The idea of an invisible, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent supernatural being, who was supposedly responsible for the creation of the universe, has never really seemed plausible to me. From a young age, barely old enough to actually comprehend the ludicrous notions being taught in scripture, I rejected it and all the mythology that came with it. I couldn’t, and still can’t, understand why people have to resort to explaining the origin of the universe by saying “god did it”, and yet be content with having no explanation of where this so-called “god” came from. It made no sense to me then, and it still makes no sense to me now.
My disdain for religion began as a young schoolboy, of no more than about 7 or 8, possibly younger. It’s difficult to be more specific than that. Thankfully, I was never forced into religion by my parents, neither of whom are overly religious themselves. Mum seems quite indifferent to the whole thing and while Dad still attends church every weekend, he rejects fundamentalist dogma and biblical literalism, like any rational person should.
Luckily, I attended a public school and so I didn’t have it forced down my throat there either. However, students were still sent to scripture for about half an hour a week, for part of the year, separated into groups by denomination. Unfortuantely, the separation of church and state in Australia isn’t quite as clear cut as it’s supposed to be in the USA, and so some religion is still allowed in public schools.
I wasn’t overly happy about that arrangement. I didn’t want to go just to be taught stories I didn’t believe. As far as I know, there was no alternative available for non-believers; or if there was, I don’t know why I wasn’t sent there. So I did what any rebellious kid would do. I acted out in various ways; not always, but frequently enough. Unfortunately, the details of my exploits mostly elude me. It’s hard to remember that far back.
But on one occasion that I do remember, we were given some kind of work sheet to fill out, with various questions about the fables being read to us. I remember repeatedly scrawling phrases like “GOD DOES NOT EXIST!!!” and “JESUS WAS NOT THE SON OF GOD!!!” as my answers. I haven’t a clue what the questions were. I then spent the remaining time filling up the rest of the page with exclamation points as my way of emphasising the fact that I didn’t believe any of that nonsense and really didn’t want to be there. Sadly, I can’t recall the response of the minister when he saw it. I’m sure it wasn’t particularly positive.
So in a sense, I took The Blasphemy Challenge about a decade and half before it was considered cool, and well before I knew it meant my eternal damnation! But hey, now that I do, I have something to look forward to.
That was by no means my only form of protest during school scriptures. Other times were a little more disruptive. But it was around this time that I vowed, when I grew up, I would fight to have all religion abolished from public schools. I still hope that this will happen one day.
Anyway, this may seem odd for a kid as young as I was back then to be so vehemently opposed to religious dogma. I certainly knew of no other in my position—at least none of my friends were—and there was no-one else in my life from whom my blasphemous anti-religious sentiments spawned. But the fact is, I was an atheist long before I even knew what the word meant, let alone knew of anyone else who shared my disbelief. To be honest, I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny longer than I believed in a god.
Of course, all of this was well before I knew anything about the scientific explanations for the origin of life, the universe and everything. I knew nothing of the Big Bang Theory, Evolution, nor anything else in between. My rejection of religion was not based on scientific knowledge. So then the question arises how and why did I manage to not only avoid, but to actively reject indoctrination, especially at such a young and impressionable age? The answer to this will become apparent later.
But despite these views of mine, I did in fact occasionally attend scripture at church on Sundays. Not because I was ever dragged there against my will, kicking and screaming; but by my own choice. It was a tough choice to make though, and most of the time I chose not to. By this stage, I had already firmly rejected any sort of faith-based beliefs, and there was no chance of me ever converting. So why did I attend? Simple: because my friends did and sometimes the activities were fun, as was running around playing in the church yard afterwards.
I still find it somewhat amusing that over the years, given my anti-religious convictions, two of my closest friends have been deeply religious. One was the son of our church minister, who sometimes taught my scripture class at school. I’ve no-doubt he was on the receiving end of my aforementioned protests, most likely on more than one occasion. Although he actually respected my views and never tried to force his onto me, and we developed a kind of mutual respect for each other. I suppose it helped that his son and I were good friends. But the irony of this was that I spent many afternoons, after school, hanging out a minister’s house — almost the last place you’d expect to find a radical atheist.
Unfortunately they moved to another town during the later years of primary school and I’ve not seen much of them since. After this, I never voluntarily attended scripture again.
But the problem was not only did one of my good friends move away, the replacement minister, who happened to move into that same house I’d spent so many memorable afternoons, was not nearly as pleasant or respectful. I despised him for the way he treated me unfairly from the rest of the students in the class, largely because of our diametrically opposed views. But, I must admit, it was probably partially compounded by my occasional disruptive, rebellious conduct. But let’s just say he started it and he still owes me a Mintie, and leave it that.
The other one of my closest friends considers himself to be a born-again, fundamentalist christian who I’m pretty sure still believes everything I don’t. I’m not entirely certain though, as we stopped discussing religion after our arguments started getting in the way of our friendship.
We’re still friends today, but our arguments largely centred around the non-existence of God and the implausibility of many of the biblical myths that he took so literally, such as Adam and Eve; Noah’s Ark; Moses parting the Red Sea; God dictating the Ten Commandments to him; the “virgin” birth; the many miracles claimed to be performed by Jesus; the resurrection, and many other stories that any rationally thinking person would unquestionably reject as myths and allegories, had they not been indoctrinated into believing from childhood.
When I questioned how he could believe, or know any of it was true, the answer always came down to one thing: faith. Nothing but blind, unwavering, unsupported and utterly irrational faith! I’m sure that comes as no surprise, as it’s a fairly typical requirement of any religious person. But it’s the concept of faith that I was never able to grasp, and this is why I rejected religion so early in my life.
I simply could not accept as true: outlandish stories which could not be verified, depended upon unfounded assumptions or invoked supernatural beings or powers, based on nothing more than faith. Nor could I understand what could possibly make any one religion more true or at least more believable than any other.
I viewed all of these myths as outright lies handed down from one generation to the next, infecting peoples minds with irrational belief in what can only be described as fairy tales. It destroys all sense of reason. It discourages critical thinking by encouraging belief in spite of reason. This anti-intellectualism, I thought, was quite dangerous in and of itself, and it had to be stopped. Though it wasn’t till much later in life that I realised just how dangerous religion can be towards not only science and progress in general, but to civilisation as a whole. I now realise that it absolutely must be stopped.
Until this point, my exposure to religion, specifically christianity, had been largely limited to the toned down versions of the biblical myths aimed at children. I had never actually read the real bible in its entirety, and still haven’t read most of it to this day. But I’ve now read enough of it to see how violent, discriminatory, bigoted, immoral and just plain evil that the characters and events depicted in the bible, including “God” himself, can be. It’s disgusting!
If there’s one place in the western civilisation where the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific nature of religion is most clearly illustrated, it’s in the god-fearing, bible bashing, United States of America. Led by organisations like Answers in Genesis, Creation Science Evangelism and the Institute for Creation Research, among others, the USA’s constitutional separation of church and state has been and is still being attacked and eroded by fundamentalists.
Ranging from getting the phrase “In God We Trust” added to the US currency; the words “Under God” inserted into the pledge of allegiance; hijacking the Boy Scouts of America and turning it into a homophobic christian organisation; right up to the continuing, though thankfully failed, attempts to get Creationism, Intelligent Design, “Teach the Controversy” or whatever you want to call it next, taught in public schools. It certainly doesn’t help that the current US President considers himself to be a born-again christian, nor that the candidates for the upcoming election aren’t any better in this respect.
To an outside observer, the Creation Museum surely seems like an hilarious attempt at mocking the faith and highlighting the absurdities of these Bronze Age myths. Well, it would be if the anti-science organisation responsible for it wasn’t so serious about actually believing such propaganda. In reality, it’s just sad.
I should point out that even though I’ve focussed largely on the myths and lies of Christianity, that’s only because it’s the one religion I’ve had the most exposure too. But rest assured, when it comes to insulting religion, I’m an equal opportunity offender.
For instance, imagine for the moment that I had been born into an Islamic nation and attended an Islamic school, yet still developed my same contempt for religion. I’m quite sure I’d have been stoned to death by now for my blasphemy. Sadly, that particular sin still carries the death penalty in some sick middle eastern countries that are ruled by an Islamic theocracy. Although I’m quite sure there are some christians who would support the same penalty.
Both the Bible and Qur’an are filled with countless examples of brutally stoning people, rape, torture, discrimination against homosexuals, segregation of women and other horrendous acts. It really is a wonder how any Christian or Muslim can honestly claim their faith as the basis of morality. It’s just absurd.
The bottom line is, I have no respect for religion at all. At least, not the theistic religions. I have mildly more respect for non-theistic religions like Buddhism, which I view as really more of a philosophy and way of life, than a religion, though I’m not really familiar with it.
I respect people, and I not only respect, but would defend anyone’s freedom to believe whatever they want, including religion; but I have no for respect religious belief itself.
I hate religion. Fuck Christianity. Fuck Islam. Fuck Judaism and Hinduism. Fuck Scientology and all other crazy cults. Fuck ’em all. Respect people, not religion. The world would be a much better place without it.