Recently, I had to write an essay saying which book most affected my life. Though there have been many readings which have impressed upon my philosophy, theology, and general outlook on life, I had to give the standard WASP-ish answer of “The Bible” – though not likely for the reasons you expect. It would be virtually impossible for me to have lived in this area of the United States without this book having affected my life in any way. The fact that I went to a public school district that was likely 90%+ Baptist assured that its words would reach me.
Until the age of fifteen, I was forced to go to a Presbyterian church (St. Phillip Presbyterian to be specific) every Sunday. The conclusions I drew from my 10 or so years of protestant Christian brainwashing/training were many, but the strongest thought in my mind was that I was surrounded by hypocrites who didn’t understand half of what they spoke.
In the high school Sunday school class I attended, it saddened me to realize that not a single person in the room ever expressed a creative, unique or even individual thought. Each pupil simply spouted out the same filth that had been shoved into their heads since the age of 3. The children and adults alike could not be brought to believe that things could be interpreted more than one way. For that matter, I found no one that could admit to the possibility that there was no God or that if there was a god the man Jesus was not necessarily his offspring, but perhaps only a very intelligent and influential man.
The day I finally stopped attending and refused to return was the day the teacher told me I was flat out WRONG for my opinions on how baptisms should be carried out, who should be baptised, when they should be, etc. I could not believe that Christian people, people who claim to be open minded and loving to everyone, could simply flat out dismiss the possibility that I had thought of something that could be correct that disagreed with their beliefs.
(For those that care, they claimed a person should never be baptised twice, and at the time I presented the argument of "What if the person was not truly religious at the time or is a born again Christian etc. Surely it can't HURT to have them be baptised again if for nothing else than a symbolic acceptance of their faith.")
At this point, I had been questioning my theological upbringing for years and these events just clinched the thought that it was all wrong in my mind. Don't get me wrong, I tried other churches and a few other religions and found mostly the same results, I wasn't about to base my thoughts on one bad experience. Unfortunately, I could not escape religious persecution. I do not use the word persecution lightly – I was often accosted in my schools as being an “atheist” and was told on many occasions that I would go to hell. It even went so far as people surrounding me and asking me if I had been saved. I didn’t need saving, I wasn’t running from anything nor was I in any trouble.
I am not a Christian, nor am I atheist or any other religion for that matter. People often choose to classify me as an agnostic, but I do not believe this to be an appropriate title. An agnostic is someone who does not know if there is a god, or is doubtful but will not profess full belief against. I am certainly not an atheist, since for me to say there is no God is the same as to say that I know all that exists, which I obviously cannot.
I choose to classify myself in a new sect, one that to my knowledge has little to no documentation – I am an apathist. That’s right – I don’t care. It really doesn’t bother me one way or another if God exists or if Jesus was his son or if he had eight arms and an elephant’s trunk for a nose. As I see it, I’ll find out when I die, so there’s no use worrying now as long as I lead what most would consider a good life. So, while 90% of Texas may think I’m going to hell, I’ll simply hold my head up high and proclaim “I don’t care.”
Disclaimer: I would like to make a note that I do not disapprove of those that are religious, nor am I attempting to insinuate that all Christians are like those I encountered. I believe that there are people who take their faith seriously and try to live their lives according to it rather than spouting drivel so someone can say “Good, you’re not going to hell” to them. Religion is a good thing, without it we wouldn’t be nearly so technologically advanced. It may be the opiate of the masses, it may not, but I do recognize the good that has been brought to the world by Christianity, Judaism, and most other religions.
I gladly welcome all people who wish to to use this title to express their own feelings. It's hard to be a poser to apathy :)