Losing my religion

By November 18, 2017Society

Although it came out long after I had lost my religion, I always liked and related to the song ‘Losing my religion’ by REM1, because it reflected what had happened to me years before.

I went to a government high school and we had one lesson termed ‘Scripture’ once a week. The bloke who took it was a Methodist minister (they couldn’t cater for every denomination; I was nominally a Presbyterian), who was a cruel, miserable git. It was not surprising that he felt this way because he had to cope with a group of boys who were uninterested at best, but mostly antipathetic. Almost all of them would have preferred to have been elsewhere. Like most of the others, I hated it and fortunately remember none of it.

My family were, as I said, nominally Presbyterian, but only went to church for funerals, christenings and weddings. They were too busy running their business to bother about such peripheral concerns. As I was heavily into science by this stage, I was beginning to understand the way science works and how evidence impacts on it. I started applying that to the drivel I was being taught in ‘Scripture’, and it didn’t make sense. I didn’t ask anybody about it; I just thought it over myself. In a very short space of time, I had become a confirmed atheist. I then asked my parents to write a letter to the school exempting me from ‘Scripture’. This they did on the understanding that I would spend the time in the library, studying. This I mostly did, but one of my friends who was also in the library, having similarly avoided the torture of ‘Scripture’, was a fan of musical theatre and on a couple of occasions we were caught in full voice doing renditions of songs from Oklahoma or My Fair Lady. From that time, I have been a confirmed atheist, and the world a better place, even if I cannot get those musicals out of my head.


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwtdhWltSIg


  • Jim says:

    I also went to a government high school where the local Methodist minister turned up for one lesson a week. I remember very little about it, but towards the end of high school we had a younger minister (also a very good batsman for the local cricket team) who actually taught us something about how the New Testament was written. Among other things he pointed out that the four gospels were written many years after the events that are described, and that the material in the gospels was derived from various sources. It was actually quite interesting. Ever since then I have thought that if religion is to be taught in schools (a proposition I do not agree with) then some sort of comparative religious studies should be taught, but getting an unbiased approach would be extremely difficult.

  • Wendy McLeod says:

    Dear BlotReport
    My experience at school was similar, although I was at an Anglican school. My parents were outspoken atheists, but I think they thought a private school would teach me to be ‘a good girl’. I also asked for and was granted exemption from Scripture in my senior years, but unlike you I now feel quite strongly in favour of exposing students to religion. Some knowledge of the Sciptures has helped me enormously in understanding the meaning of art, drama, architecture, literature and humanity. It’s the general knowledge on which our society (and much of the world’s) rests.

    • admin says:

      I think students should be exposed to religion but only as comparative religion and the history of it. I agree that it is part of our history, but it was always about power, especially over women. Colonialism is also part of our history; that doesn’t mean that it should continue. Much of the commandments of the religion with which I am familiar all get back to the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Many religions seem to have forgotten that, and much of their public ethos now seems to be concerned with discrimination.

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