Two words, Star Trek.
I know, the perfect definition of geeky, but hear me out. I grew up on it. The Next Generation launched when I was two, and the next year without new Star Trek on TV was my second year of University so yea, it was always kinda there.
Now lets expand this with a little backstory. My mother is Jewish, and my father is a Wasp. Both of whom suffered through far too much of the bad aspects of religion during their teenage years. Because of this and previous bad blood between both and their respective churches, they left the church out of our lives. We still light a candle for Zadie (something I will probably do for my mother when the time comes) and yes I have sat through (and at various points enjoyed 7th heaven and Touched by an Angel) but with the sole exception of weddings we never went to church. This of course lead to a few “kids say the darndest things” moments, but all in all it just was something that existed outside not inside the home. So back to Star Trek. My first few years were spent in a small town with me living too far out of town to have many opportunities for “play dates” outside of school. This combined with the whole “outsider” aspect my family experienced from moving to said small town meant that I was always an outcast, even before the geekiness showed. Being an only child meant that I also never learned to stop asking questions. Well these factors pushed me towards Star Trek.
The idea that there is always an answer, and it is always different, and it is logically consistent with the universe surrounding it were interesting. This is the big point. Gene Roddenberry is better at creating a self consistent universe than any author of any religious text that has come before. The Futurama joke about the Star Trek religion may be closer to the truth then we would care to believe. So when most people were “praising jesus” I was thinking up trouble with Data. Fast forward a little; the summer that Next Generation ended, was the same summer we moved to a slightly larger town, this time living within the city limits. This meant that my pre-teen mind finally understood what neighbours were, and walking home from school was now a thing I could do. The damage was already done, I was already hooked on science. It made sense, it worked, and it was understandable. At this point I was reading at least 2-3 adult books a month, mostly those cheesy Star Trek books, but still, easily grade 10 reading level. So when the local bible thumpers started showing me the ‘bible’ I couldn’t get through it. There are only a handful of books I have seriously tried to read and failed (including Crime and Punishment, the Four Agreements, and the King James Version). Because I couldn’t talk about the bible, I was pushed to outsider status. I was already comfortable always being the outsider, so I didn’t see a need to conform. This meant that my dating life suffered, but now the more mature me has found real friends. One loyal friend is worth a thousand friendly people. I have 3 of the best friends anyone could ask for. I have a community that even with all the anonymity, is still closer than any church group. I can argue and fight and vehemently oppose someone’s opinion and still enjoy their company. I can look at myself in the mirror. If I had conformed all those years ago none of that would be true
Well that’s my story. To all of those who have posted before me, thank you. Gene Roddenberry, thank you. PZ, thank you. Freethought Blogs, thank you. I will attempt to answer all asked questions, but no guarantee on timeliness.