to the news.... I was really shocked that day... I was still off, school would only start in a few days... I stayed in front of tv until late that night... watching over and over the same pictures... so I was right on the topic and I successfully finished high school (everything was about 9/11... very easy in my view...
I did a business school so there was not much science in there, so I have a big gap there, but I'm catching up :) Then I went to brussels to study sound engineering...
You have to understand that Luxembourg is really an isolated place... allthough we have a lot of foreigners (I am one myself)... most are from the neighbourging countries (france, germany, belgium), we have a big portuguese and italian community but they are integrated .... there are very few minorities... (luxembourg's total population is 500,000)... we don't have much muslims (there is one center for the whole country), very few black people, jews (2 synagoges in the country I think) and hundreds of churches, every village has one ;)
It's not that I never left luxembourg, (yes for vacation), but I didn't live somewhere else before. When I moved to Brussels I got a complete diffrent picture... I found myself being one in 10 of white people on the street. Don't get me wrong, I'm not racist... not at all, the girl I got friends with in high school is black.... I was just not used to that kind of situation, and I lived in a black area ;) so really not surprising...wonderfull food :) And for the first time I saw women with khimar's or if not covered the girls really dressed bitchy. In Luxembourg you rarely walk up to someone and talk to them.... and it happened all the time in brussels, and I was mostly bothered by muslims... at first I was not bothered... but I've had some weird encounters....like one guy saying... blabla ... in my religion it's a sin to smoke.... I just replied... well in your religion you blow yourself up and get 72 virgins .... why should I take anything else from your religion....He walked away, everytime I was talked to, it always had something to do with their god....blaaaaaahhh ...
Two years later I came back to Luxus Luxiland... got a job and I forgot the religion thing again... until my brother gave me the god delusion and I realised that I've probably been an atheist all my life....mainly because of the gender issue and for the fictional stories as well....
Now I regulary listen to atheist podcasts...
I'm openly an atheist, do not lie about it... but most people over here seem to believe in something.... without the religious institutions around them and not thinking about it.

Hope you enjoyed...
cheers...

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