Frank Zindler, Eating Eggs, Blueberry Pie, Rhubarb, and Childhood Religious Indocrtrination

I spent the weekend filming a few interviews with Frank Zindler, who has been the president of the American Atheists organization, and who earned the title of atheist spokesman of the year a number of times. He has debated a number of Christians including besting William Lane Craig in a debate, and now is the editor in chief of American Atheist Press. It was great to get his perspective on a number of things. I view him as a renaissance man who knows a lot about a lot of things. I call him "Mr. Atheist."

While we were talking he told a story of how, as a child, he cracked open an egg and found that a baby chick was developing in it, and he was shocked and very upset. Well, his mother wanted to show him that was an extremely rare thing so she picked out another egg and cracked it open, only to find the same results. For a long time he would not eat eggs at all. Now, at the age of 75, he only eats hard-boiled, scrambled, and deviled eggs.

I had a similar experience when I was a child. One time I got a fork full of blueberry pie and out came a bug. Yep, a bug. On another occasion I found a patch of rhubarb and gorged on it until I was so sick I vomited. I wouldn't eat blueberry pie nor anything rhubarb for years afterward. I still have an aversion against eating them, although I do on occasion. I suppose many of us have similar stories.

What I want my readers to consider is that religious indoctrination can do the same thing to us, especially when it comes to the notion of hell. Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico have written an excellent chapter for Christianity is Not Great on this subject. I consider it must reading. On her blog Marlene wrote about it saying:
The most difficult thing to overcome, by far, is overcoming the intense indoctrination of early years. As an adult, for example, the fear of hell can pop up and cause panic attacks even if a person rationally rejects the doctrine. LINK.
If children can fear eating eggs, blueberry pie and rhubarb, then how much more intense is the fear of doubting one's own religious indoctrination. It takes a special kind of person, someone who really wants to know the truth and will follow the evidence wherever it leads.