Chapter 1, In The Beginning
For about the first 7 or 8 years of my life, if asked what religion I was, all I responded was with “Christian.” My parents did not bring us to church or were very specific about any kind of firm religious belief. As a side note to anyone wanting to indoctrinate their child into a belief system, really try to do it before 7 years old. Any time after that, especially if they were exposed to a lot of science before the, will result in a life long disbeliever. I don’t fault my parents, not at all in fact, since this allowed me to come up with my own answers.
I think around when I was in the fourth grade, my parents started taking us to a local Lutheran church. I did enjoy the community and the rituals involved. I attended passover, and was even an acolyte. When listening to a sermon, it is pretty easy to believe. However, it was Sunday school that was the problem.
Here I was, a little 9 year old, brought up on watching Nova and Cosmos on PBS, taught about dinosaurs and the very basics of how life evolved on this planet and how old the universe was (as estimated in 1983) faced with the Bible for the very first time. It was a strange book. I innocently asked why it was not in alphabetical order, like a dictionary or encyclopedia. Looking back now, reading it in alphabetical order will make it about the same sense, with the disjointed narrative.
The book of the Bible they were studying during the first class was Genesis. Oh boy. Even my 9 year old mind knew everything in there made no sense at all. Everything from the Earth being center of the universe, the waters from the waters, the stars in the sky put there to denote the seasons. Things I knew were wrong. The came Noah’s Ark. I asked the instructor a simple question: “Where are the Dinosaurs?” I did not get an answer, other than some vague explanation that this was a just a parable or something of that nature. This planted the seed. I will expand upon this in another chapter.
Another shift in my thinking was around the same time when I discovered Santa Claus did not exist. We discovered this by accidentally seeing the wrapped “Santa” presents in my parent’s bedroom closet. In my mind, there was little difference between the two. Both knew if you were naughty or nice, both were magical, both lived forever. In fact, there seems to be a lot more evidence that Santa exists than God. At least I know were Santa is supposed to live, and how all the toys are made. The only real difference is that if you believe in Santa as a grownup, you are considered a little crazy. If you believe in God, you are considered normal, even though they are just as real.
I really did believe in parts of the bible. I believed God was a real thing. Moses was real. Jesus was really the son of God. I continued to believe until I was in high school. My family continued going to Lutheran church. I sang the songs, lit the candles, and read some passages of the bible. My belief was never very deep, but it was real. Then high school hit.