I find myself lucky to have been born an atheist. We all are I hear you cry! Not quite your parents have labelled you, you are marked for a religion dependant on where you are and what religion your ancestors happened to have. I however was born an atheist from atheist parents and I have to say.. this is the best of results ….
Religion didn’t make an intrusive arrival until I started school at the age of 7. Suddenly I was surrounded by people with crucifixes and talk of Sunday School. This was an anathema to me… you spent all week at school why would you want to go to one on a weekend? Of course, later I realised this was the beginning of my school friends indoctrination into a religion that would take them years to escape from ……..
I grew up within a strong matriarchal family.. the women ruled, especially my grandmother who was the head of the family. Interesting now, I found it perfectly normal, despite the fact my grandfather was around! My grandmother was an amazing role model and could read and write before she was 5, which is to say before she started school. From a very young age she was reading the local newspaper from cover to cover to a blind neighbour. I guess you could say I was surrounded by a family of bookworms, a family who let us all explore as children our interests in books. We were encouraged to read religious texts and I have fond memories of a children’s bible with wonderful pictures and stories. Of course this is how we saw them…. as stories. My family were confident to let us explore and to find out the truth for ourselves. We were given a thirst for books and the power to find knowledge which made it a remote chance we would choose to believe religion was real.
Within my family we had one member an Aunt who typically chose to believe in God but who never went to church or practiced any faith. She was rather a nervous woman
and I cut my teeth on my debating skills with her from around the age of 9. Her only reason for belief was the fear of death… which I guess is why most people believe! My aunt and I would spend rainy afternoons arguing about the existence of God, and the universe. One memorable afternoon we had such a long debate on this issue… I could see the fear in her eyes of maybe she had the realisation of the truth… she almost physically stepped back and stayed in ignorance… I cannot imagine that kind of fear to step back from the truth. I never debated with her again….
From the age of 11 school took on a whole other meaning, as I was surrounded by theists or should I say sheep who followed the masses. I was excused from all school assemblies and religious observances at school… and spent those times in the library. I had a world to explore and I sought proof for everything! I chose to study Religious Education to A-Level and I loved the subject and debating with my lecturer at the end of each lecture.
The library is truly the church of the atheist and I only hope more theists find it too!!!! There is more than one book in the library….. Our thirst for knowledge should never be taken away from us by religious indoctrination. I truly believe children should be able to search and find their way and in their own time.
The world and our place in it is more wondrous and magical than any man-made God could ever achieve or imagine.
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