Just found my diary from 1969 and have been reading it, feeling amused and embarrassed about that 15-year-old, who thought she had it all figured out.
It starts with an About me, mainly fixated on what I looked like:
My name is Sylvia Lowik. I am born on ..54 in G the Netherlands. When I was 3 years old, my parents came to Curacao, and that’s where I still am. This year, to be precise, on the 10th of July we will go to the Netherlands for good en I absolutely love it. I have started a Diary before in notebooks. There you will be able to read more about my life. ( I started it on the 12th of April)
My hair is long and blond, curled up at the ends and with a long fringe, which I can comb to the side.
My eyes are green. I am of average length. My face is round, and my nose is straight and large but not too large. I love to follow fashion. My hobbies are swimming, reading, talking and drawing and singing ( incidentally, I have a horrible voice, and I can’t keep a tune). The years before I started this Diary, I had a wonderful life, for which I thank my parents. I cannot express my love easily. When I start next year’s diary, I will do another “Me” to see if I have changed.”
NOTE: I never did. Did go on to write Diaries until 1986
At the end of the year, I did a passionate piece on Religion, which I am quite proud of being only 16 at the time.
I was raised by an anti-religion, Marxist dad and a moderate Catholic mother. As my schools were very Catholic, Secondary was nuns, I did have the whole brainwash thing, but stood strong, helped by my dad, who always answered my questions very honestly and scientifically.
One example of religious education: We had school outings to go for Confession, and in the bus to the church, we were swapping sins like mad, as it was hard to come up with new stuff every time. In the spirit of can, I have your ‘I hit my brother’, and I raise you a ‘stole a bottle of pop’.
Those were the days.
When I was very young, it did affect me to get a small notebook, representing my little soul, from the priest to write my sins in under small or large stains! I was convinced it was Hell for me all the way until the next confession. I still think so, but with the quiet confidence of reconnecting with all the fascinating people in my life.
The older I got, the more rebellious in religious class, with my dad secretly applauding in the background and handing me questions to ask next time.
Looking at the piece I wrote then below, I had not quite shaken off the Catholic Church’s constant influence.
“My belief in 1969
I do believe in a God, namely Nature or whatever you want to call it. So one almighty thing that rules over everything. I don’t believe Jesus was a God, nor that Mary was and stayed a virgin. Jesus must have been a great man with a lot of influence on his fellow men. Hitler had that too. 3/4 of the people from those times definitely did not do it for religious, political reasons plus most of them were uneducated. Confession is in my opinion the biggest nonsense. Popes, Bishops and Priest not being allowed to marry is stupid too. Convents I even find very unhealthy, for living closely together in abstinence when your body is demanding certain things can’t be.
I bet there are some strange going on in those convents and monasteries.
Look at the History books. Monks fighting on a battlefield. At one point there even were three Popes! In the last few years, there have only been Italian Popes. Dad says that at least one of the Holy Trinity must be an Italian. And then you get such an old, worn-out man, who is a century behind the times, telling us what to do. Peter was a man with a wife and kids en he was about 30 years old en the Popes are representing him! Ha!
The current Pope keeps moaning about people not being allowed to use The Pill. He thinks that when people know that there is no chance of getting pregnant will be more likely to have intercourse. Even before the Pill, there were just as many harlots as now and the Pill has many advantages eg. for a young couple who do not want to have a baby yet due to money being in short supply. Should these be forced to have them, so they can grow up in poverty? I don’t think so.
For simple people, Religion is to explain all incomprehensible things in their lives and to find comfort when they are sad.
For intelligent people, it can be handy as well and here with Religion I mean the 10 Commandments. Those I believe in and those I follow. Then I know for myself that I live like a good person and that is the most important thing.
As long as you have a ‘heart’ and a conscience, you just can’t do wrong. Especially if you add a little bit of common sense.
So this was my creed, Sylvia”
You can clearly hear my father and school talking, pulling me this way and that.
I vowed never to raise my own children laden with religious beliefs. Luckily they went to an International and a European school, where religion, as the pupils had many or none, was replaced by Philosophy.
My eldest is a philosopher who leans to the Buddhist one, and my youngest is a firm anti religionist like his granddad.
I am just a Humanist with an atheist core.
The best book to give your child is Sophie’s World.
A wonderful introduction to the great thinkers.
Or go to this website for the modern thinkers for a dash of Atheism. Only 2.4% of the world population is purported to be one. No wonder the world is what it is today.