About 4 months ago, I was looking for a movie to watch on Netflix…nothing in particular. I came across The Unbelievers and watched it. I’m 41 years old and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing/hearing.
I was brought up Catholic…including K-8 in a Catholic school, and an altar boy for many years (thank goodness I was not abused by the priests). I do remember asking some deep questions to my parents and to one or two of the nuns at my grade school…and although I don’t recall many specific answers they gave me, I do remember not being satisfied with them. During my high school years, all I really remember about religion was doing whatever I could to avoid going to mass on Sundays…including sometimes going on my own, grabbing that Sunday’s pamphlet (as proof that I went!), and ditching out on the hour-long boredom. I never really gave religion or my faith much thought…for about the next 10 years. I never went to mass except for maybe some Christmas or Easter “celebrations.” Then I was married in a Catholic church at the age of 30. But even then, to me it was simply a ritual that everybody did at some point. Plus, the church we joined is still widely considered the most liberal/progressive Catholic church in state…which made it much easier for me to accept (not necessarily question), and even to attend Sunday masses about twice per month.
Then another 10 years or so went by without me questioning really any of it…although in the last year or so I began to feel less and less connected to the church at all. I think this was mainly due to the fact that my marriage was “on the rocks.” Which brings me to The Unbelievers.
After seeing that documentary, I became immediately hooked on the subject/notion of there being no god and that religion was doing more harm than good. That night I ordered The God Delusion and Something from Nothing and read them both in about a week’s time. From there I went to Youtube and started to watch hours and hours of debates and other videos…from Sam Harris to Neil DeGrass Tyson to Christopher Hitchens to Daniel Dennett to Julia Sweeney to Penn Jillette. I’d say it only took me a couple weeks to fully realize that I had been bamboozled in my youth and beyond. Anger was my first reaction…which soon turned to relief! The way I see it, I still have about half my life to live knowing and accepting the truth about superstition and the dangers of blind faith. And maybe what’s most interesting in all this is that just about every day now, I think of something in my past that was once benign, but now I realize it was always leading me to the truth…from the music I’ve always enjoyed, to types of movies I like, to the news I was seeing and reacting to, to the way I’ve been voting (thankfully) for the past 22 years!
I’ve discovered so much more after finally putting my mind to use…and I thank goodness everyday for Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss for opening my eyes! I’m now onto important topics such as corruption in congress, the truth about the income gap in America, the role the US plays in war, etc., and even eating more healthy for myself and the environment. I’ve announced my beliefs in reason, science and evidence to my mom, my in-laws, two siblings, and a few close friends. It hasn’t been the easiest road, but I know it will only get easier and that the truth now has one more person on its side…and the Catholic church has one less.