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Our first story this week comes from Mario:
I struggled with the concept of a god for a long time.
Next, we have an anonymous submission:
Although I wasn’t aware of the term atheist when I was 11 or 12, I knew that I didn’t buy into the Roman Catholic nonsense I was then being taught. During one wakeful moment in church I noticed that the priest had shifted the tone of his sermon from a loving and forgiving god to one that required unquestioning faith and worship under threat of condemnation to hell. Just then, the collection plate passed by and I saw the religion extortion racket for what it was. In a 3 decade effort to understand what I seemed to be missing, I’ve investigated all of the major religions and found them all be profiteering and/or power brokering using similar faith-based nonsense. What’s worse, is the ‘Us and Them’ divisiveness created by religion(s) that is (ab)used to incite violence against ‘Them’. By my thinking, everyone’s first thought concerning religion should be, By what criteria should we evaluate religion(s) and why does my religion/god condemn the majority of people who believe something else, or not, on similar premises?
And finally, a short story from Stephanie:
My mom and step-dad aren’t Christians, but my grandma I stayed with a lot was. Also, I went to religious private schools. My family life at home was awful, due to my parents heavy drinking among other things. I began to think if they would get saved, things would be so much better. I also worried about them going to hell, after hearing about it at school and church when my grandma made me go. I ended up marrying a boy from the school I attended when I was 17. He felt like we should raise our kids in church, so we did. Over time, I lost my faith however. I met too many people who were nothing like they pretended to be in church for one thing. For another, I began to wonder what kind of god would allow so much tragedy in the world. Finally, one day I snapped and walked out of church because I couldn’t take the fakeness anymore. Also, my oldest daughter had been struggling with some awful things and really rebelling. I parented by the Bible-praying, taking my kids to church, only letting them play with Christian kids, and we even