Can you imagine being imprisoned, brainwashed, beaten and threatened with the devil’s a pitchfork? I’m not talking about a poor criminal being tortured in some third world country – I’m talking about an eleven year old boy – me.

I hated getting up early on Sunday morning to attend church services. Half asleep and bound in tight ill fitting clothes I sat there as some old man tried to bore me to death. Stand up, sit down and kneel before the image of a dead man hung on a cross. It all had an effect on my young mind; religion scared the crap out of me and the Indian residential school system made me feel uncertain of myself and fearful to the point of cowardice.

Even though I’d walked away from the church I still had a healthy respect for the man upstairs. I was positive that he controlled everything on this planet and I was instilled with a fear that he’d strike me down if I were to utter GD or OMFG.

As the years passed I began to question the existence of god, hell and female nymphomaniacs.


Scientific proof began to take over my thought processes and it wasn’t long before I seen the light (which travels at 250,792,458 meters per second).

When I was a little boy some holy-roller told me that the almighty knew all and seen all. I’m glad he was just blowing balloon juice – I’d hate to think there was some mystical pervert watching over me as I slept.

Another thing that bothered me about the existence of god(s) was how each side, in every war, always proclaimed that god was on their side. How could a supposedly merciful and loving god let fools kill each other in his (or her) name, and which side is he really on?

Speaking of humor; I think that Ha Ha will be the true savior of mankind. If we humans can share a good laugh we have a much better chance of defeating hatred and intolerance.

How can thy fight with thou neighbor if thou are joking around?

It doesn’t matter to me what color your skin is, if you’re a homosexual or even if you believe in god. In fact I have a cousin who is brown, gay and attends church regularly – and that man is one of the nicest people I know – may his god love him!

All I can say is live and learn. And the most important lesson I’ve ever learned right from wrong. So as I ride off into my golden years I have no problem with people knowing that I’m a scientific atheist. It just feels right to me, and if you feel that I’m wrong, just don’t hate me for it.

So, just how does a reformed bad-ass atheist come to share laughs and breakfast with a bunch of little old church ladies? Even after I told them how I felt about religion; these beautiful people were wise enough to know that it didn’t matter. They didn’t try to preach, teach or scold me. What they did next was more impressive than any televised evangelist could ever do – they invited me to join them every Sunday after church for breakfast and b***s**t.

Bless their little old souls!


Bernie Bates is a writer and an artist Email him at: