Growing up and being raised with religious beliefs has profound negative psychological effects on a person. In Christianity, I was taught that the Lord God was the creator of everything, and was the cause of all that did or didn't happen. This was all according to His unknowable plan, which was ultimately to lead to some greater purpose in the cosmos. At the same time, I was taught that we all have the "Gift" of free will, though the existence of this "Free will" would seem to create a paradox given the plan. To help find one's way, we were taught that all was ours through the power of prayer to Jesus Christ. These three elements - the Holy Plan, the gift of Free Will, and Prayer served to create a trinity of confusion which served only to hold me back in life, as I will explain in this blog post.
I was raised with religious belief before I entered into the public education system; by the simple virtue that I was taught by those I trusted to hold my religious teachings in higher esteem than that which I was taught in school, I did so. I was taught that true knowledge and understanding was to come through knowing God through the power of prayer. Therefore, when it came to understanding and learning subjects such as mathematics or science, I would pray for Jesus Christ and the Lord to endow me with the knowledge I needed to succeed. When this did not happen, I automatically assumed that it was not part of God's plan for me to know these things. It therefore became easy for me to fall into a cycle of uncaring complacency as I barely passed from one grade to another.
It was fortunate for me that I had a genuine interest in all things technical; as I reflect, I attribute any success I had in certain courses to a genuine interest in the subject rather than any actual studying, as I had spent much of my study time in a state of prayer. I looked for signs in shadows as I sought answers to my prayers, and honestly believed I saw them, with disastrous results. In the end, I relegated myself to a simple humble life of whatever minimum wage job came my way. I even took up smoking because at one point I believed I received a sign from prayer that led me to believe that taking up smoking would lead me to a greater understanding. Such is how religion poisons the mind.
It was my path to atheism which led me towards my true potential. I had spent many hours in deep meditation, which led me to at first to agnosticism. I was able to see my future self in my mind's eye and recognized the truth that allowing myself to drift through life according to some unseen and unknowable plan was not going to end well. I recognized the truth of the future effects of things that I would cause today. I realized that I could make my own plan to yield whatever result I desired, and that doing this was much more effective than prayer.
Had I not been indoctrinated with religious nonsense, had I instead been taught to find my strengths and how to make my own plan, I would have been able to achieve the success I have been able to achieve as an atheist much earlier in life. Hindsight is 20/20, but I recognize when I was on the right path, and when what I believed at the time were answers to prayers led me astray. It is for this reason that I regard religion, and Christianity in particular, to be harmful to young minds. This is one of the main reasons why I created this blog, and why I believe it necessary to share my reasons for not believing.
Thanks to my agnosticism, which grew into atheism, I have managed to succeed in building the life I want, and have achieved the success in life I dreamed of as a child. There is no Holy Plan, there's no God or Lord Jesus Christ listening to our prayers, and the so-called "Gift" of free will is a gift, but it was given to us by those men and women before us who were brave enough to stand up against religion to create a secular society in which we are all free to plan our own destinies. This is a fight we must all continue in if we are truly to keep ourselves free from the tyranny of religion.