Recapping, I was fortunate in my early, formative years to not have been indoctrinated in religious belief. I also lived in a state that took seriously the separation of religion from education, unlike many of the Southern states.
Good thing too, because Sundays were always dirt bike riding days. Probably 30 weekends a year we spent at Hollister or Metcalf, and even occasionally at Clear Creek OHV parks riding.
I never much thought about church, religion, or faith until much later. I remember becoming conscious of it when I entered the workforce in my late teens. I was working at Marie Callendars, a “homestyle” restaurant chain in San Jose. Many of my coworkers were students at the local private Catholic high school, Archbishop Mitty.
What a difference from my public school experience. These kids were far more rebellious, and virtually all of them were heavy drug users. Not that there wasn’t some rebellious souls at my high school, and perhaps I got a view of a small slice of the Catholic school demographic, but it was eye opening.
I recall wondering what all these angst ridden teens were rebelling against. I had not much clue of the indoctrination, and forced conformity in religious families, so I really had no frame of reference. I was soon to get that frame of reference…
Sundays @ the restaurant
After a couple years, I started working the day shift line cook role on weekends. The main guy had jaw surgery and was out for a few months so I just dove in.
The busiest lunch day of the week, by far, was Sundays. Even the weekday lunch rush paled in comparison to the onslaught of humanity that walked through the door starting at 11:30 on Sunday. The restaurant filled to capacity, and there would be wave after wave of people up until mid afternoon.
However the clientele had some unique attributes. First, they were all well dressed. Men in jackets and ties. Women and girls in long dresses. Ah, it was the after church crowd.
The restaurant had a few large churches nearby (I remember the name of one, Bethel) and post services we would get their custom for lunches.
For the most part they were polite and genial, but they were notoriously poor tippers. I would hear the gossip from the servers. Certain parties who were “regulars” would be shunned. They were the ones who would leave no tip, but a card that said that the server should be ashamed to be working on “The Lord’s Day”.
I would love to say that this was a rare occurrence, but it was an every Sunday phenomenon.
I began to see the “Righteous” as arrogant, condescending, and in many ways as assholes. The servers were good people, working hard to support themselves and their families (most of them were working mothers), and these Church Goers were talking down to them for not worshiping on Sunday. The gall was palpable.
It was this experience that made me more openly question and counter religious people and their practices. Not only did it annoy me, but it was affecting people I knew, worked with, and was friends with. The hypocrisy was monumental.
In part 3, I take a class in college that treats the bible as a piece of literature and analyzes it for its content, not its context.