So I'm sitting in public area, reading The End of Faith (it's pretty clear Sam Harris is making a case against faith and not some generalized version of Islam, so I don't get all those misplaced objections...), and I just heard a group of people sing a birthday song.
I was surprised. But not because someone was singing a birthday song. I was surprised because of my reaction.
I wish I could say my reaction was normal, but it wasn't. I thought about how wrong it is to celebrate birthdays. I mean, what the hell? I'm an atheist. A freaking atheist who studies logic, and this is still in my head? It was a very brief moment, it lasted like a second or two, but it was there. After this second or two, I immediately woke up from this... whatever it was, it felt like a surreal dream.
It helps you realize how deep this indoctrination runs. I've never celebrated birthdays, not even since I left, because I don't have friends. I assume that my reaction was because of that. I haven't concerned myself with birthdays even since I left, so this dislike of birthdays is still in my head. If I were to start celebrating birthdays, this rather subconscious dislike would probably disappear, but things being as they are, I left it alone in my head, and it hasn't been yet disrupted by the influence of reason.
Does anyone want to share his or her own experiences similar to this―about how the impulses you were taught didn't leave you even after you left the religion?