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Why I am an atheist – Michael Glenister

It’s been an interesting change in perspective for my mother. She was raised Church of England (Protestant) in High Wycombe, England, and remembers, as a child, the first time she met someone who didn’t believe in god. The initial response was to cry. The secondary response was to think: “Convert!”. My Dad was an altar boy as a kid, but his family were not as devout as my mother’s. Irregardless they met, grew up, got married, and then immigrated to Canada.

I was born a couple of years later. By this time my parents, particularly my mother, were no longer as devout as my grandparents and other relatives, and going to church was not a regular part of our lives. However there was a large brass crucifix on the wall of our bedroom hall, I was sent to Sunday School for a while, and remember doing some praying by myself before I went to bed.

I figured out a quite a young age that Santa Claus didn’t make sense, and applaud my parents for being honest with me when I asked. I was also an early reader, thanks to my mother’s efforts, and not long afterward someone (I don’t remember, probably a relative) gave me a large, thick, illustrated, children’s bible. I read the whole thing, cover to cover. It was certainly an entertaining read, but my mother now proudly relates that after I finished reading it, that I concluded the whole thing was nonsense and told her so.

From then on I was an atheist, and so were my parents and younger siblings. In high school we covered the Greek/Roman gods, and read “Inherit the Wind”, which gave me ample opportunity to express my opinions. A female student made my day when her essay was read in class. It included a discussion on Mary and Joseph: “An angel makes Mary pregnant. What kind of excuse is that!? If I came home and told my mother that an angel made me pregnant…”

While studying at UBC in Vancouver, I attended the annual “Does god exist?” debates sponsored by the Campus Crusade for Christ. Usually I was disappointed in the debating abilities of the Con side, and wished that I was a better debater myself. I even heard about David Suzuki attending one and getting angrier and angrier at how the Pro side was misrepresenting science.

Years later I read about Richard Dawkins in Discover magazine, did some research, and started collecting books. Consequently I’m a much better debater and look forward to JW’s knocking on my door so that I can refine my skills. As I Science/Math teacher in high school, I also encourage my students to think for themselves, and not accept things as true because an authority figure – including myself – tells them that it is true without evidence.

Now my parents, particularly my mother, and I enjoy reading Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, and discussing the ridiculous and irritating things the religious do around the world.

Michael Glenister
Canada

Comments

  1. Holms says

    Nice read, but my inner grammarian / pedant demands that I announce the following:

    ‘IRREGARDLESS’ IS NOT A WORD!

  2. says

    Your common sense approach to all the religious BS makes it all seem so obvious that atheism is the only rational position. When I read something like this it just reinforces my confusion as to why any theists, particularly seemingly intelligent ones, exist at all.

  3. moondoes says

    I am like your mother who went from semi religious (in australia) to non religious (in USA) thanks to the theists here in the USA trying to push religion down my throat.

  4. otranreg says

    @1

    1) This has nothing to do with grammar or being a grammarian. Look it up the next time you think you ought to be called anything but a pedant.
    2) It is a word. And not just a nonce-word: it is used so much, that’s it seen it way into the dictionaries. Non-standard? Yes. Somewhat illogical? Absolutely. Should be avoided in certain styles and contexts? Quite. It’s a perfectly normal word nonetheless.

  5. Frank Asshole says

    It’s very comforting and rewarding, that your attitude (and facts) convinced someone close to you to cease bullshit.

  6. jentokulano says

    Irregardless is irrecromulent. It’s the opposite of “regardless” and means “and totally because of this, like, way because of it”.

  7. otranreg says

    @8

    Yes, and gravity is very silly, because if you fall from a great height, you tend to die from the impact it induces. A glorious set of major balls, isn’t it?

  8. otranreg says

    Ugh, self-righteous prescriptivists get on my tits.

    (@Michael Glenister: sorry about my littering in this thread)

  9. Michael says

    From Wikipedia:

    Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

  10. otranreg says

    Michael, it’s perfectly fine to use it, but it is also important to mind how. Using it in serious writing and formal speech should be avoided (that’s what ‘long way from general acceptance’ means in practice).