I have been an atheist since I was old enough to dare to question the bullshit I had been force-fed by the Roman Catholic Church, via my similarly-indoctrinated parents and a couple of RC-run schools.
At the age of seven, our class teacher (Miss Brogan, a middle-aged Irish spinster) told us about a girl who had ‘been to communion’ without first confessing her sins.
Little black devils were seen crawling all over her body.
Of course, any self-respecting seven-year-old nowadays would say she was fucking stupid, but 50-odd years ago, in the midst of post-war deprivation and the recent memory of rationing, children were to be seen and not heard, adults – especially teachers and priests – were authority and the truth, and the local copper was likely to give you a ‘clip round the ear’ if he saw you misbehaving. Paranoia ruled.
So, as a shy, quiet boy (yes, you wouldn’t believe it, would you?), I was filled with fear and unease.
I don’t know when I realised the truth of the situation, but I’m sure it was a major factor in my subsequently questioning the sort of bullshit that gets pushed at you every day, of whatever shade of brown. And every further exposure to religion has served to confirm my lack of belief in a grey-bearded old man in the sky who notes our every thought and action. Or his boy.
Two or three times within living memory, I have referenced the Zeitgeist ‘movie’ on this site, and provided a link. I wish I had been able to watch this film when I was about fourteen: I discovered it around 4 years ago, when a colleague gave me a CD download.
Watching it was a denouement, one of those rare moments when you sit there gaping, seeing it all fall into place, and wondering why nobody had thought of it before. Zeitgeist was originally a video art installation by ‘Peter Joseph’, a pseudonym apparently, although he now seems to have assumed the name, since I saw him doing a TED talk recently. Or was it really him . . ? Anyway, the ideas in Part I are not his, but those of author Dorothy M. Murdock, who writes as ‘Acharya S’, would you believe.
The film is in three parts, the first one (The Greatest Story Ever Told) addressing religions. After a 4-minute introduction guaranteed to put off anybody but a masochistic stoic, the preamble begins with a shockingly-rhythmic tattoo of fast-edited images of weapons of mass destruction shooting fire and death skywards, with their own musical accompaniment; an animated, potted history of evolution is next, followed by horrific images of the innocent victims of war.
But relief is to hand in the form of the late, great George Carlin, giving his take on The Old Man In The Sky.
Then come the ‘juicy bits’. Watch it and be justified. Or horrified.
But if you can’t be arsed, I will tell you the gist of it in a follow-up post. Promise.
Part II deals with ‘The Politics of Fear’, and the third part is about the financial/monetary system. I am not going to discuss these, but you might be interested to watch them.