I wasn’t raised in a particularly religious environment. I was ‘Catholic’ but only by tradition. I never really felt directly pressured or coerced into religion by my family. It was kind of just one of those things everyone did. We went to church infrequently, except then when I reached a certain age I started going to Sunday school for the purpose of indoctrination into the trademark bullshit of the faith. In general, I’ve never been particularly religious. What follows are a few random recollections of religion as I experienced it before I was old enough to have even understood what Nietzsche was talking about – when I was still a pretty young child, just soaking in different pieces of information and trying to put together the pieces to this fucked up puzzle that was my world.
Perhaps the earliest things I can remember are the occasional Jesus photos at relatives houses. I recall a deep discomfort whenever I would see these frightening images. I hated the drab, putrid style of the art, and I hated the forced sense of solemnity around this iconography. I didn’t understand why I was supposed to give a shit about this asshole in the painting who moronically got himself stuck up on a cross or whatever. “Just let me play with my Lincoln Logs and shut the fuck up,” is basically where I was at intellectually regarding religion, even at that very young age.
Crosses without Jesus made me feel uncomfortable too.
I had a similar feeling about Christmas time. The Jesus shit was just the weird, awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing shit that got in the way every now and then of trees, cookies, Santa, and celebrations. I hated the manger, the creepy, moody religious songs which would always darken the mood, only for the ugly spell to be broken again by the next silly song about reindeer or whatever. I liked the pagan shit, intuitively. The religious shit made me feel weird, and bad.
Sunday school wasn’t really that terrible because I have a natural intellectual curiosity, but I always recall feeling like it was some kind of anthropological session – I was observing these quaint old ladies who really believed this nonsense, and because they were nice enough and really knew the stories, they were fun to listen to.
I recall my first Confession, a prerequisite for a first holy communion. I felt weird entering this small room with a priest. It wasn’t even in a private box like in the movies. It was in this brightly lit office with the priest. I think I confessed that I said bad words and that I made fun of my sister sometimes. Kid stuff. I shouldn’t have felt guilty about it, but the church was trying its hardest to make sure I did. 10 “Hail Mary’s” or some such punishment, and I was on my way, having been exposed to one more exposed brick in the facade of the church’s wall of bullshit. It was my last Confession.
After receiving my Holy Communion, I recall turning to my family and making a disgusted face and going ‘blaaah’ as if the flavor was vile. It really was not, but I now realize I was engaging in youthful protest of the inanity of the church, its rituals, and the inanity of religion itself.
In Catholicism, after Communion the young brainwashee is directed to start training for the next indoctrination ceremony, called Confirmation. After one or maybe two of the classes, I told my mom that I no longer wanted to attend. I applaud my mother for not even putting up the slightest resistance against my request. In recollect, I think she asked me if I was ‘sure’ which she probably would have even done had I requested Burger King instead of McDonald’s one day.
I was pretty much done with any personal, direct contact with religion at that point, and soon after I declared openly an atheism that has not wavered to this day. Religious belief is so completely foreign to the way my mind functions, that it baffles me that so many people worldwide are still under the spell of this poisonous intoxicant. I remain always committed to challenging and confronting religion and the harm it causes, both on individual and societal levels. This is my declaration of philosophical war against religion, against the concept of ‘god.’ Enough is enough. It’s time to look toward the future and stop crawling back toward the graveyards of our past.