I was quite lucky as a kid in that I immediately refused (age 7) to play along with the whole church or jesus nonsense. My mother saw something in me and allowed me to skip the whole thing, although she made my siblings attend regularly. The little exposure I had to this religious culture bored me senseless and I saw as utterly pointless information that I would never need.
Bottom line; because I never believed, I could never really relate to the values shared by my closely knit catholic community. So sure have I been of my atheism most of my life that I always assumed that I was right and the rest of the world (the believers) were mentally ill or something.
So much of our culture is viewed through the collective religious experience of the masses.
Like everyone is looking through shattered glass. But because believers are in power, in the course of living our lives, we live by their rules.
I confess to little tolerance for anyone 'testifying' anywhere near me.
What gets to you about living in a 'Christian' world?
I grew up thinking that there was something wrong with xtians, seeming to have little ambition to live their lives to the fullest, lest they disobey some invisible boogieman. I saw no god, so I had very little idea what they were talking about. "You got to have faith", they told me. I must have been out playing on the swings when they were handing out the faith gene as well. I could not even muster up the emotion necessary to play along with such foolishness, so after a while people stopped talking to me about their beliefs simply because I would never acknowledge that I thought they were on The Right Path.
I met with my doctor recently, a delightful woman from Russia who out of the blue told me she was an atheist. Always had been. I have known her 5 years and suddenly I saw her in a wonderfully different light! We compared our atheistic notes and she said, "you know, life would probably be a whole lot easier if I were to believe in something, but I honestly cannot do that. Instead I have seen life express itself, simply for what it is. I find more comfort in true things." I am going to keep this doctor.
Personally speaking, being openly atheistic as I am almost guarantees that I am an "acquired taste" to the many people that surround me day in and out, but one thing I love about living in San Francisco, one is surrounded by thousands of fellow nonbelievers. I find comfort in that commonality, on top of the fact of being gay.
What really hounds me is when catholics tell you that theirs is the only true religion, and the baptists say the same thing, the jehovah's waitresses say the same thing, ad nauseum.
All that's missing is them all flashing 'gang signs' with their fat fingers.
You answered my question perfectly. Thank you, great insights. My frustration in the last post is due to the fact that many posting here were once believers - religion never really took any hold on me. Not for one second did I ever believe such nonsense and sensed it was bullshit from a very early age. Consequently, I had little exposure to the very thing people come here to escape from.
The frustration is with myself, I guess.