I was raised in a Catholic household, went to Catholic school until junior high, was an altar boy, etc. Religion wasn't the center of our family's universe, it seemed more like an afterthought, as a family we only attended mass on the "big" days, you know, like Christmas and Easter. At that point in life, religion just didn't register in my mind. It was simply a routine in life, something I didn't really understand, or really care to understand. In all those days going to Catholic school I don't recall once opening up a Bible and reading it in class. There were religion classes, but no Bible. How odd. Even at that early an age, though, I really didn't believe in any god. But I didn't know why.Anyhow, I was curious when I got into my teens and at that time read the Bible for the first time. Fanciful tales, I began thinking, and really disturbing in some cases (Hosea 13:16 comes to mind). I think Song of Solomon was my first taste of reading any kind of erotica. The Bible has it all! Violence, sex, love, death, plagues, talking animals, you name it. But I could never convince myself that what I was reading was real, or was inspired by some omni-everything deity. I went to some non-Catholic denominations wondering what insight they could give to me on the god angle, but I didn't really learn anything new. I was amazed, though, at the varying interpretations each had. No one was consistent. By my early teens, I had written off Christianity as being the one true religion.I started reading about some of the other world religions too: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, Mithraism, etc. etc., but I was equally unimpressed. I came to a realization that each of these religions claimed to be the truth in some form, so logically they all couldn't be correct. If that's the case, then which religion do you pick? Some had said to throw out religion altogether and simply believe in god, but that just didn't make sense to me either. I just didn't believe. By the age of 16, my default position was that of atheism. No one had pushed me or prodded me, I wasn't mad at anything or anyone, I don't "hate" God, I wasn't looking for an excuse to "be bad", I just found through experience and study that I simply didn't believe in any god or gods, and that religion didn't apply to me. That was 17 years ago, and I'm still an atheist. My knowledge of religion has grown exponentially over the years and my study of it continues, as I have a great respect for it and find it absolutely fascinating, but I still don't buy any of it. Cheers!Michael
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