Saturday, October 1, 2011

My history with religion.


The topic comes up a lot, and I always meant to do an entry like this for the whole 3 years of the blog, but I'd always think of a more fun idea, or a long project to dig into.

You'd think where I tear into it so much, it did me material wrong in life.

Eh, no, not really, I just never cared for it.
To put it mildly.

See, it never really took with me.

Ma told me the basic Bible stories, garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, Moses, Jonah, Lot's Wife, Baby Jesus, Jesus nailed to a stick, all that shit, y'know?

And I um...never liked 'em.
They were dull, always about desert dwellers in robes killing each other over petty infantile bullshit, and I'd always wonder "where's God with all these miracles now?"
Or, "why aren't there new adventures of God? Why doesn't God do some stuff for a kid like me, with jeans, and a t-shirt?".
Always struck me that he had this obsessive predilection for assholes out in the desert.
And assholes in the desert were fucking boring.
Bible stories just didn't do it for me.

Not when I had fucking STAR WARS!

And that just created more dissonance for me.
Howcome George fucking Lucas could tell a more exciting story for me than...GOD?

What, he can create the fucking universe, but he can't manage laser guns?
What the fuck was up with that?

And there were some religious assholes that were against Star Wars, because the force shit was against their reading of the goofy-ass Bible.

I made a pretty clear and distinct moral choice inside my head, it was a Huckleberry Finn kind of moment, where..if my buddy Luke Skywalker could save the galaxy, and he's not going to Heaven, then...I want nothing to do with the place.

But..I was pretty sure Luke was going to Heaven, and...any asshole who didn't like him..well..not Hell, but they'd have a week's detention or something.

I also made up my mind early on that Hell was for murderers, and people who hurt kids, and animals, and...it wasn't for people that stepped on a crack, or some minor piddly superstitious shit like that.

I didn't know about sex yet, so I didn't know how feverishly obsessed religion was with controlling that.

I did know a lot of Bible stories had "bad", women telling the "hero", to "come lie with me".
So...you just lie down next to the chick?
I never figured out why that was a big deal.
Like...there's some superstitious bullshit of being in close proximity to a chick with the covers pulled over you?
Well...blankets keep out the boogeyman, maybe it's something like that...in reverse.
Chick under a blanket means you're married, so if you blanket a chick you're not married to...it pisses God off..I dunno.
Course, add sex to it, it actually gets MORE foolish.
Nothin' more to know there.

So..yeah, these were just goofy fucking stories about goofy fucking people, and it was all boring, but I wasn't allowed to say so...and God could read my thoughts, so I wasn't allowed to think so...I just stuck to Star Wars.
Kept my focus on the good shit, and didn't kill anyone, or rob any banks, or blanket-cover someone else's gal.
And...I didn't want to do any of those things anyway.
Seemed pretty pointless.

But, also, my Dad was always atheist.
He never made much of a THING about it, but once in awhile, there'd be some Catholic mass type deal on TV, and he'd compare it to people dancing around with a bone in their nose.
That always stuck in my mind, I use it today.

Course, back then, I thought "oh, wow, he's gonna piss God off with that line".

...but, I didn't ever think he was going to Hell.
That was for assholes, and Dad wasn't an asshole.

My Grandfather on my mother's side was also an atheist.
He talked about it a bit more, he always had contempt for it.
When my mother went through a holy-roller phase, he was like "I always thought you were smarter than that".

And my Uncle tells a story of one time, we were at some church fuckin' thing, a wedding, or funeral, or christening, or...somethin..and Gramp grumbles to my Uncle quietly "tch...they believe in maaagic".
Real sneering hate in his voice.
I can't convey it in text, trust me, it's funny.

And, as I hinted in the last post, church was always creepy to me.
I didn't go much.
A little bit when I was like...3.
That was my mother's holy-roller phase, but more on that later.

Church to this day creeps me out.
And bores me.
Take The Simpson's version of church, it was pretty much that.

I just remember having a pad with me, and crayon scribbling a bunch of pictures of the Hulk, and being bored out of my fucking gord.

And what little flicker of understanding of the shit they were saying creeping me the fuck out.

I think it would have creeped me out to the point of hair standing up on the back of my neck if I'd understood it for real, with an adult's understanding, but more on that later.

So, yeah, church didn't do it for me, Bible stories didn't do it for me,..it vaguely planted the notion of God into my mind, but...the real clincher against religion,...was dinosaurs.

The Bible didn't mention dinosaurs, and that was a real big stumbling block.

And cavemen, where were the cavemen?

Were Adam and Eve the first cave-people?
You weren't allowed to use that word to describe them...I guess not...

The stories didn't jibe.
And no one I'd ask back then bothered to try to make the stories jibe.

But, yeah, just like with Star Wars, I mean, you can have a reality with dinosaurs, or with no dinosaurs, and boring desert assholes on top of it, which do you think is gonna win in a kid's head?

Fucking DINOSAURS, man!!!

Also, between butterflies, and The Incredible Hulk, my imagination was obsessed with transformation.
Still is.
Once I saw pictures of apes turning into men, and fish turning into lizards, that was pretty much it.
That made total sense to me.
Evolution had its hooks in.
I didn't grasp the finer details, but the basics, those paintings, had me at 5.

I keep hearing about these grown-ass fucking people that have difficulty with evolution, that find it "counter intuitive".

I found it INTUITIVE at fucking 5!
FIVE!!

You people are dumb!
Fucking dumb!
Counter-intuitive...
Jesus fucking hockey pucks!

Look at a cocoon, look at fetuses developing, bam, there it is.
Shit, a leaf turning color!
Fuck sakes, people!

Shit, it was creationism that was counter-intuitive.
I had to have that bullshit walked out for me.
"Did you ever wonder who made all of this?".
"No".
"Well, where do you think the trees come from?".
"I 'unno, they were always here, weren't they?".
"What about before you were born?".
"What?".
"You know, before you were alive".
"...um..I've always been here".
"No, there was a time before you were here, don't you remember it all starting, and before that, there was nothing?".
"Well...if there was...I wasn't there...I guess I just woke up, and it started".

Went around in circles like that, had no intellectual interest in these theoretical tree builders.
Seemed to me, the trees took care of themselves just fine.
They minded their business, why shouldn't I?

So..right from the start, sloppy salesmanship of this concept.

Anyway, eventually, it registered, and I just took my mother's word for it that this "God", person built everything,...but then it always hit me how the story always jarringly veered off.....

God makes trees, and kittens, and grass, and rainbows, and...and then he starts killing shit...and then he starts taking sides in boring petty desert asshole wars...and then I'd always fade out on it.

"Wait a minute, the kitten-maker tree-maker guy, and this boring war asshole...I don't think they're the same guy... something's screwey here...".

It was, little Mike.
Your gut nailed it again.

I remember a moment when Ma made me try to pray..and bawling.
I got fucking stage fright for God.
Here's a fucking guy that could turn a bitch to salt if she looked at him cross eyed, and now I gotta step up to this open mic?
Fuck that.
I never prayed again, always managed to duck out of it, then it got to be long enough, it was never pushed again.

Like I said, stuck to Star Wars & Hulk.

Later on, Dinosaurs started breaking the whole thing down.

Oh, yeah, my mother's holy-roller phase...

She got roped into the Mormons for awhile.
They were really fuckin' creepy, they ARE fuckin' creepy, and that was the creepy church I was dragged to.

And that was the creepy shit I heard, some Book Of Mormon shit that didn't jibe with the Bible.

I think the story was she got roped in,...cuz she couldn't get anyone to answer her questions about the Bible, and the Mormons actually did detailed Bible study shit...but, that's how they rope you in, then they start injecting The Book Of Mormon into it more and more, and then it's JUST the Book Of Mormon, and then the creepier stuff creeps up, and Ma wasn't street-savvy to that bullshit yet, I guess, but it creeped her out, and she got the fuck out.

And that's when Gramp said "I thought you were smarter than that".

Mormon's are creepy, they probably keep her in some file somewhere, and will send her to some science fiction planet after she dies, or some bullshit.

Ugh.
Madness.

When I got a little older, like...6, or 7...prayer...made less and less sense...

God never seemed to talk right back, like in the Bible, it just seemed like people were talking to themselves...

It seemed very much like a game of make-believe.
It looked exactly like my childhood games of make-believe.
I remember making the faux-pas of asking if it was make-believe.
It was to my mother when some holy-roller relative was over for company, I forget who, but it raised a stink.
Maybe it wasn't a relative, maybe it was one of the fuckin' Mormon assholes.

It really did seem like it was a game of make-believe, but you weren't allowed to call it make-believe for fear of shouting, or a spanking, or a fuckin' lightning bolt, or...something.

Oh, there was never a pounding, but my head got bit off.

So yeah, it was a game, and part of the game, was you must NEVER say it's a game.

And you must NEVER ask why...because...no rational explanation, just RARRR!! WAAHH!!! Sniffle!

Then...I knew for sure, something was REALLY screwey with religion.

I really pulled away from it then.

Didn't have the balls to be atheist, but I just focused more on my geeky shit.
More comics, etc.

Then...about 10-11 years old, the televangelists starting becoming big in the 80's, and then I knew, REALLY knew something was screwey with religion.

Then, the big question was "why does God always seem to ally himself with such...FUCKING AAAAAAAASSHOOOOLES?!?!".

Well, my answer at the time was, in no decently run universe, would these people be messengers of any deity, so, they're fucking liars.

Course, I still had no answer for why God didn't perform real miracles, foremost being, turning these peckerfaces into salt, or a whisp of silverfish.

But...I don't even think I cared anymore....I kept my head down, and focused on fucking cartoons.

Guess I was apatheist at that point.

By high school, my cute line to anyone who bothered to ask was "God? Well...he's the ultimate plot gimmick".

I guess I stick with that.

Covers the bases no matter where you are.

Went through a Deist phase in my 20's, cuz I thought that's what Stephen Hawking was, and Deism got me into Thomas Paine, which unlocked the real history of this fucking country, and all the lies we've been told.

Then...I clung to that pretty stubbornly until I read "the God Delusion", and then I went full "militant", atheist, whatever the fuck that means.

Theists pulled that propaganda phrase out of their fucking asses, ask them.

Nowadays?
My fevered impulse to "fix", the world has leveled off to a deep, deep, DEEP gloomy disappointment with...most people.

Human race...I thought you were smarter than that.

And yeah, I'm atheist, in case you couldn't tell.

So, yeah, those that have said Christian kids kicked sand in my face or something, go fuck yourselves.
Dummies.

That's the story.

Nothing so dramatic,  just a long process of thinking.


7 comments:

severalspeciesof said...

Great Read... Fits in nicely with what I'm about to do with a believer when she has asked me why I'm not catholic anymore and am now an atheist. Unfortunately my story won't be as good as yours ;-)

Henry said...

Great entry, yeah. My story's not that different. I was probably 7 or 8 and getting interested in dinosaurs too. I had heated arguments with my teacher in class.
:)

I probably defined myself as an atheist by the time I was 12 or so.

Anti-theism came in my late teens/early 20s. And I know I've influenced at least a few people pretty heavily in terms of their deciding to reject the bullshit. Religious people don't like that.

Phil Rimmer said...

Excellent account, Mike. I think you have captured well the thinking of a young kid, who has been left well enough alone. Without indoctrination, accepting evolution is as natural as breathing. Where ever you look it makes sense. The simple idea in my head was, (living) stuff grows up. (Kittens into cats and each cat trying to grow up a tiny little bit more each time. Not exactly right but when evolution was explained it clearly fitted perfectly.)

Late adolescent deism / "spirituality" worked for me for the most unworthy of reasons. It increased my chances with girls. It signalled perhaps a sort of non-intimidating, low-level smarts and empathy. I think Hippiedom was a moment of near Bonobo speciation for the human race....

1976 and The Selfish Gene showed how we could naturally become selfless. The Deist God lost his mind or at least the need for one at the button press, (niceness occurs naturally in sociable groups and was not "intended") and became mere (glorious, unfettered) physics.

The real battle is not for people's minds. The battle is for young kid's minds. Just let 'em play. Churches need creches.

AllanW said...

Nice post. Confirms my fuzzy thesis that dinosaurs and science fiction have acted as a more powerful solvent against religion than any 'militant atheist' ever has. Once you start asking actual questions about the Universe and find out only science can answer them and once you develop an imagination that is palpably more powerful and effective than any religious text, it's inevitable you become a humanist and atheist unless your living circumstances are too tied-up with the religious. In that case you need some external help.

Veronique said...

Big tick from me. Nicely captured. Totally believable account. I am glad I never had that to go through.

Diacanu said...

Well, I'm glad you all liked it. :)

Philip1978 said...

Excellent!

I've blogged about my rejection of religion from 8 years old and I really identify with this questioning at such an early age.

I was constantly looking at the adults with this "what the bloody hell is the matter with you lot?" state of mind once I discovered that was something deeply wrong with what they were doing and saying.

Brilliant read Mike, I enjoyed reading it loads - The Star Wars parts made me cheer!

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