An event that has become one of the greatest influences on my life was the birth of Jesus Christ. Born into a Catholic family, I was forced to go to church, where I was trained in the arts of religious zealotry. After learning my catechism and studying the Bible for extended periods of time, I began to wonder about this so-called Jesus. Was he really the son of God? Did he really walk on water? If so, how did he take baths?.
When I got old enough, the priests requested that I make my confirmation. This is a momentous event when a young and impressionable Catholic repeats a memorized creed where they confirm their beliefs in the basic Catholic principles. This seemed to me very similar to the defecation of one's own individuality. I decided not to restrict my beliefs to something that was based on a book written by humans, so I refuted their offer. I quit church cold turkey. Even if the Bible was valid, some people took the thing way too seriously. Some "good Christians"" simply ignore the parts they didn't like. It's not that I didn't believe in God, but I didn't want the beliefs of others to be forced on me like that. Organized religion is a plague to human society. I would prefer everyone have a personal relationship with God. I had other questions too. If Christians claimed that non-believers were damned to eternal torture in hell and some other religions claimed the same thing, how is anyone safe? All major religions believe in some sort of superior being in one form or another, so maybe they had the right idea originally. Growing up in a small town in Arkansas, I wasn't exposed to a variety of religions; just different forms of Christianity. The "Bible Belt"", a theoretical region in the southern United States, is home to vast amounts of pretentious, sanctimonious Jesus fanatics. High School has been especially tragic. We have three Christian clubs at our school, but no chess club and no math club.