AAAAAAH! It's being rational and remains unconvinced of the existence of distant, judgmental powers and the dogmatic principles of their faithful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Okay, So I'm Doin' This.

Hi.  I'm Doc Rotwang!.  You might remember me from such industrial education films as They Call Him Dr Rotwang!, Dr Rotwang! Is His Name and Stay Out Of the Cardboard Smasher. Or perhaps you have read my other blog, I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow (which is actually about table-top role-playing games, my 1980's pop culture fixation, New Wave music and whatever absurdity I'm in the mood for -- but I digress).  Or maybe you don't know me from a jumbo jar of pickles at Wal-Mart.  That's OK, too.  It'll keep things interesting!

AaaaAAAAaaaAAAAny-old-way, I'm the dirty damn filthy damn atheist of this blog's title.  My other blog wasn't really the place for some of the stuff I want to say, so I started this one on the side.

So!  Let's get to know me, shall we?  We can do that via my favorite method of self-introduction -- THE FAKE QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION!

Q: What's that thing on your head?
A:''s my hair.

Q: It needs to be cut soon.
A: I know.  Questions?

Q: Why don't you go get a hairc--
A: -- I meant about this blog, and atheism, and, you know, like that.

Q: So, how long have you been an atheist?
A: I have only really been identifying myself as an atheist for the last...I dunno, 18 months or so.  But I've been what you call an atheist since I was abooooooouut...I dunno, about 5 or 6 years old.  30 years?  Thereabouts.

Q: WAAAIT, WAITwaitwaitwaitwait.  How does a kindergartener become an atheist?!
A: I didn't become an atheist.  I think it's more accurate to say that it was at that age that I started to form solid doubts about the existence of an unseen powerful being up in the sky and so forth.

I remember two specific incidents that led up to that development.  One was in the backyard of an aunt's house.  My aunt is fairly religious, and would take me to church, Sunday School, like that.  Anyway, I was playing in the back yard, right, climbing on a big mound of dirt -- my aunt and uncle were building a new house.  Climbing the "mountain" of dirt made me think of the story of Abraham being told by God that he had to take his son up the mountain and kill him -- kill him for God.  

 Oh, sure, God let Abe and the kid off the hook, but I remember thinking:  "That story's about doing whatever God tells you to do.  So God told Abraham to kill a little boy?  And Abraham was going to do it?!  That's...mean!  Mean and stupid!  What if God told me to kill someone?  Would I be bad if I didn't do it?"  All of a sudden, God and Jesus were starting to look a little sketchy.

The other one is funnier, but in a sense it's a perfect compliment to the above -- and totally the kind of thing that would influence a little boy's thinking.  It was a conversation that went like this:

"Granny?  Does God make cars?"


"So who makes cars?  People?"

Really?  Not even -- really?!

...So much for God's might, man.

Q: So that was that?  You refused to believe in God at that point?
A: Well, that was kind of the scaffolding upon which my disbelief was built.  Later on, between the ages of 7 and 13, I lived in Mexico.  In Mexican culture, there's a set hierarchy: GOD, MOM, SOCCER.  I didn't like soccer (or any sports), my Mom was back here in the States (I'd been kidnapped -- and, no, I am not joking) and God was already a dubious concept.  I went through the motions, trying to believe in the magic -- more from immersion and inescapability than anything else.

From 1983 to '84, I lived right across the street from a Catholic church.  On Sunday mornings I'd be sent there for mass, possibly to get me out of the house.  I'd go over and I'd listen and shrug; most of it was boring, and I really resented being forced to go stand and get bored for however long those things take.  Then I was told that I'd undergo Catechism, because that's what proper boys aged 9-12 or so do in Mexico.  Also, because I was believed to have demonic eyes.  (Again, NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

It's been almost 30 years, but I think this was it.

So I started going across the street with my little book, and talking to the priest -- a Spaniard, as I recall.  There I was, aged...what, 8?  9?  asking the dude questions.  I don't even remember what...but I remember his reaction:

"Look, you need to stop asking questions and just learn your Catechism."



Q: ...And then...?
A: And then, I basically forgot about the whole thing.  The trappings of Catholicism were all over the place, and I kind of paid lip service to them in a superstitious way.  I think I was more interested in the crazy intersection of religion, fear and folklore that permeates rural Mexico, and that's what kept me interested.  Interested -- but never convinced.

Q: It's getting late.  Can we pick this up later?
A: What, you getting tired already?

Q: Man, it's like 11 PM!
A: Oh.  Oh, yeah.  Huh!

Q: Anything you want to leave off with?


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