My first tip-off on this whole religion scam

My parents tried to bring me up in a Presbyterian (protestant Christian) tradition. I always sensed they were never really into it that much: they certainly didn’t go to church every Sunday or ever quote passages from the Bible or anything. But they did send me to Sunday school every week. Perhaps the subtle hypocrisy in that formed an early rejectionist sentiment in me — who knows? — but there is one event I can remember where the whole idea of religion came crashing down for me.

I was attending some evening church class, probably on a Sunday after church service earlier in the day. I can’t recall how old I was exactly, but eight or nine, I guess. The instructors were two twenty-something-year-old seminary students, slightly too hippie happy-clappy for our congregation, so we naturally warmed to them a bit. The lesson was the Christmas story, so everyone pretty much knew the material.

One of the instructors referred to Jesus at one point as, “the Son of God”, and I jumped in with something like, “aha, so Joseph, Mary’s husband who goes with her to Bethlehem, must be God.” (Nevermind for now, please, that I didn’t suspect God could have been Mary herself — I was brought up in a patriarchal society.)

The instructors tried to correct me, explaining Immaculate Conception and virgin birth, and — I remember this really very clearly — I just thought, these people are dumber than I am, because I know it takes a daddy and a mommy to make a baby. So, there was a bit of discussion after that, but I didn’t give it much fight, because I had already decided I wasn’t going to listen to people who were dumber than I was. Even if — maybe especially if — they were adults and I was eight.

I guess pretty much every serious encounter I had with religious individuals from that point onward was grounded in that initial awakening. I just cannot take anyone seriously who professes something that simply flies in the face of all common sense and daily-reinforced evidence.


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