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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Whether by pure chance or divine plan, a couple of stories about childhood atheism and/or conversion to atheism ran across my screen yesterday.

* Ricky Gervais
* Calvin & Hobbes
* Julia Sweeney

In varying ways the story of my own "conversion" has affinities with each of these three; I think I've told it somewhere on the Internets before. There's really two stories. The first is the night when I was five or so and figured out that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and all the rest didn't exist, in a row, one after another. The second is a few years later, eleven or twelve years old and obscenely terrified of death because I didn't really believe in God anymore. My parents, eventually fed up with my panic, took me to see our local priest, who gave me a couple of metaphors to chew on and told me I should pray for guidance.

So I did, and when I was done, I realized I'd been talking to myself.