As I write this I chuckle to myself because I am sitting just two seats away from my mother who is oblivious to the fact that I am an atheist and that I am writing this. Soon I hope i will finally pluck up the courage to tell my family I am an atheist, but having studied their reactions to any uncomfortable problems regarding religion I am still nervous as to how they will react because of their views that they hold…
Having been an Anglican for 16 years because of my upbringing I have first hand experience as to just how damaging the indoctrination of children is. Anglicanism prides itself on it liberal attitudes and “encouragement of discussion”. This however is translated by my experience as “we will discuss what we wish you to discuss”. Having being brought up in christian primary AND secondary schools as well as a christian 6th form I had met only other believers and a few sikhs, a few muslims and one jew. We discussed sex, drugs, the usual stuff, but until I met atheists (and numerous amounts of them) I had NO IDEA of just how much I had not thought about. Unless you hear about something you will most likely not think about it and this is one of the alarming traits about the anglican church. I had never questioned my religion as most don’t, but I had also never questioned or even thought about having any views on homosexuality, abortion, sex in general, assisted suicide. For some of these issues I had extremely fascist and degenerate views that I had never even thought about. I realised after my convertion just how mad these views were.
I don’t remember a lot of my religious life now. It may just be that I have hit that stage where you remember more about yourself because your self-awareness opens up, but I believe that It is because of the opening up of my mind by my friends that I now know and remember so much more. Appparantly I, just a few months before becoming an atheist, likened you to a terrorist proffessor. I don’t even remember this-just a few months back and apparantly in a large debate I had with a good friend of mine. I now look upon my aquaintences who are religious with an extreme pity. Every one of them that I have questioned about their views has given me the same answers that I myself used to hold and always refuse to change their views despite the fact that I ALWAYS trap them in their own logic. The answer I always recive is “god can do the impossible” and It never progresses from there…
I do not leap on people and question them about their views, I merely state mine when asked and them ask them theirs, yet I am (as you are) constantly accused of being strident, shrill and un-empathetic towards a believers views. Yet it is in one of these “moderate anglican schools” that a very dear friend of mine was called a waste of space by a male student no less than 12/13 purely for being an atheist and not believing that the only reason women are on this earth is to procreate. These types of views are RAMPANT among students in the school. Stereotypes based on gender, derogatry comments towards homosexuals and bi-sexuals are commonplace among them. Respect for faith (especially muslims) is constantly hammered into you. Respect for lack of faith is non-existant, both in the R.E curriculum and the school in general.
Now I do not say that all of them are like this, far from it. My philosophy teacher is one of the most wonderful christian teachers I have ever met. No faith is forced upon you, he keeps it to himself as do a lot of people. But the fanaticism bred unknowingly in schools such as this (as well as the churches) is extremely worrying.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart Proffessor for opening my eyes, and hope I will have the courage to reveal my atheism to my family tommorow… I’m still nagging my friend to let me borrow the god delution, I’ve only seen your online interviews and that was all it took!!!