I never sought to be an ‘Atheist’, in the strictest sense of the word. I’ve always identified myself as a seeker of knowledge and of ‘input’ . . . which I suppose is why I related to the movie ‘Short Circuit’ and the character of Johnny 5.
I was brought up in a Protestant Catholic home of sorts, primarily in the Alberta prairies right smack in the early 60’s . . . a decade that didn’t really happen there until the late 70’s. It was because of the time and place that Christianity was the ‘norm’, if you will. It was sporadically taught in schools, prayer was always mandatory, and I had gone to Sunday School. I’d often hear of God’s ‘love, kindness, and charity’ . . . but it was definitely not universally used. We were struck by teachers, by preachers, by nuns for the slightest infraction, even questions that were nothing less than curiosity seeking information. The fact that we were never allowed to question the motives or wonder aloud why certain events happened in such strange ways, or why ‘God’s servants’ had to resort to such drastic anger when they spoke so often about this apparently elusive ‘love’ certainly cemented some perverse ideas in my young mind.
A major turning point in my very young mind (a precocious six or so), was when I recalled asking a nun . . . “Why didn’t God just let Jesus live, and have him become a king to lead the people and teach them to be good?”
Oops. Wrong. Yelled at, and swatted for that one. “Don’t question God’s will or ways! If we don’t trust God, he will punish us!” (give or take a word or two . . . that was 46 years ago). Was given five straps per hand . . . big ol’ leather barber’s belt.
Okay, that was a fucking red flag. I spent the rest of my life learning, reading, and delving primarily into fiction. I never fit in, never bought the story, even though for the next ten years of my life it was ‘The Way’ or ‘The Truth’. I had different ideas, just due to the lack of what was seemed to be just bad planning, nonsensical rituals that never accomplished anything . . . of course, neither did prayer (but for a few years I had wondered if I wasn’t ‘worthy of attention’). Suffice to say, I had internalized a lot, and was afraid to speak my mind about it. Such is the way of any Bible-belt society. Fear rules . . . love and respect are afforded to you if you slavishly obey. I was not such a person so easily turned into some invisible person’s lackey.