Before reading, please check this post here as it turns out she didn’t throw my book away at all, however for about over a year I thought that she had. I have left this post up as a snapshot into what kinds of things you go through when you keep your atheism a secret and because it might help others who relate to this. Of course none of the things I go on to say about my family apply, however my message of tolerance still stands. If you have just finished reading the blog post above, then I hope you enjoy this story.
This is a story that started in February 2020. On my blog I reviewed “Outgrowing God” and found it quite interesting to write about. So, when I was given a free amazon voucher for £10, I looked at what might be a good book to review. I had been watching Dan Barker at around this time and found his book “God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction” quite interesting as I really didn’t know that much about the bad things in the old testament, and I thought it might make a good exchange kind of gift.
When I started reading it, I was quite disappointed because it was essentially a list of bible verses with nothing else talked about. I read a good amount but got bored and sort of gave up on it.
Because of work, I would go to my parents house once a week to stay as they lived very close to where I worked. As I was starting to move house I began to bring old things back with me that I didn’t want anymore. On one of these trips this book was one of the things that I brought and left behind at my parents house.
I was nervous about leaving the book in my room, as I didn’t know what would happen if they found it. So I hid it, although not particularly well, in a box that looked important enough not to open.
It stayed there for many months, until one day when my mum told me that she had cleaned the room and done some vacuuming. I was instantly worried, and when I went to check the place where the book was, it wasn’t there. I looked all over, in every possible place but still couldn’t find it.
The book had been taken, and I still have no idea where, although I suspect it went either in the bin or the shredder, without a single word mentioned to me.
They basically just pretended like it never existed, and I couldn’t ask them about it because they would ask me why I wanted it.
Nothing seriously bad happened to me because of this, but I did notice God being injected really strangely into conversations and being questioned about it in really obnoxious ways that they never would have said previously. Things like “Doesn’t it amaze you at how God made everything so perfectly?” and “How is your relationship with God recently?”
I’ve always found it strange, because these questions never seem to be asked in a normal way. I can tell something is different, like they’re worried as they ask it or trying to make me respond with just one specific answer.
I never lied really, but obviously didn’t say everything. I’ve explained to them about how the fact that 99% of the universe is uninhabitable does not make me convinced that it was intelligently designed, and also how evolution is really what to thank for the great variety and amazing life that we see.
It’s died down now, and doesn’t really happen anymore (partially because of not needing to go back there for work) but I am left with the thought of how pointless and immoral it all was.
I feel like one look through my parents house would explain this to you.
My Dad works for a Christian book production company, so as a consequence, he gets lots of books given to him. This means that our bookshelves at home are piled with very little besides Christian books. Some of these books were given to me and read to me as a child and teenager, whereas most were just left there and never touched by anyone.
It feels so wrong to literally keep thousands of books that agree with you, and throw out the first one you find that disagrees with you. This mindset which is intolerant of other beliefs is problematic. Also, that was my book! Will I ever get the money for the book given back to me? No. Although my parents are generous, any money given to me wouldn’t be as payback for anything, just a gift.
What disappoints me as well was that there are good reasons for a Christian to read an atheist book: challenging your beliefs, finding out what atheists are saying so you can try and convert them, doing a book exchange where you agree to read one book recommended by another person and seeing what other people are saying outside the religion. None of these thoughts were considered or asked to me before the book was thrown out.
My parents told me that that I was given a free choice to work it out and find out what I believed on my own without their influence, however this just tells me that it was a complete joke. You cannot say that and throw out books that belong to me because they disagree with you.
If you want someone to be free to choose what they believe, you don’t drag them kicking and screaming into church until they suddenly start wanting to go, or send them to a religious primary school.
In my opinion, free choice and exploration is really the best way. If you need to use manipulative techniques like throwing books away and forcing them to only see your perspective to convince someone, what does it say about your beliefs?
Truth will be found in the honest search for it, so if you’re beliefs are true, you shouldn’t worry… and just give me my book back. We must be open to other ideas to make sure that we have the best understanding of the truth.
What would you do if you found your son/daughter with a book that disagreed with you beliefs?