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Childhood’s End

By Carl S ~

One thing about human beings is the fact too many of them refuse to grow up. This causes troubles for the majority of us. Those who want to keep their childhood religious fantasies still have the child's worldview “everything important relates to me.” They don't want to give up their conviction some benevolent, replacement father-spirit is watching over them, so everything will work out a-ok, no matter what befalls everyone and everything. They find comfort and strength in the company of others who also want to remain children.

Growing up is hard to do. It is terribly hard when religious upbringings create the conditions for one's perpetual immaturity. When a child, one thinks as a child and believes what one's been told on faith as a child, but when it comes time to become an adult, one ought to put away the things of a child. Doubting and giving in to doubts is a sign of welcoming maturity. Growing up can be hard to do when one's chronological adulthood is impeded by faith and misses those steps. Outside a tribe consisting of childlike wishful thinkers, one is left all alone with the responsibility to became one’s own separate thinking, decision making, true self. This transition is the natural progression of humans, but all belief systems are hindrances to, and somewhat fearful of, that arrival at responsibility. Children of God decide to let God make the decisions for their lives, and in that way, remain children.

One excellent example of natural maturation is to be found in the Sept. 2018 issue of FFRF''s “Freethought Today,” in a testimony by Luke Douglas on page 17: “Taking a sharp turn after leaving Religious Right.” He reached the point in his life where he says: “I lost it. I dropped my book, went into the men's room, sat on the toilet, and bawled my eyes out for an hour and a half. I was, and I finally admitted to myself, an atheist, a humanist and progressive, in soon to be more ways than I was prepared to understand. Everything that my old worldview had made clear to me about my place in the universe and the purpose of my life was gone.” (His “worldview” was hearsay from others.)

Reality had caught up with and tsunamied over the fantasies he was indoctrinated to accept, and reality pulled him along with its current, and now he's riding free with it. Like any surfer, he has to learn to cope with it, enjoy it. It was a traumatic beginning to growing up, an introduction to riding the waves, scary with new wonders and experiences. The dark glasses of faith had fallen off, to be replaced with clear vision, and now the adult is in control. The “privileged child of faith” is no more, and loses its entitlement as the spoiled brat of a deity. What he's been raised to accept is that a god who made the universe died for him. Mr. Douglas says, “My family and friends would be devastated.” Of course, since they know what it's like to contentedly remain obedient and socially privileged children of their god. He will find that all growing up means losing something, but more often than not, “nostalgia isn't all that great as it used to be.” Growing up means losing the smart assed attitude which tells the rest of the world one knows things to be absolutely true.

When a child, one thinks as a child and believes what one's been told on faith as a child, but when it comes time to become an adult, one ought to put away the things of a childAnd isn't it ironically tragic that those who preached “let the little children come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” and “you must become as little children,” are the ones who destroyed the childhoods of tens of thousands of children by raping them? And their parents, obedient children themselves to clerical authority, suspected nothing or called their own children liars.

The Age of Enlightenment began a period of growing up for humankind. Even those initiating it who still believed in a creator saw him as doing it, and leaving right away. As far as they were concerned, as the world goes, it's up to us to create our rules and relationships; the Creator is “outta here.” So we're left alone to act as adults, taking responsibility and credit for the good and bad we do.

The privileged and scared brats of religions don't accept that; they want to remain god's special ones who will tell everyone else what's “true,” what to believe and how to live their lives. The Enlightenment thinkers threw open the doors to tell us we have rights to question even their deity, and got us to think and doubt, telling us, “Take no man's word for it.” Confront the irrationality that calls itself faith. Grow up, think for yourself, stand on your own. Make your own place in the universe. C'mon, do you really think “God” has plans for you, needs you? “God” has no need of you, and you have no need of “God.” How much better the world becomes when it leaves childlike faith and grows up.