1. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:091 edit
    It's a Miracle! I have had an epiphany! For 28 years i have existed on this Planet and finally, i don't believe in God!

    Having been born an innocent impressionable child, it wasn't long before i was sent to school to receive my education. Catholic School to be precise. From the age of 4 (i was the eldest in my year) i was taught the Gospels. I remember, one night, waking up in the dark and feeling intense fear, the kind of fear that only a child can feel in the dark. I wanted to scream for my mum, but the words wouldn't come out, i was paralysed...literally. I remember the prayer i said in my head, i remember the comfort It gave me to believe there was a loving ‘being’ watching over me, protecting me and i remember how...after a time, my eyes closed and i fell asleep.

    By the age of 6 or 7 i was praying nightly by my bed before i went to sleep. I would go through the members of my family, wishing that God would protect them, etc.. and i remember taking great pride in my belief. By this time i was in Church school (ie school built onto the side of a church (originally) that now takes up an entire block). We read the bible, practised religious festivals, observed Lent (quite strictly as it happens), did charitable work, etc...

    Now, an unfortunate thing happened in my school, which i am not sure i am entirely comfortable revealing to the World (especially as some of you know me personally) but i shall reveal it anyway. Once aged 10 years old, the school organised trips to the local swimming baths. Each class went once a month (there were 4 classes in a year). The headmaster of our school personally supervised these trips. We would swim and play and have fun in the water until was time to go. We'd get out of the pool and shower and then, wait for it.... the Headmaster would 'check to make sure we were dry.' This involved touching naked boys, myself included. He did this to every boy in the year, year after year, class after class, for over a decade.

    Did we think this was proper conduct? No we didn't. Did we mind him doing this? Yes we did, very much so!

    Did we tell our parents? **Absolutely not!!**

    This is a priest. This is a man of God, a man to be trusted without question! Well, as it transpired only last year, this wasn't all he was doing. As i read in the paper last year, he was in fact taken to court for allegedly abusing a boy in my year (abusing in the actual sense of the word, not just the 'harmless' shower thing). The court were shown a photograph of naked boys showering (myself included in this picture i might add) which he claimed was for the School priorian (year book). Despite over whelming evidence, he did not serve any time for this. Despite some hundreds of boys (men now) who were available to testify to this, he was given a suspended sentence.

    WHY? Was it because the jury were Catholic? Was it the churches influence? Who knows, but I struggle to see how a greasy old man hanging around playgrounds or trawling yahoo chat rooms is worse than your Headmaster abusing his position of power to systematically groom an entire school!

    Well needless to say, my absolute trust in the clergy took a knock after this, but it took a few years to to materialise, cos lets face it, you don't really start questioning things till you're in your teens.

    By the age of 12, i had moved into the middle school, which was in a separate building. We received our religious education from a priest of the monastery. He was a genuinely lovely man, i like him to this day (though i haven't seen him for many years now) but he had problems, namely alcohol. I can remember a number of occasions when he arrived in class clearly drunk. He was never aggressive, to be honest i preferred him like that as he was much more enthusiastic about his lessons which as a result were a lot less boring. However, this wasn't the sort of image the school wanted kids going home to their parents with so mid way through the year he was replaced (somewhat short sightedly) with a young theology graduate, fresh out of University.

    Buddy, i can't remember your name, but thank you! From the bottom of my heart THANK you!

    This guy sought to teach us religion from the point of view of a sceptic. He took us through the bible, analysing the Gospels, comparing the testament of each and analysing them for inconsistencies and DEAR LORD there were a lot! I mean S*** loads!!

    Now you might be wondering why this guy was doing this if he was teaching religious education?

    Well that's an interesting question, which needs answering. He made the point to us that God is separate from the Bible. The Bible was written by man and therefore is bound to be imperfect. He taught us about the history of this book. How it has been changed and updated over the centuries. How some Gospels have fallen out of favour with the Church because the content is biased or inaccurate, etc... I learnt more about the Church from this man than i had done from all my previous teachers up to this point. Having said all of this though, he was keen to emphasise the point that this was not a basis for disbelieving in God. He was mearly giving us the facts as he knew them so that we could build our faith on God, rather than simply following the word of men who happened to dislike certain aspects of the bible in the 12th Century (say).

    And so it was, i left the school shortly after to move to another Catholic school with my faith streamlined, updated, refreshed with this new knowledge. Rather than blindly believing what i had been told, i had a new outlook, my own outlook (or so i thought).

    My next school was different, VERY different. It was technically a Catholic school, but it was nothing like the last one. It was what i would like to call a 'pseudo' Catholic School, in that it had 'Catholic' in the name, we sang hymns in the morning, etc.. but religion wasn't forced down your throat (i remember getting 1000 lines for forgetting what Good Friday was for in my previous school, the worst i'd have got here was perhaps a nonchalant roll of the eyes from my teacher).

    Being removed from daily religious practise was weird. Not that i minded, i'd found the whole thing quite tiresome in all honesty. I had given up praying each night, mainly because of my young teacher from my previous school, so you could say i was a non-practising Catholic. From a religious point of view, my time at this school was pretty uneventful, so i'll skip straight to the end...

    After leaving School i would be what most people would term an agnostic. I believed in a God (ultimately) but... (and this is a very very important point to grasp!!)

    ...My education had fostered a deep respect for Science in me.

    How is that important? It is important because i had been taught the scientific method. It is important because i had seen the World described by science, BEING described by science. With my faith in the Bible long since shot out of the water, i needed a belief system (as we all do....or so i thought!)

    Some years passed from 16 to around 22, lots of parties, etc... general youthful abandon.

    Around 22 i was re-introduced to reading by a friend of mine who was much older, around 35. Like most teenagers i had seen reading as something you do in school, something that you've been forced to do all your life but never really enjoyed.

    Anyway (coincidentally) the first book i was given was 'The Blind watchmaker' by Richard Dawkins. I am sure most of the people who read this forum are familiar with his book, so i won't explain it any more detail than to say it is a book on evolution and natural selection, as originally proposed by Charles Darwin.

    I loved it! It fascinated me greatly. The idea was so elegant, so all embarrassing and more importantly, based in reality! In the years since then i have read quite a few science books along with a number a spiritual books also, ranging from Tao/Buddhism to islam/Christianity and back again. But somehow, i don't know how, my belief in an ultimate God, the guy who made it all possible, survived!

    That's right, in the face of over whelming evidence to the contrary, i somehow managed to remain a believer in something that i had never (and still haven't) seen one scrap of evidence to support! Amazing, a miracle some might say!! (Sorry, i don't want to mock people’s beliefs, even though they downright deserve it!)

    How did i manage to make it to 28 years of age, having needed evidence to back up all of my 'beliefs' (i use this word to encompass everything i believed to be true, i do not imply any faith when using it in this context) yet still lay all of the unknowables at the feet of god?

    Well unsurprisingly, my enlightenment was to be brought round by the very man who originally gave me an alternative 'belief' system, Steven Dawkins!

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

    Having read his masterful book, 'The God delusion,' I have finally been freed from the shackles of my upbringing. I have been a believer in evolution for years now, but i somehow still felt that there must be some kind of intelligence behind the whole thing. I was wrong!

    That's right, you heard me... Wrong!

    I look forward to the rest of my life, free of doubt, free of guilt, free of fear! I will never walk into another church as long as i live, even as a tourist. I will never pay £5 to see my Dad play in his Orchestra in a Church, i will never go to a church car boot sale, NOTHING! And i will do it with a completely clear conscience. Good bye God, i'd like to say it was nice knowing you but i've finally realised you were me all along.

    Alleluia!!
  2. Donationkirksey957
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    20 Jun '07 22:16
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    It's a Miracle! I have had an epiphany! For 28 years i have existed on this Planet and finally, i don't believe in God!

    Having been born an innocent impressionable child, it wasn't long before i was sent to school to receive my education. Catholic School to be precise. From the age of 4 (i was the eldest in my year) i was taught the Gospels. I ...[text shortened]... finally realised you were me all along.

    Alleluia!!
    You should enter round 2 of the sermon competition .
  3. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:221 edit
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    You should enter round 2 of the sermon competition .
    I don't hang out in here much, what's that?

    EDIT: Ahh, gotcha! Not really interested in faith competitions, it's why i avoided this forum for so long. I just had to get it off my chest cos it's been a consistent distraction for weeks now. This is a statement of intent! I don't need anyone's approval, think what you like. That's certainly what i intend to do. 😏
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    20 Jun '07 22:29
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    I don't hang out in here much, what's that?

    EDIT: Ahh, gotcha! Not really interested in faith competitions, it's why i avoided this forum for so long. I just had to get it off my chest cos it's been a consistent distraction for weeks now. This is a statement of intent! I don't need anyone's approval, think what you like. That's certainly what i intend to do. 😏
    okay so are you saying that you don't belive in your creator Jesus Christ?
  5. Donationkirksey957
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    20 Jun '07 22:29
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    I don't hang out in here much, what's that?

    EDIT: Ahh, gotcha! Not really interested in faith competitions, it's why i avoided this forum for so long. I just had to get it off my chest cos it's been a consistent distraction for weeks now. This is a statement of intent! I don't need anyone's approval, think what you like. That's certainly what i intend to do. 😏
    Don't look at it as a "competition per se, but more as a competition with one's self to improve one's persuasive skills. I think you have something to offer, but you know me, I'm always "making the tent big."
  6. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:31
    Originally posted by LivingForJesus
    okay so are you saying that you don't belive in your creator Jesus Christ?
    Where does it say i was created by Jesus Christ? That's definitely a new one on me! Believe me, i've read the Bible over more than once, he never EVER stated any such thing!
  7. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:341 edit
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Don't look at it as a "competition per se, but more as a competition with one's self to improve one's persuasive skills. I think you have something to offer, but you know me, I'm always "making the tent big."
    Sounds like fun, though i find i get frustrated with people in here quite easily. American faith compared to British faith is like comparing Mary Poppins to Hulk Hogan, we're all reading off totally different hymn sheets, know what I mean. 😉
  8. Subscribersonhouse
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    20 Jun '07 22:38
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    Sounds like fun, though i find i get frustrated with people in here quite easily. American faith compared to British faith is like comparing Mary Poppins to Hulk Hogan, we're all reading of totally different hymn sheets, know what I mean. 😉
    Like the 2 nuns in their bedroom, one of them playing 'hims'....
  9. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:46
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Like the 2 nuns in their bedroom, one of them playing 'hims'....
    Very clever, if i thought for a minute you'd read my post i'd probably reply.
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    20 Jun '07 22:46
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    It's a Miracle! I have had an epiphany! For 28 years i have existed on this Planet and finally, i don't believe in God!

    Having been born an innocent impressionable child, it wasn't long before i was sent to school to receive my education. Catholic School to be precise. From the age of 4 (i was the eldest in my year) i was taught the Gospels. I ...[text shortened]... finally realised you were me all along.

    Alleluia!!
    Self attained perfection. Now that you know all there is to know.
  11. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 22:49
    Originally posted by josephw
    Self attained perfection. Now that you know all there is to know.
    No, not self attained perfection at all! You said that, not me. I have lived a christian life since as long as i can remember and i will continue to do so, only with the absence of Christ/God/Religion. This is an important turning point for me! Mock away, i don't need your approval. 😛
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    20 Jun '07 22:591 edit
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    It's a Miracle! I have had an epiphany! For 28 years i have existed on this Planet and finally, i don't believe in God!

    Having been born an innocent impressionable child, it wasn't long before i was sent to school to receive my education. Catholic School to be precise. From the age of 4 (i was the eldest in my year) i was taught the Gospels. I finally realised you were me all along.

    Alleluia!!
    Really sorry to here of your experiences, its disgraceful that these things have happened under a religious pretext.

    However, glad to hear of your eventual conversion! I'm only 18 myself so I'm a bit younger, but I also have come from a very Christian background. Its only in the last two years really that I've fully coem to call myself atheist, but your discription of science is very similar to how I exprienced it. I found the lack of god in science, they fact that he didn't even need to be mentioned or disproved because he clearly was nothing as something that effected me. The lack of evidence behind Christianity and the fact that so many hundreds of other religions exist and have exist all with equally valid evidence and zealous believers was another thing. And also the way relgion is passed down the generations to impressionable children. Can't be a conicidence that most people believe what their parents believe.
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    20 Jun '07 23:02
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    No, not self attained perfection at all! You said that, not me. I have lived a christian life since as long as i can remember and i will continue to do so, only with the absence of Christ/God/Religion. This is an important turning point for me! Mock away, i don't need your approval. 😛
    I appologize for the apparent mockery.
    I only said what I said to convey a thought.
    I hope you will continue to post in this forum, as I will look forward to further discussions with you on this topic.
    And I have desided to go out and get Dawkins' book 'the God dilusion' now, because of your post.
  14. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 23:08
    Originally posted by Jake Ellison
    Really sorry to here of your experiences, its disgraceful that these things have happened under a religious pretext.

    However, glad to hear of your eventual conversion! I'm only 18 myself so I'm a bit younger, but I also have come from a very Christian background. Its only in the last two years really that I've fully coem to call myself atheist, but y ...[text shortened]... nable children. Can't be a conicidence that most people believe what their parents believe.
    I don't feel any differently towards people of faith than i did before. They are (generally speaking) good people. I no longer see 'God' as a pretext to this though. I was brought up to believe that somehow believing in God made you a better person. Well how much good work could be done on Sunday? The poor are still poor on Sunday, the sick are still sick on Sunday, the homeless still sleep on the streets on Sunday. I am going to do Gods work, or rather, I am going to live my life with integrity! The space that is left by God will be filled with something new, not quite sure what just yet but i am going to give my time to someone who needs it. Not because God wants me to, not because Jesus said i should, not because of any of that. Because i want to! No more, no less.
  15. SubscriberMarinkatomb
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    20 Jun '07 23:16
    Originally posted by josephw
    I appologize for the apparent mockery.
    I only said what I said to convey a thought.
    I hope you will continue to post in this forum, as I will look forward to further discussions with you on this topic.
    And I have desided to go out and get Dawkins' book 'the God dilusion' now, because of your post.
    I'm glad, i don't come here to argue with people, i come here to connect with my fellow man. 🙂

    On Dawkins, he is a stanch atheist and you will undoubtedly find his writings grate with your beliefs. You will feel he is mocking religion...in a way he is, but it is more than apparent that he has lived his life being attacked and misquoted by believers. I have no doubt that, had he been left alone (so to speak) he probably wouldn't have written his book in the first place! Such is religion, it is a hot topic which brings the worst out in people (when discussing it, rather than practising it i might add). I would recommend you read the 'Blind watch maker' first though. Having a firm foundation in the theory of evolution will aid your understanding of this book, regardless of whether you actually believe it to be true it or not. 🙂
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