I’m a Native North American, Ojibwe, grew up in Canada. 34 years old now. Family is Catholic, and went to Catholic school for my education.
Though the schools were there to continue indoctrination, I do have to admit the teachers were quality teachers who genuinely cared about the well-being of the students. They practiced their craft well; helping those who struggled and offered challenge to those who excelled. They put up with us teenagers doing teenaged things like getting drunk, smoking, and skipping school, and taught us when we were ready to learn. So I learned.
It was a good education.
The religion didn’t sit well with me. I felt like something was wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Later on in life, the distance grew between me and religion, but the matter wasn’t settled until some time later.
I was always interested in the sciences; stars ‘n’ shit were *neat*. Geography was cool. I did and still do love reading about such things. And I still bought into the Catholic explanation, but couldn’t shake the feeling something didn’t add up. It wasn’t until I got into a heated debate with my boss over the issue of gay marriage that the whole religion vs. science thing had to be settled.
The cosmological explanation for the formation of the universe, the age of the planet, all of that could be explained as the universe unfolding as per God’s will. It was something called Occam’s Razor that cut away the anchor, so to speak. “One must not complicate terms unnecessarily.” The idea that God exists and even cares whether or not two dudes or two gals get married seem ridiculous. What kind of god is that? And if his existence is not necessary for the universe, then does he even exist?
That’s when I got scared. It seems foolish, looking back now, but it was fear. My whole family was Catholic; everybody I knew was religious in some form or another. As you know, religion gives people morals and ethics. (We might not like it, but it is). Am I an immoral person for doubting god? Am I bad? Am I evil? The biggest fear was, can I even be a good person without god and religion?
Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon secular humanism. I was, odd to describe the feeling, at home, and free. THIS is the type of person I want to be. A system of morals can be found through reason, and should my reasoning be wrong, or a better way shown, then I can change it, and be an even better person.
The tl;dr version? Knowing what we know about the universe and our planet, and with morals that can be discerned reasonably, religion just doesn’t make any damn sense. I’m living a freer and better life as an atheist.