The Nicest Girl Comes Out Godless

(Via Nicest Girl and Destroyer of Planets)

I was raised Roman Catholic by both of my parents. I suppose they did the best they could in that regard. We went to church fairly regularly (I remember church related stuff only from about age 6 or 7 on) and even attended midnight mass on Christmas and Easter sometimes. I vividly remember many church masses and some of the priests. Our church was called Saint Mary's (eh... there are only so many saints to choose from I guess... and Mary is a popular one) and it was just up the road/within walking distance.

I don't exactly remember the age when I started not believing but I calculate it to be around the age of 9. It had to have been around this time (maybe earlier but I doubt it) because my parents were still married and they did not get divorced until I was about 11 years old. I remember that a lot of my doubt came from mass itself as well as CCD. CCD is a kind of Sunday school that Roman Catholics send their kids to. My mother tried to get us to mass every Sunday at 9:00 AM so, as I said, we did attend church fairly regularly.

My early memories of church include: choir (and wanting to be a part of it), three different priests (including a younger, rude one who came along a little later), excitedly putting money into the basket every week (something I later didn't want any part of and actually remember getting angry about when told we didn't have money for this, that, or the other while we gave away our money to the church every weekend), and the kneeling, standing, kneeling, standing.. over and over (again... something that I started refusing to do. I began to feel that standing up to show respect for a god that I didn't believe in was just as degrading and stupid as kneeling.. but it was harder to not stand up in church than to not kneel).

My early memories of CCD include: hating it, monthly or bimonthly confessionals to the priest, stupid quizzes on certain books in the bible (but I was an over-achiever and often ended up with a gold star on my forehead anyway), videos and harder tests as I got older... oh.. and skipping out on classes to play Nintendo with my best friend, Brooke, who lived next door to the church.

In my opinion, actually, when I think about it... church and CCD were the two things that most likely helped to facilitate my disbelief in the Christian God. Whenever I asked a question in my CCD classes pertaining to, simply, unexplainable subjects, I got those typical bullshit answers. Some of the parents of the other kids in CCD were the teachers (which would explain the typical bullshit answers) so they really had extremely limited knowledge of what they were teaching anyway. The main nun was really mean and nasty and the priests seemed sneaky. They never did anything overtly sneaky.. I just felt that way about them. I hated being forced to have confession with them which was held in a separate room away from everyone else because they didn't have confession booths at the church and I always told them the same stupid things every time. "I hit my brother." "I yelled at my mother." "I didn't listen to my parents." etc.etc. I had it down to a science by the time I was done though I think confession eventually became voluntary (but I could be making that up.. I can't remember). I remember some kids would come out crying after confession and I seem to remember doing it myself as well.. but it was only because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. A little glimpse into how religion has a tendency to brainwash children.

As for CCD itself...ugh... it was so annoying to have to go. The whole thing made me feel uncomfortable and maybe my father (who apparently reads this blog) remembers a time when I was excited to go but I don't (as opposed to church which I do remember being excited to go early on). I remember hating it with a passion. At first we had CCD in the basement of the building next to the church that the priests and nuns lived in. After that we moved to the finished basement of the church itself. At about that point I made friends with a girl named Brooke, from school. We became best buds and ocassionaly got away with skipping out on CCD class. One time I remember Brooke and I came up with this plan where we told the nun and priest that I had my period and since her house was right next door I had to go get pads from her house. It worked. We didn't show up again until the end of the class. Go us! High five to periods! The rest of the time we were in class we would spend a lot of time laughing at the "informational" videos that they showed us (there was one that was some nun talking to a bunch of teenagers about something or other and the camera kept focusing on this one girl who looked like Medusa with a gap in her teeth... we came up with some kind of crazy story while we were watching where the girl would turn into a snake and spit poison.. it was one of those "had to be there" moments because we had a head movement and everything.. everyone watching the movie kept looking at us and totally wanted in on the fun.. but..... nyahnyah!) and intentionally messing up quizzes and whatnot. We couldn't really fail quizzes cuz our parents would have gotten angry but we had a lot of fun coming up with slogans for the ridiculous pictures of Jesus with sheep or whatever.

Anyway, I got on a tangent.. remembering the good ol' days.

Eventually I "came out" to my parents around the age of 13 or 14 or something. My family was not happy about it at all. I didn't want to get confirmed but my mother insisted. After talking to my father and eventually my atheist uncle, I was talked into going through with the confirmation for the sake of my parents (moreso my mother). This was 10th grade so I was 15 at the time. I will say that up until the last minute.. right before the bishop came over to me and asked me the "yes" or "no" question.. I had intended on saying "no" and humiliating my entire family in that church. But I changed my mind. Angrily said "yes" and was finally done with it. I took a picture with the bishop for my mother to look at or whatever (am I smiling in the picture? I should find out...) and.. from that point on... I was no longer required to go to church. I think my mom twisted my arm and made me go to mass with her a couple of times afterwards as a kind of "No! You don't win!" kind of statement but I did win in the end.

My family didn't go nuts over the "atheist thing". I heard the usual "it's just a phase" or "at least she's confirmed so she can get married in a church" and whatever but I was never ostracized or hated by any of them. In fact I got more of a reaming for getting my tongue pierced at 18 than I did for announcing my atheism. But, for me, the whole process seemed to take forever (the getting to confirmation so I didn't have to go to church anymore bit) and was extremely annoying.

I have been godless for over ten years now (hard for me to say an exact age to start at....). Quite proud of it although I won't say that I haven't looked into various religions to see if I haven't just been missing something. I generally dislike the Abrahamic religions. I have a little place in my heart for Buddhism as a philosophy but once you start throwing"heaven" or "gods" or whatever in there.. you lose me. I don't speak of religion with my family (sometimes with my dad, never with my mom, and only when it comes up with non-immediate family members) and it's probably best that way. Religion isn't for me and, in a way, I am glad that I came into my atheism the way that I did. Roman Catholicism totally put me off but ..... "the sweet just ain't as sweet without the bitter, baby."

Does that even fit here? I don't know.

1 comment:

The Doubtful Daughter said...

Wow, this could be my story. I remember CCD and the horror when it was my mother teaching it. The more I think about it, the more I think I just don't have it in me to believe.

I used to give such trouble to my parents about church. Even saying that I could pray at home because he would hear me anyway.