"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." Is 49:15
My mother died when I was 5. Her death shattered my world. I'm sure she never forgot us but I felt forgotten. I was one of seven. My father later married a widow of 4 and had 4 more for a total of 15 children. In the town where we grew up, this was way too many children.
We were Catholic in a town that believed Catholics got it all wrong. I was a social misfit. I was often told, "You know all you Catholics are going to hell don't you?" Our prayer life consisted of Mass, Stations of the Cross and reciting formal memorized prayers (like the rosary). I usually spent the time "counting down" the prayers rather than actually praying. I paid little attention to the words. I knew nothing of the Bible. I was poorly catechized and poorly formed, but God had not forgotten about me.
R. J. Stove lives in Melbourne, Australia. The son of the late prominent atheist, David Stove, R.J. converted to Catholicism as an adult in 2002.
The upbringing I underwent in New South Wales, Australia —partly in Sydney, but mainly in the village of Mulgoa— was one of complete, although predominantly quiet and civil, atheism. Both my parents (who are now dead) spent their childhood as Presbyterians, but shed religious belief soon after attaining adulthood.
My father was the philosopher and political polemicist David Stove. During his undergraduate years, he fell under the spell of the militantly atheistic guru John Anderson of the University of Sydney's philosophy department. Except that "fell under" seems a much too gentle phrase to describe what my father and thousands like him experienced at Anderson's none-too-scrupulous—and, where females were concerned, lecherous—hands.