Today was Atheist Pride Day. Although I couldn’t wear green (I’ve got nothing green in my wardrobe. Spare me.), I think I should make up for it by telling my story, why I’m an atheist, and why I think that garners respect.
I live in Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the union. Naturally, I was raised in a mildly Catholic household. I attended Our Lady of Loreto church for a good portion of my life (and to this day, I still don’t know where Loreto is or its proximity to East Providence. Nor do I care.) and even took CCD every Tuesday up to 6th grade. I was even an altar boy for the parish for two years, which I have to say was pretty fun. I got to dress up in a cool black and white uniform, although I would have preferred to wear just the black cassock. I looked uber-awesome in it given my tall and lanky build. At this point, I hadn’t even seen the Matrix yet and I still felt like a badass. And the answer is no, I was never diddled by the priest… Father Nakowicz (I think I’m spelling that correctly) was a great priest and a very funny guy. My parents couldn’t have been prouder.
Even more so when I told them I wanted to become the Chaplain Aide of my Boy Scout troop. Our troop was lacking a chaplain at the time, so it meant I would pretty much become the religious arbiter of the troop. Boy, what fun. But that’s where it all started.
My parents bought me a leather-bound, gold-edged Bible with my initials on it for my Confirmation. I thought it was an awesome gift; it was pocket-sized and had a little silk bookmark attached to the spine. I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I would find it somewhere.
I decided that if I was going to be my troop’s Chaplain Aide, I would have to be a really good one. So I actually started reading the Bible. You know, that book that we read passages from every Saturday in church.
I started realizing that the stuff in it was outright ridiculous. I read the Song of Solomon, and found it talking about breasts and womanly parts and I’m all like… “This is in the Bible?! I thought it was supposed to be a holy book!” So I read the whole thing and skimmed through the parts where there were all sorts of begats. Needless to say, it’s a very dry and stale book; there aren’t many good parts in it.
Years passed, and intellect got the best of me. I started browsing atheist websites one day for the hell of it and realized that I agreed with a lot of what I was seeing and hearing. The most difficult part? Telling my mother not only that I didn’t believe in God anymore, but that I was having a baby with my girlfriend!
So I’ve only been an atheist for probably 7 or 8 years, but if you count the “spiritual” journey leading up to my final de-conversion, then maybe more.
I’m proud to be an atheist, though. I’m proud to be a contributing member of this community. I’m an active member of the Rhode Island Atheist Society, a regular co-host of Freethought Rhode Island, and I would like to think that I’m a positive, if not verbosely eccentric, part of the atheist blogosphere.
If you’re linking here and reading this post from my friend Jessica Ahlquist, I thank you. I went to a Catholic high school, so I can’t say that I’ve ever been in her place, but what she’s going through makes me respect her all the more and I will be glad to offer her all the support and assistance she needs as she continues her education. (If you’re reading this, Jessica, I’m big on homework help and I’m excellent with math. Contact me if you ever need it, even by phone.)
Again, those of you who are new to Mage Chronicles, show some love by going through past posts and leaving comments. I respond to all of them. It’ll prompt me to post more often.