Hi Everyone! I've just joined Think Atheist, have been warmly welcomed, and feel right at home.
I'm a retired ol'fart beyond his Biblical 'sell-by' date. The avatar I selected is Gandalf, but if you ever meet me, you'll recognise me.
My name is Strass, and In case you missed it the first time, my second name is also Strass. Why I should be lumbered with a name that sounds like 'Stress', not once, but twice, I'll never know.
At the time that I was born, the law demanded that births be registered within 24 hours. My Dad was away at war (he was a fighter pilot in the RAF), my mom was still in the hospital (mandatory 14 day stay), so it was up to my uncle, still a high school kid, to do the necessary paperwork at the registry office.
I can only surmise that he was nervous and/or confused by all that bureaucracy, and that he may have filled the forms out incorrectly. Thus, here's me Strass Strass, at your service.
When I finally made my Dad's acquaintance, I was about two and a half years old. At first, I didn't know who he was, just that he was pawing my Mother, and making her cry. I charged to her rescue, kicking his shins and screaming "Fu**k off, fu**k off!" (my uncle taught me well).
The result was that he hoisted me up by my arm, and beat me like a pinata with his swagger stick.
And so I met my Dad.
That pretty much sums up our relationship. He was a stickler for 'Discipline' who followed Solomon's advice, and didn't spare the rod. He was also a religious zealot, and would quote the Bible as he lambasted me.
As soon as I could read, I was forced to read the Bible, and only the Bible. Works of fiction were not true, and as so, were lies, and lies would lead me straight to Hell. At first, it was 'Arthur Mee's Childrens Bible'. Later I graduated to the 'real' Bible, and I was rigorously tested on what I'd learned. I learned a lot, and, as young as I was, I found a lot of inconsistencies and downright contradictions. Whenever I asked questions, I usually ended up getting a hammering, because I dared question 'the Word of God'. I learned to keep my mouth shut.
I was sent to a private Catholic school, where my indoctrination was continued. In Bible class, we had what was known as 'Question time' where we all had to, anonymously, write questions on slips of paper and put them in a box. I thought I may get some of my questions answered, but that didn't work out so well either. Most times, when my question came out of the box, the answer was simply '... Well, that's not for us to know'.
Later in life, I almost convinced myself, but a lot of questions remained, and I was plagued by what I thought was my conscience, but was probably simple fear, whenever I tried to find answers.
Most of my life I found myself blindly following what had been hammered into me. I'd say the right words, hum the right tune, and quote the Bible like a pro, but it was more out of fear than out of personal conviction.
One day after, once again, being royally screwed over by some pecksniffian Christians, I started reading the Bible to try and find some sort of solace, and I found This:
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
And it just clicked something in my brain:- If the Bible is really the true 'Word of God', no amount of questioning can prove it to be false. Truth is Truth, and will stand as such, no matter what questions are asked.
So, long story short, I questioned. I researched, I even prayed - I prayed a lot! - and in the end, I found the truth, and the truth did set me free.
My family and 'friends' see it as that I've gone over to the 'Dark Side', and have shunned me ever since I 'came out of the confessional' but just as there are so called 'Born again' Christians, I view myself as a 'Born again' Atheist. What's been seen, cannot be unseen.
Looks about right.
I joined a local Lutherian Church, for a deeper exposure, a little education to fill in my nieve understandings, and to keep my girl friend happy.
This last Sunday, there was a call for more people to joing the bible study, which I and girl have joined. During our last annoucements I suggested that our group of three, I, girl and minister needs a few more folks, as the minister said 'to Dilute James', I said 'I have too many questions that make Virgina uncomfortable'.
No one should be sacrificed for the religious insanity of others. Good for you and good luck!
Our Tuesday bible study came out nicely with two more people and lots of interesting conversation, that even the minister enjoyed(it reminded her of her college days, but without prof. control). Sadly my girl friend was less impressed because we often diverged into different territory that was less about 'god' and 'bible' and more about history, philosophy, and interpritation. I suggested that the world is much bigger than the Bible and a single minded view point could allow. She suggested that she might not return next week..;p(. This could be the end for me also, since I really don't want to hurt my girl's feelings.