I had something of an epiphany last week. There’s some background I need to go over here just to make the point.
I am an atheist, have been since I was about 8 years old. Twelve years of Catholic schools didn’t put the religion in me. As a matter of fact, it made me more of an atheist, but one with a background in Catholic Christian theology and dogma.
But my father, he’s another story. I’ve mentioned his religiosity before, what with his pastor spouting racist dogma
But I dug a little deeper. All his life my father was told what to do. He was in the Navy, and now has the church to do his thinking for him.
All my life I made my own decisions, even my father couldn’t tell me what to do. I wasn’t an openly rebellious teen but I did things that would have totally freaked my father out had he known back then. There was the time around the time I was 16 where he decided I’d take part of my summer vacation to paint the house.
Grudgingly I did it until the day my father didn’t like the way I was painting. He said, and I quote “I could get a fucking four year old to paint better than that.” at which point I got off the ladder, handed my father the brush and said “Well go find a fucking four year old.”
We laugh about it now, but that was the moment my father knew that he couldn’t boss his son around and I could think for myself.
Believe it or not I credit two people in my life for planting the seeds that would guide my life. The first is my maternal great grandfather, Amos. Amos died when I was 11 but in those short years he taught me how electricity worked and how to control it and use it. Taught me how to use a soldering iron too.
The other was my paternal grandfather Anthony. Grandpa made sure I had reading material, subscribing me to science journals, and things of that nature. But Grandpa was a devout Catholic, we used to jokingly refer to him as St. Anthony.
And of course I get my sense of social justice from my mother. I hear from my aunt that my mother was quite the social crusader herself and I remember my mom being very open to new experiences and people.
But there’s the difference, my father doesn’t seem like a guy who likes to think for himself. He’d rather be lead by the nose. I on the other hand am very analytical, I look beyond. This is particularly evident in my view of politics, where I apply the forensic view of follow the money also known as who benefits the most. Take deregulation of the energy sector, who benefited most from that, of course it was the speculators.
My father on the other hand, won’t go even that deep. But his pastor can tell him that gay marriage is wrong and my father being the stooge that he is will sign the petition. And when I found out he’d signed I called him on it. He gave a lame excuse and I told him the only reason he’d signed the petition was because his pastor told him to do so.
I’d like to meet my fathers pastor. I bet he and I would lock horns almost immediately. The biggest thing is I think “why?” is a very important question to ask. Why does god not show itself to us? Why is the allegedly inerrant word of a deity to be taken as such?