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Coming Out Stories Share the story of your path to Atheism.

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Old 16th October 2015, 09:39 AM
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Default Thanks Dad!

Hi all,

my story of atheistic enlightenment is quite simple. I was born in Glasgow , Scotland in 1954 and christened by a Church of Scotland minister at the church my Grandparents lived in. Well they didn't actually live in the church as such but an adjoining abode. They were Church Officers which is a sort of general dogs body who performs cleaning, maintenance and organisational charity functions. That's Mum's side. Dad was not keen on organised religion but was not an athiest, he believed in some sort of entity but had no clue what form it took and thought it may be some form we simply did not understand (a concept I find interesting but it's still too grey for me).

Mum talked Dad into making me attend Sunday school (we didn't do church on sundays, dad just wouldn't go for that) when I was about 5 years old and I attended approximately half a dozen sessions. I actually liked the walk down to the church with dad as we used to kid around and get some of that quality time stuff, but I loathed the sunday school itself.

My last attendance was memorable. The Sunday story that day was all about tolerance and forgiveness and included a theme about the harm that vicious gossip could cause. When I was waiting for Dad outside the church I overheard a group of women arguing so I snuck up and listened around the corner of the church building to what was being said. Well it was like a free for all. As a group they were berating a person unknown to me and using such terms as slut, floosie, whore and they were obviously referring to some women who in their opinion had loose morals. Since the theme had been about gossip, and this was clearly what this was (these were women who helped the minister and actually delivered some of the stories to the children personally) and factoring in that I was a precocious 5 year old I thought all of this extremely odd and a bit disturbing.

I told Dad when he arrived and he himself went to the corner and heard them as they were still at it. I also told him about the anti-gossip message and that two of these women were involved in communicating these ideas and stories to the kids. I did not hear what dad said to those women, he told me stay put and proceeded to deliver some sort of message to them. When he came back he said 'Ye dinnae have ti go ti this shithoose any more son, if ye dinnae wanna'.

That's it. I truly never believed at any stage of life I can remember and was sceptical even as a child. Something just did not add up here, and it never ever did. Some nice stuff in the bible, but I wish christians wouldn't hijack those principles and assert they are exclusively their own. That sucks!
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Old 16th October 2015, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Thanks Dad!

Well done to your Dad.
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Old 16th October 2015, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Thanks Dad!

Yep, good on your Dad. Good story overall.

Your the same vintage as I am and I am also a lifelong atheist who only recently found the AFA. In my case both my parents had a rather grey area of belief. They thought there might be something out there but weren't sure what. It was my Dad's Mum (Granny) who pressured to have us christened into the Church of England and then pressured to have us sent to Sunday School. I was a bit older than you when first sent to Sunday School (7 or 8 yrs old). I didn't mind Sunday School - lots of singing and crafts - but it didn't take too long before I told my Mum I wasn't going any more as I didn't believe any of the religious rubbish. Thankfully, Mum was more than happy to keep me home and when the priest came knocking on our door she told him that it was my decision and that was the end of it. It was a bit more difficult getting out of RE at school, though. There, I was a disruptive, cheeky brat eventually being thrown out of the RE class for blasphemy.
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Old 16th October 2015, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Thanks Dad!

Welcome to the forum TF - thanks for the intro, hope you like it here.
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Old 16th October 2015, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: Thanks Dad!

That is the most awesome story!

My kids have done Sunday school (my wife is Christian) and really enjoyed it, so I guess it is very different these days. The best thing I can do for my kids is to encourage them to think critically and to come to their own conclusions.
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Old 16th October 2015, 11:21 AM
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Anne said View Post
There, I was a disruptive, cheeky brat eventually being thrown out of the RE class for blasphemy.
I think we may have more in common than just our vintage!

I used to wag RI (Religious Instruction, the label even sucks) and did most of my schooling here in OZ. Yes, when I was forced to attend my reaction was very similar to yours. However, far worse (and what I got into trouble for) was my refusal to sing 'God Bless the Queen' at Monday morning assemblies. Not only was this an afront to my atheism but pledging allegience to an English monarch when I was from a long line of 'Scottish Home Rule' fanatics, well it was just more than I could take.

BTW: I have no problem with the English per se. I just don't want them running Scotland and none of my family ever have. Doesn't matter that much though as I'm an Australian really. I was 8 years old when we arrived in 1963. I have never left this country till this day, maybe never will.
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Old 16th October 2015, 12:06 PM
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Your dad is the reason why we all like a true Scotsman.

/end smartarse.

Great story, welcome to the forum!
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Old 16th October 2015, 03:57 PM
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The Falcon said View Post
However, far worse (and what I got into trouble for) was my refusal to sing 'God Bless the Queen' at Monday morning assemblies.
I'd almost forgotten about having to either sing 'God Save the Queen' or at least stand to attention while it was played (I think we sang it at primary school and for special occasions at high school). Now, I wish I could remember the words we sang (myself and a couple of friends) because I recall that they were a bit naughty. I wasn't about to show devotion to the leader of another country and especially the head of the Anglican Church and while I may not be Scottish my Dad's Mum and Dad were both of Scottish ancestry (their parents came out before Grandfather and Granny were born) and my Mum's Mum was Welsh and her Dad had English and Scottish ancestry. I was brought up well aware of the angst that both the Scottish and Welsh had with England. When it was played in the movie theatre, I remained seated while everyone else stood up, many with hand on heart.
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Old 16th October 2015, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Thanks Dad!

I went to a Catholic school from 1970 until 1974 where the nuns were unashamed royalists. One of the nuns, Sister Ignatius, made the cover of the newspaper when she was one of the first people at the airport when the queen visited Australia (in 1973, I think, to open the Opera House) with a photo of her talking to QE2 along with the headline "The Queen and the Nun". She came around to every class in the school carrying a copy of the newspaper and gushing about the experience, relating every word of the conversation.

Each morning a framed photograph of QE2 was carefully placed on a chair, on the stage at the front of the hall where our assemblies were held, and we would all sign "God Save The Queen".

In 1975 I moved to a Christian Brothers school and I don't recall ever singing "God Save The Queen" there.
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Old 16th October 2015, 05:33 PM
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Anne said View Post
When it was played in the movie theatre, I remained seated while everyone else stood up, many with hand on heart.

Gosh, I'd forgotten about the pictures, but you are right Anne. Thanks for reminding me..........ur.......I think? I became very creative with a texta and a portrait of 'Auld Lizzie' which hung in the school library. Got six of the best with the strap for that little prank. Dad was not sympathetic, but did say that at least I'd picked a decent target.
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...and in the end, the love we take,
is equal to the love, we make.
[The Beatles - The End]
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