Growing up in sectarian Northern Ireland, I have from birth been subjected to religious hatred and bigotry. Furthermore I have been sent to a protestant primary school (elementary school to you Americans) where all the children came to use the word “catholic” as a derogatory synonym for dirty and something to be ashamed of. Talking to some friends who went to Catholic schools, it seems they had the same use of the word Protestant.
Truth be told, none of us actually knew the difference between catholic and protestant. Such is the innocence of children that religious hatred can exploit. Growing up in a religious family, I was forever questioning my aunts and uncles about God and religious topics that just didn’t make total sense.
At about the age of 11, maybe 12 I left my religious beliefs behind me, unable to keep believing when there was just so much that didn’t make sense. That has grown into a passion and drive for atheism and I would even say I am an anti-theist, admittedly with some resentment due to what I have seen growing up.
Barely a week goes by that I do not hear of catholic/protestant paramilitary terrorist activity. In a country that seems to be getting weary and tired of the hatred as it fails to fully permeate the generations, I have to initiate some sort of movement, even simple promotion of education, that I believe will eventually help bring about the end of wide spread religion.
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