I was raised with no religion. Throughout childhood, religion was a bit of a mystery to me. I viewed it as a chore that was forced on children by evil adults. Like homework. Or going to the dentist. I was always very awkward when my cluelessness about religion was made obvious when in the presence of devout jesusers – which happened to be the majority of the outside world.
The symbol of a cross drove me crazy because I was obsessive. To me, it had no context or meaning and looked like a poorly drawn criss-cross. I wanted to cut off the bottom end of it to make a “plus sign”.
To prove my point, let’s take a look at my Facebook newsfeed for examples. Here are the prayer requests from the past week. Perhaps not word-for-word, because you know, copyright issues, but the same gist is there:
“Pray for America, because guns again!”
” Pray for me, because I’m taking an exam tomorrow!”
“Pray for my grandma, because she’s in the hospital!”
“Pray for Josh Duggar, because he’s a shitbag!” (but no one says pray for Josh Duggar’s wife who needs a new husband)
“Pray for atheists, because I hate being wrong!”
“This was the first human,” he told me. I stared at the ancient remains, mesmerized. My imagination soared as I tried to envision what life must have been like millions of years ago when Lucy was alive.
When I was a bit older, I was browsing the children’s science section at the library. A strange looking book that clashed with the others caught my eye and I browsed the table of contents. It appeared to be your typical general children’s science book with things about the origins of the universe, dinosaurs, animals, natural disasters, etc. The chapter that caught my eye though was the chapter on human origins. I anxiously flipped to it and started reading. I never forgot Lucy!
But I was left highly unsatisfied, disappointed, and sort of pissed…
It was the story of Adam and Eve. I was utterly confused. I was looking for Lucy and instead found some incredibly boring trash that made even less sense than my dreams. What was this rubbish clearly written by a drunk doing in the science section?! I wasn’t looking for magic – I was looking for science!
Now onto the topic of God! As is probably no surprise at this point, I had a really hard time accepting that God was real. Santa Claus? Clearly he existed because he left chapstick from Avon in my stocking every Christmas. Santa left me traces of evidence of his existence, so there was little question. God though? Now that’s a bit far fetched. I had an easier time believing that my stuffed animals were alive than God.
But all of my friends believed in him. I’d get such strong and negative reactions when I stated I didn’t believe in God. People would fall into a state of panic and shock. It was as if I had just revealed I joined the tea party. I never understood why it was a big deal, but apparently it was.
Naturally, at that age, these negative reactions made me uncomfortable. So I made an effort to give this fellow a shot. I’d try and test God. I’d tell him, if he was real, he would show me some sign. Such as making the lights turn off.
Then one day in 5th grade, my history teacher taught me an important lesson in god-believing. He said if you believe in God, you’ll go to Heaven. But if you don’t believe in God, you’ll burn in Hell. He said it so matter of fac1tly too!
I was seething with rage. How dare he! I found his statement to be incredibly rude!
I looked around the classroom and became even more appalled that I was the only one alarmed at the hateful things my teacher just presented to the class. I believe I felt the same sort of shock and disgust that they must have felt whenever I said I don’t believe in God.
Turns out, this was old news to the rest of the class and that’s why they didn’t react. This black-and-white god-believing issue had been discussed in all the important lessons I missed in school all those Sundays where I slept in.
There are some completely shitty people who believe and God and go to Heaven. There are people out there on death row who pray to God for forgiveness and then declare that God has forgiven them. God apparently gave them some sign of forgiveness I guess, so clearly liars go to heaven.
Aren’t there a bunch of child raping priests up there in heaven too?
My schoolteacher who told me I’m going to Hell is going to Heaven. Do I really want to run into that wanker in the afterlife?
And what kind of sick, judgmental, misanthropic tool banishes good people to Hell, just for being logical/correct? The same guy who couldn’t even be bothered to turn off the lights – that’s who! I mean, clearly this God character doesn’t understand right from wrong.
In conclusion, my teacher taught me a valuable life lesson that day: People are stupid.