I grew up in a nominally Christian home. My parents took us to a United church for a few years when I was very young. Every Sunday we were expected to put money in an envelope as a donation. I like to think that my parents stopped going to church because of the constant requirement for donations. After we stopped attending church we never really discussed religion. I never questioned it, I never knew there were other religions, and I never knew atheism was an option. I live in Canada and we don’t wear our religion on our sleeves for the most part, so I was never exposed to anything outside of that early childhood experience in church. I went to a Catholic highschool, mainly because it was close to my house and the uniform made dressing on a daily basis easy for me. I always felt silly attending the monthly masses and saying the lord’s prayer. It was like wearing an uncomfortable pair of pants. I felt awkward and ridiculous.
Enter the internet. This was back in the day when blogs were scarce and websites were hosted on geocities. It was through the internet that I discovered paganism. I thought this was the coolest religion ever. Everything about it appealed to me, the connection with nature, the “magic”, and all of the accessories. I bought lots of books (which I still own if anyone wants to buy them off me!), printed off lots of spells from websites, and bought various knickknacks. But yet again I felt awkward and ridiculous performing the various rites. I was so disappointed, I tried and tried for years to make it all work. I thought believing in something was the default position. Everyone (or so I thought) believed in something. Why couldn’t I?
Enter the internet yet again. Surprisingly I still believed that something was wrong with me up until quite recently. In my late 20s I joined a website called Ravelry. This website is mainly about knitting, but has forums for pretty much every topic. It was on this website that first encountered truly scary religious people. I was shocked at what some people believed. How could people be so hateful? But it was also through this website that I met the people that debated with these scary religious people, and it was through them that I discovered the Atheist and Agnostic Crafters group. For the first time in my life I discovered that it was OK to not be religious. You can imagine the relief I felt to discover I wasn’t abnormal.
So, for me, it was never about the science. I’ve always loved science and it never occurred to me that religion and science were related in anyway. It was simply discovering that it is OK to not be religious, and then take the next step from there to Atheism. It’s been a wonderful experience for me. I have gained an even greater fascination and appreciation of how wonderful the universe is.