Why am I an atheist?
I know I have a lot of adult reasons, but just like the reasons other people accept religion, my indoctrination started early. We were hauled off to a catholic church every Sunday, all three kids, by my father. No sermon meant anything to me, and any explanation was way below par.
I think the Cathecism is burned into my head somewhere, as my catholic primary school is a blur. We were pulled out mysteriously, my brother and I, when something happened between my brother and a member of staff. I've not been able to get a satisfactory explanation from my parents. I'm 45.
By 11 years of age, I found I could ask questions of my father round the dinner table. And he just couldn't answer them. I love my Dad, just as much as any good son. As far as raising a convincing argument so I could even identify with HIS beliefs, this was impossible. A plea to 'have faith' just didn't cut it. I remember his saying one Sunday morning, "Right then, if you don't come to church, there won't be any pay money." Needless to say, I didn't have any more 'pay-money'.
My brother and I were enrolled in a catholic college [which I won't name for legal reasons] and this tipped the scales totally. As soon as I knew what a hypocrit was, I knew I didn't want to be one. I couldn't make myself do the sign of the cross, or recite any of the prayers, or take any joy in school church services. Some boys at school told me I had to prove there wasn't a god before they had to prove there was one.
I once got the strap for asking difficult questions of the 'brothers' during RE class. Admittedly, there were many times I goaded the RE teacher with circular arguments which made the guy's neck go red. But to this day, I'm sure they were valid queries. There were at least three other occasions that I was heavied and threatened, given short shift with sports team selections and ex-communicated from the social groups I had in earlier years, because it became known that I was not a believer. I've recently had an invitation to go a reunion at the college.
I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.
More later. Comments welcome.