Bob Oliver of Nixa, Missouri, relates the story of how he became an atheist.
Why I am an Atheist
Hi yall. I was born during the depression in southeast Mo. My step father was a farmer/preacher. He had never been ordained or even went to college. No matter,the lord had called him to preach. We had to walk a mile down sa dirt road to the little church nestled in the woods.
On the farm it was a long time between pay days and the stipend the chuch paid him to preach about $5 a month depending on the collection plate helped pull us through. My step dad was a vicious cruel man who always carried the bible with him even while he was plowing in the fields. We atten ded Sunday school,morning and evening services,prayer meeting on Wednesday choir practice on Thursdays. We always ask the blessing before we ate and if we forgot and picked up a morsel before blessing we got the hell slapped out of us.
When I was 16,he and my mother had to go to Kentucky for a funeral for a relative. I should have know better but I thought I could get away with it so I skipped prayer meeting and went to basketball practice instead. When he found out he beat the hell outa me and cracked one of my ribs. In those days people were not as sensitve to child abuse. He even bragged to the Dr. and said "long as he is in my house he's going to church."
At that time I began planning my escape. I had heard that one could join the Army at 17. My opportunity came when one summer day in August 1949. Only my step dad and I were in the field. I was chopping cotton and he was plowing. Ever once in a while he would yell at me that I wasnt chopping fast enough. I waited till he was at the far end of the field. I climbed a fence cut through the woods till a came to a gravel road. I then hitch hiked into the county seat, Kennett, Mo.
I still remember the fear as I felt any minute he would notice me gone and would catch me. When I got to the recruiting office I hit another snag. To join at 17 you needed your parents signature. Fortunately my real father who I scarcely knew lived in Kennett. I found him and he signed for me.
I had often wondered how a man could be that religious and that evil. He also sexually molested my 2 sisters.
I really became an atheist while studying engineering at University of Maryland. The book of Genesis contradicts every thing we know about science. I could not understand why the Gods (plural) were threatened by the Tower of Babel, why they did not intervene when the Eiffel Tower, The Tokyo Tower or the Empire State building was built or satellites were put into orbit. Strange as it seems, all my brothers and sisters are today hardshelled Baptist not daring to question.
Bob Oliver, <nakura (at) ipa (dot) net>