It has been about three weeks since I was inspired by some unknown force (that I do not call god) to involve myself in the freethought/new atheist movement. It began when I returned from my vacation to Northern California. My husband and I drove from Northwestern Oregon to San Francisco, and I realized that I noticed the natural beauty in a way that I never had before. Somehow that inspired me to google "atheist" when I arrived home. Since then, I can't get enough of The Thinking Atheist, The Atheist Experience, blogs, books, etc. Who knew?
Coming from an evangelical home (not quite fundamentalist), I was subject to childhood indoctrination. I had a vague knowledge of the way this impacted me, but since increasing my connection with the community, I am overwhelmed by the impact. I am stunned. I am embarrassed. I am saddened. The primary impact that I had been aware of previously was the chronic sense of guilt, the fact that I had married only to get heavenly permission to have sex, and a generalized difficulty making my own decisions.
Having immersed myself in atheist material, I am very troubled. I realized that in addition to the guilt and indecisiveness, that I have never been taught to think. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person. I have a doctorate in clinical psychology and a thriving practice. I love what I do and have some evidence that I am relieving some of the world's suffering one person at a time. However, somehow I made it through my entire educational experience without ever having a class in critical thinking or logic. I have never been education how to challenge any idea held by another person, or even recognize when someone is feeding me a load of bullshit. I've not been given one of a parent's most wonderful gifts to children, a bullshit meter.
The way the brain shuts out uncomfortable information is amazing. I have lived in a fog. Even after de-conversion, I have lived in a fog. I suppose that a godless for is an improvement over a religious fog, but I want to come in to the clearing now. I want to learn how to think clearly. I believe this is why I have so enjoyed watching and listening to The Atheist Experience. Even when they are responding to irritating trollers, I get a great deal out of it because I hear them identifying and calling out the logical fallacies that I never learned how to recognize.
I have been even more shocked at the recognition of an even more shocking omission in my education. I was never taught about evolution. I knew that the theory of evolution existed, but I did not know anything about it other than that it was an attempt to refute god by the godless heathens.
The list goes on. I know nothing about the historical evidence of biblical times. I know nothing about women's studies. I know nothing about the stance of the founding fathers on separation from church and state and god. I know nothing about cosmology. I know nothing about philosophy and how we discover what is true. How can this happen? How can I be a doctor of clinical psychology and not know these things?
I attended a religious university.
I have some work to do.