Growing up, I didn’t have anyplace to express my doubts in religion. I’ve mentioned before that while I grew up in a liberal Catholic household, I began to have my doubts shortly after Confirmation — yes, the very point in time where I’m asked if I want to be a Catholic forever-and-ever. It was about then that I realized what I was being asked, and even though I went through the motions so I could get home to play the Megaman game I’d rented (3 I believe?), it nagged at me for the rest of the weekend.
I ended up suppressing my thoughts on the matter. I knew if everyone — including my parents — were wrong about God, there was no way I could tell them so without getting a crapload of disapprobation; and if I was wrong, better to not make the error in judgment of saying something about all this ahead of time. If there had been a Secular Student Alliance in my high school in northern New Brunswick, I might have had an easier time wrestling with my feelings than I did. As it stood, it took until I realized some people in university also had their doubts that I was able to express my opinions just that little bit more freely in meatspace.
The internet happened in the meantime though, and provided me with somewhat of a release valve. I fought with creationists on Usenet under a few anonymous handles through high school, and on some forums, during the pre-blog days. My skills were undoubtedly lacking back then. I often can’t tell if I’ve improved much since, though. At least what I put on the internet now, I’m willing to stand behind. Most of the time.
While the internet is a good release valve, I can’t help but think how much better things might have been for my own sense of a support structure while growing up if a Secular Student Alliance group existed in my school at the time. I realize it’s a backwater part of the Maritimes, but in a school of 2000, surely there must have been a significant proportion of non-theists. They might even have been the same crew I ended up being friendliest with anyway — the outcasts and nerds and social pariahs. Banding together officially with these folks, to talk about one of the central questions of this universe, would have been great. And having support for those times people God-bothered others would have been doubly great.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten the “touching personal story” out of the way, here’s an animated gif of a turtle running on the beach! D’aw!
The SSA provides a valuable service. A service that animated gifs of turtles just can’t provide. A service I don’t want to see evaporate anytime soon. Please, give what you can.
This is post 2 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 585 with $82,919 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!