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Current time: May 24, 2022, 10:59 am

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Catholicism to atheism
Catholicism to atheism
Isn't a tremendous story or any one epiphany moment but rather a gradual erosion of belief.

Grew up with an exceptionally devout mother and a father who I don't really think believes in it, but goes along with it out of habit and more importantly to please my mother.  When I say exceptionally devout, my mother has gone on several pilgrimages, believes in all the miracles and Marian apparitions, and is a single-issue voter (abortion).  Went Catholic school from kindergarten to 8th grade when I told my parents I wanted no more of it, and wanted to go to public school.  However, this was not a reflection of lack of belief so much as it was I couldn't stand the country club, kool-aid drinking atmosphere of suburban Catholic school life and had had just about enough of it.  Even at age 14 I knew the whole world wasn't Catholic and thought it would be best for my adolescent development to face the rest of the world.

Fast forward to my late 20's where I was lukewarm towards the Catholic Church but was still a true believer myself, went to Mass every day, prayed every day, etc. It was about age 28 when the erosion started.  It started with recognition that the Catholic Church just makes up things as they go along.  Meatless Fridays in Lent, how long you have to fast before receiving Communion, Holy Days of Obligation, etc.  I was also getting tired of how seemingly every Mass had a "guest priest," that is, an infomercial attempting to guilt the captive audience for money.  I was tired of things that I thought were either IQ-lowering or just plain weird, such as open caskets at funerals (what other religion does that)? I was tired of many of these priests being completely cold and callous to the needs of the most desperate of their members; it was a good ol' boys network. Then the sex abuse scandal, which first broke in Boston in 2002, hit new lows in my hometown of Philadelphia in 2010 with the Second Grand Jury report, which is among the most disgusting, graphic publication I have ever read.  So I decided the Catholic Church was a pretty corrupt and otherwise useless organization that I could feel free to reject in my life, but that I still believed in God and Jesus.

And then give it a couple more years and I realized that God and Jesus were made up as well.  The single largest factor that hit me hard was how so much of  the world suffers and nothing is done. How is it "God's plan" for some people like myself to be lucky enough to be born in the first world, and other people to be born in third-world shitholes with repressive governments? Also how is it that God creates all these different races and then for all intents and purposes favors white people? I wanted to keep believing and felt very sad that it was no longer true, mostly because I didn't want to admit that I had wasted so much of my life on this.  Also, my mother is such a fervent believer; how could she be wrong?  And if I stopped believing wouldn't I be letting her down?  It took awhile for me to finally be at peace that I haven't done anything wrong.

So my takeaways on my experience is this:

1) The Catholic Church as well as other religions are incredibly sinister in terms of indoctrinating children.  An eight year old has no idea what communion or virgin birth means.  No adult would believe any of that silliness, so you need to get them believing while they're most impressionable and then hopefully, as they become adults, they will continue believing in it since that's what they grew up with.  You also need to get them fearful of hell at a very early age so that fear will stay with them until they die.  What this showed me is just how powerful brainwashing really is, whether it be for religion or something else.  I am a well-educated person and the brainwashing still took over 30 years to overcome.  It is difficult to think for yourself when your support system all believes in it.

2) Religion has a serious ethnic/racial component to it when you get down to it.  The Jews are God's chosen people, really? Could it be that Judaism was completely made up as a point of ethnic/cultural pride so that Jews could feel some ethnic exceptionalism?  If Catholicism is so universal, why are the largest number of canonized saints by far from France and Italy? All the miracles post-resurrection just so happened to take place in two countries? How is it that Islam was revealed only to Middle Easterners? Why is Hinduism pretty much limited to the Indians? It's a joke. 

3) Adult religious believers typically fall into one or more these categories: 1) flat-out stupid, 2) lonely, 3) desperate in terms of poor health or low finances and looking for a lottery ticket, 4) emotionally vulnerable/fearful of eternal damnation 5) simply do not want to arrive at a sad, watershed moment where they realize it was all made up and they wasted their life on it.  I was mainly #4 and #5 into my adult life until I finally snapped out of it.

Unfortunately I have to still go about pretending I'm a true believer to my mother because, to quote a famous line, she can't handle the truth.  But I've told just about everyone else outside of my family.  Amusingly my closest friends for the past 10-15 years are atheists and they had the same reaction--gee what took you so long?
RE: Catholicism to atheism
Good points, although you're preaching to the choir.


Welcome aboard!
 The granting of a pardon is an imputation of guilt, and the acceptance a confession of it. 

RE: Catholicism to atheism
I first broke with the catholic church when I was 11 years old. 1970.  When I questioned a detail in Genesis a priest thumped me on the sternum (With his index finger you filthy minded grots!). He said "A smart ass , huh! You sit back down and keep your mouth shut." The fight was on. Soon my parents switched over to Pentecostalism and I did not go with them. Keep up the good fight and welcome!
God thinks it's fun to confuse primates. Larsen's God!

RE: Catholicism to atheism
There is nothing better than being an ex-catholick.

Welcome to the club.

In fact, let's celebrate!

RE: Catholicism to atheism
Supposedly more atheists are ex-Catholics than ex-protestants. Is that your experience?
You don't have to go down in my basement. - Dan Barker

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. - Delos McKown
RE: Catholicism to atheism
I've heard ex Mormons are atheist in a very high percentage, but since LDS is like, what, 12 million or so, the ex ones don't bump the stats that much.
 The granting of a pardon is an imputation of guilt, and the acceptance a confession of it. 

RE: Catholicism to atheism
I don't have an anger problem, I have an idiot problem

RE: Catholicism to atheism
Hi and welcome! Recovering Catholic here too. Devout parents, went to Catholic school kindergarten through high school - the whole 9 yards.
Although I didn't de-convert until my late 30s. I was already on my way to deconverting when I picked up Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (while in a bookstore waiting for an online date that ended badly) The foreword is by Christopher Hitchens, who I had never heard of before. I read it and whoops - there went everything.

Nice to meet you! Smile
RE: Catholicism to atheism
Welcome matey.
Yes, isn't the world so much logical and simpler to explain without the rose coloured glasses on! The mind is finally at peace without constantly juggling apologetics 24/7.
No God, No fear.
Know God, Know fear.
RE: Catholicism to atheism
Heya, great to have you here Smile

Thanks for sharing your story! Very interesting. Well done on fighting through the layers of bullshit! I'm always impressed with anyone who beats indoctrination.
Feel free to send me a private message.
Please visit my website here! It's got lots of information about atheism/theism and support for new atheists.

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