Am I an atheist? I guess I am, I have never defined myself and put it in a box, but I guess when an opportunity arises… I am a non believer, that’s to say my thoughts are justified by evidence and theory that, to the best of my knowledge explains the truth. As a child I believed in Santa and the tooth fairy and God. .. Not because of my parents, who are distinctly non-religious. I believed, simply because I thought ‘why not?’ Perhaps I wouldn’t have ever known about God was it not for my Church of England schooling, where prayer and bible studies were a common occurrence. As I grew and with it my curious mind, I began to ask why? And How? And what is the evidence for this? My parents never pressured me to be an atheist but instead encouraged me to question and take nothing for granted. As I questioned the less convinced I became and in the blink of an eye my religious phase was over and in its place a much more long lasting love that has lasted to this day. Science, one great adventure that will take a lifetime to learn.
I will always remember a conversation I had with a Mormon at University, out on one of their recruiting missions. He asked me ‘do you pray?’ I replied ‘no’ to which he said ‘How do you know what God has planned for you? And what the point of your life on earth is?’ I explained to him that I did not long for an inherent purpose to my life and any purpose made would be my own. I told him I was a scientist and that understanding everything in life from the behaviour on animals to the orbit of the planets was my life’s work, and that from each piece of knowledge I gained I found great contentment in life. After a little pause he told me he was happy for me. I felt great sadness, that he would not appreciate the great contentment found in the facts of science and nature and instead would lead a life in fear of God.
I live my life knowing it’s the only one I will have and I live it to the full. I guess that makes me lucky, lucky not to be indoctrinated into a way of life or follow unquestioningly something that is taken on blind faith. I love to live and I live to love. Through great chance this planet has come into existence. Through great chance this planet has evolved to sustain life, through great chance I was one of the millions of possibilities my parent’s genes would mix to make me. Through great chance I was born into a family that does not practice brain washing. By great CHOICE I became an atheist, and that makes me…. one of the lucky ones.