As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, metal gave me the strength to accept my budding Atheism during my youth. I wish I could say there was some epiphanic moment that came late one night while listening to Reign in Blood, but the truth is that metal’s part in the formation of my beliefs was much more subtle. Reflecting back on those times, I’ve come to realize that my Atheism manifested itself long before my love of metal did, and that metal only helped to cement those beliefs.
I went to Catholic school from kindergarten all the way up through my senior year of high school. A lot of people still have some interesting ideas of what Catholic school is like, but I can assure you there were no draconian nuns in black lording over us with yardsticks and paddles, nor were we forced to go to church every day. That doesn’t mean that the presence of the almighty didn’t loom over us on a daily basis. We did have an extra period for religion class, and although we didn’t go to church every day, there were still multiple opportunities to kneel before the saviour, any excuse to have a mass in the gymnasium or set up confessionals in the auditorium.
I tried my damnedest to believe. I folded my hands, closed my eyes, drank the grape juice, ate the stale crackers (why does the body of Christ taste like cardboard and glue?), and none of it worked. I participated willingly in the three c’s, communion, confirmation and confession, but felt no closer to any “God”. For the longest time, I felt like there was something wrong with me, like I was the only one in the world that didn’t believe. There was nothing I could do about it, no one I was comfortable talking to. If there were others like me, they were keeping it well hidden.