Looking back on my childhood it has become clear to me that there were five key people in my religious experience that kind of stood above the rest. These five key people in my life were people that were around me more than any really from my birth to around the age of seventeen. They were in no particular order: Mom, Dad, my grandparents from my Mother's side, and my brother.
I grew up mostly with my Mom and my Grandparents raising me. My Dad made the occasional and always welcomed visit but work beckoned for him more often than not. So my Mom and Grandparents were the ones who really tried to ardently instill some kind of religious and moral foundation in my life. The most notable of which was to enroll my brother and I and a private christian school. Looking back it's hard to say which was more influential in my current world-view as an atheist, my experiences taken from my school life or my home life. Now that's not to say that I had a poor upbringing. I was spoiled at every opportunity and there was always a roof over my head, toys to play with, and food on my plate. But I'll get into the home religious experience in the next few posts. I want to focus on school in particular.
School is a place where life is changed drastically especially given the priorities instilled in us by our guardians. And that becomes even more true when your guardians are of the christian faith and have enrolled you in a christian school. Before you even have a chance to develop your own way, your own social status, and your own thoughts on life and death, you are literally forced into a moral construct that makes little or no sense. Especially to a youth who wants nothing more than to get laid, play video games, and truly enjoy life. Christian school to me was the mental equivalent of those bumpers they pull out at the bowling alley. No lessons learned from mistakes because all mistakes were forgiven and after such, these mistakes ceased to exists. Pretty zany logic even for the most irrational of minds.
I was literally forced to indoctrinate myself or it would mean not passing certain classes. I wasn't taught to think. I was taught to memorize and repeat. Memorize and repeat. Memorize and repeat. Now I know that even some teachers that stick around and teach at private christian schools have the best of intentions. But even the brightest ones that I knew of growing up were still very limited in their thinking that they were having a positive effect on our life and moral fortitude. Quite the opposite effect really.
Fifty percent of my Bible grade in middle school (7th grade) was to memorize Hebrews chapter eleven. It was done over the course of several months but this was it. My mom was paying the school thousands upon thousands of hard earned dollars and the best course work this teacher could develop was for us to memorize a chapter out of some archaic text. For those who don't know the entire chapter is regarding the idea of faith. Specifically the "biblical" definition of faith, the people who used it, how it can be used, and what it will get you. "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see." and "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at god's command so that what was seen was not made out of what was visible" That shit doesn't make any sense to me now folks and it seemed that much more insanely confusing then. And it fucked with my head all through out me growing up. I got it from my classmates, my principal, and my teachers. The same redundant message was to have faith even with things suck. Looking back on it now I can't begin to describe how dangerous this can be in a child's growth and development. Faith can desensitize a persons ability to discern between pain brought on by the inevitable lessons of life and the kind of pain that you should remove yourself from. The kind of pain that is self induced, futile, and ultimately self destructive. Faith takes the meaning out of time itself. Christians preach the message of there is no tomorrow so you better believe me now and there is a better tomorrow all in one breath. There's so much circular reasoning in christian theology that it makes even me, a confessing atheist, confused beyond any measure of thought. As a result Christians are so easily prone to casting off the real concerns of today because they've got the magic golden ticket that guarantees them a tomorrow. If I had to sum it up in one simple phrase it would be that faith is a complete and utter distortion of reality and can be categorized as a neurological disorder at best.