My Way to Atheism
Some people experience becoming atheists as a conversion. I did not. I slowly got aware that I never was a real christian. I was an atheist behaving by imitation, as if I were a christian. I was baptised, and from their point of view, that made me irreversably a fellow christian. But of course, that is nonsense. A handful of water on my forehead as a baby had no impact upon the wiring of my brain.
I had the whole load of christian brain-washing, from christian kindergarten, over religious instruction at school, and for several years as a child, I attended children's church service every sunday. It never had any personal meaning to me. By the age of 17 I had grown out of religious beliefs as I had grown out much earlier of the belief in the easter bunny and any other fairy tales as being true. When I was a child, I liked Grimm's fairy tales, and I liked all those biblical stories about a guy walking over the water and the like as another nice fairy tale. Grimm's fairy tales were supposed to have taken place several centuries ago, the biblical fairy tales two thousand years ago, but both had nothing to do with my present life. Had it only depended upon the maturing of rationality in the brain, I should have grown out of all those beliefs at the same time. But the external influences were inconsistent. I was encouraged to stop believing in the easter bunny, when I started school, but I was encouraged or rather manipulated to continue to believe in god, so I needed much longer to grow out of this in spite of contrary influences.
I learned the standard prayers by rote, and I repeated them hundreds of times. Standing on my feet, putting my hands together and uttering meaningless words was a ritual, that was the praying to me. The text could have been in suaheli instead of german, it could not have had any less meaning. Never, at no age, with no wish or problem did it ever occur to me to think that praying to a fairy tale figure would do any thing for me personally. Praying was a ritual like brushing my teeth. I brushed my teeth, before I had the insight that it was to keep the teeth healthy, I prayed, until I had the insight, that I made no sense to do it.
That figure walking on the water had not more to do with my personal life than had little red riding hood. Sending meaningfull wishes or words to a fairy tale figure and expecting any reaction was just too farfetched to occur to me. I was an atheist then, I just did not know it yet. I was young and too gullible to doubt the truth of fairy tales of 2000 years ago, when I heard them, yet I did not believe in any impact of the fairy tales upon me personally. We learned about the Romans in history lessons and about the jews and early christians in religious lessons, and it was much the same to me, stories to be stored in memory to get good grades.
I was told all those biblical fairy tales from kindergarten on, but the only time I ever started to read the bible was at the beginning of puberty, when there were rumours about naughty tales in the bible. I started to read it in search of the naughty stuff, but after about 50 pages I got so bored, that I stopped, and when I had grown out of religion at age 17, the bible went to the garbage. The paper of the pages seemed not even suitable as toilet paper, so I just threw it out.
All amount of religious brainwashing could not make me a believer, just as all the water of the pond cannot make the feathers of a duck wet.
Originally published at http://egalitarianrationalcommitmentparadigm.blogspot.com/2010/07/1...