Protip: The A stands for "Asshole"
On to my origins. My own personal experiences with religion are neither heartbreaking, nor heartwarming, nor all that exciting. When I was young my parents brought me to church for a few boring hours, I would drink my Juice brand Juice Box, and scamper between the pews to get to the bathroom in time. Not all that special. When I got home, I would tear off my stuffy clothes and dive right into Sonic the Hedgehog accompanied by delicious chicken teriyaki. I remember one day, we just stopped going to church (the same time as my parents divorce) and I was pleased as the dickens to have Sunday mornings empty and free for my own dalliances. Riding bikes around the block, surfing at the beach, playing Mechwarrior 2 until Kerensky came home. Those were good times. Although I still held a belief in God, I was not at all active in his pursuit. I knew the ten commandments in the same way I know all 150 Pokemon, less as dogma and more as trivia. As I grew older, the basic idea of a God seemed natural. It was there since I was born, and I assumed it always has been. Although me and my family were officially Presbyterian, nobody really went to church and I only read the bible between BattleTech and whatever bullshit E-Z Reader crap my parents were trying to force me into. No, I don't give a shit about Spot, nor do I give a shit about Timmy winning the fucking baseball game. I would much rather be reading over the trials of Frodo and the Fellowship as they journeyed to destroy the one ring. The precocious reader that I was, my family eventually capitulated to the fact that I really don't need to be stifled by the basics. While most kids were watching Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney the Homosexual Dinosaur, I was engaged by Jedi, the starship Enterprise, and Babylon 5.
Even so, my belief in a God never waned, in fact it was strengthened by Tolkien's none so subtle allegory. Then my mother decided it was time to go back to church. Now I could actually digest the sermon, and was struck with a nausea familiar to practitioners of seppuku. None of what this guy was saying felt right. And I don't mean to imply that through my unequivocal powers of deductive reasoning that I, as an 8 year old, managed to sort through this god bullshit. Rather, I was just unnerved by what he was saying. I need Jesus to feel loved? I need a personal connection with God to save my self from the evil's of this world? What the hell is up with all this eternal damnation stuff? Wait, everyone I know will be forever forsaken by God simply because they do not believe in this crock of shit you're spouting? I call bullshit. Being subjected to the preacher corrupted my rather benign view of God. God had changed from a good natured omnipotence with voyeuristic tendencies to a vindictive prick. But I still believed. I guess I just had it wrong. This guy knows all about this God stuff, it's like his job or something.
I stopped going to church when I learned to say "no". I naively misunderstood the implications of such an all-knowing asshole, thinking of him as just a big-ole-doody head. Then I became a teenager.
It all seemed to click for me in 2002. Some political speech was on Fox, with some guy yammering on about how God is on our side so on and so forth. But something caught my ear. He was saying that God wanted us to kill terrorists. I'm no theologian, but I distinctly remember there being something about not killing in the bible. I think it was on a big fucking stone tablet given to Moses by a burning bush. And I don't think it said, "don't kill unless..." I think it said don't kill. I think it said: Thou shalt not kill. Actually, it said: You shall not murder. But whatever, the concept seems simple, don't fucking kill. Easy enough. Yet this man makes a statement that hey, we should fucking kill.
I am noticing a contradiction.
Epiphany. Humans are fallible. God does not own a typewriter. Therefore, the Bible was written by Humans interpreting the messages of self-proclaimed prophets, who were also Human. So what we have here is not some divine doctrine from OUTER SPAAAAACE!!!! It is the voice of men that thought they could make the world better by saying hey, don't be a douche. Others said: Why? They said: ...isn't it obvious? Others said: No. They said: Ummm...an invisible man will kick the shit out of you if you don't.
And the world was saved.
Or was it?
BUM BUM BAH!
Tune in next time for another edition of: Wow what the hell is wrong with fundamentalists?
Next Episode: Religion as Rebellion, The Recruitment of the Young