Okay, let me get this out of the way first, I’m an atheist, so obviously my views on the whole “organized religion” thing are going to be biased…
That said, I’ve noticed a fascinating occurrence in my family, and I’m simply wondering how commonplace it is
I’ve always had non-believer tendencies, even as a young child, my parents would take me to church every Sunday, and I hated it, the uncomfortable clothing, the infuriating sitting still part, the boring and logically flawed stories, I found it tedious, boring, and thoroughly pointless, I didn’t need some “religious authority” figure to tell me what and how to think, I know it’s important to be nice to people, and that didn’t require one man to get nailed to a tree to get the point (heh, no pun intended) across.
I think when I was around 7 or so is when I first started doubting the whole “god” thing, that’s when I really started to get into science in high school, loved the analytical part of it, the mindset of constant testing and picking apart things to figure out how they worked, the first cracks in the whole organized religion (hereinafter abbreviated as “O.R.)” thing came when I figured out that Santa and the Easter Bunny were not only not real, but were LIES designed to control impressionable little minds, it didn’t take a huge leap of “faith” to see the same patterns emerging from O.R.
It was also about that time when I read a book series that would change the way I looked at Life, the Universe, and Everything… (yes, you can see where I’m going here, right? )
I picked up a copy of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, and devoured every page, I loved it, it was the first book I read multiple times, and still do, every time I read it, i find something different, I’ve read the 5 book Trilogy so many times I’ve lost count, and I still re-read it regularly even today, DNA had a way of describing the World and our relation to it in a simple, amusing, and logical way, not bad for a light comedy novel, I know the whole “Forty-Two” thing was purely a joke, but I can’t be the only one to find some deeper meaning in it, can I, if I had to choose one book that changed my life, that opened my eyes, that changed the way I looked at the world and interacted with it, my “Bible” as it were, it’d be HHGTTG
The fact that it had such a subversive, Athiest tone throughout was something I found refreshing, I wasn’t alone in finding “O.R.” wanting, that it was nothing but an empty shell, a facade, a falsehood, I for one, thank DNA for opening my eyes to a larger, more logical, and funnier world
Bouyed in part by HHGTTG, I started actively resisting the whole church thing, it was a pointless waste of time, eventually, once I was in my teens, my parents stopped bringing me to church, and simply went themselves
My Father became a church deacon, and Mom went with him to church every sunday, while I slept in, ahh, the sheer bliss of sleeping late, no uncomfortable clothing, no thinly disguised mind-control stories, I had ESCAPED!
Fast forward a few years, and an interesting pattern began to emerge, Mom and Dad started missing church more often than not, I think it coincided with my Grandmother’s (on my Mother’s side) stroke that left her paralyzed on her right hand side, followed very closely with my other Grandmother’s (on my Father’s side) suffering from Alzheimer’s
My parents simply stopped going to church, and even though we never really discussed it, I could feel that they had simply stopped believing, I have no idea if my Grandmothers diseases had anything to do with it, after all, how could a Just and Loving God afflict two wonderful, loving women with such horrible diseases, women who did nothing to offend “god”, and in fact, were very religious themselves and still Believed until their dying days…
My guess is that once Mom and Dad stopped going to church, the lack of weekly “reinforcements” caused the mind-control belief systems associated with their Protestant upbringing simply fade away
I sort of mentioned in passing a few months ago how I saw no scientific evidence of the existence of “god” to Mom, and she didn’t object or debate me on the matter, she just sort of reiterated some half hearted comments based on the years of religious indoctrination, but it sounded to me like she didn’t believe what she was saying anyway
I don’t believe my parents have become Atheists per se, but it’s clear they both lean more towards the Agnostic side now than the Protestant religious belief side
I’m simply curious here, if religious belief is not regularly reinforced by associating with other Believers and Authority Figures, does it simply fade away? it has in the case of my parents, and it has long ago been excised from my mindset
Has this happened to anyone else?