Why I am an atheist – Frederick Sparks

I am an atheist because I have never seen any real evidence of any gods of any kind. I was raised Catholic and later converted to Baptist as an adult. Even as a child it bothered me that god did not act in obvious and public ways as depicted in the Bible. The liberal interpretation that the supernatural events in the Bible should be interpreted metaphorically only begged the question why the god entity shouldn’t be interpreted metaphorically as well. Also, as an African American I can’t reconcile accepting a religion that was used to enslave my ancestors.

But seeing George Carlin’s routine Religion is Bullshit sealed my atheism.

Frederick Sparks
United States

(I put out a simple call for your explanations for why you’re an atheist, and I’m still inundated with submissions. This will be a daily feature on Pharyngula.)


  1. Alex says

    I can relate to this one pretty close. I always had a major mental reservation about the fact that my people from Latino America still are enslaved by the gods of their spanish conquerors. I used to think, if Christianity is right, why would this god see it fit to spread his religion like this. I pursued religion anyway and the more I looked, the less I believed.

  2. says

    Carlin has definitely turned a lot of people on to the absurdity of religion. So did Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks.

    But they were so …. strident!

  3. says

    Man, I’m doing the math, and this is never going to end. I’m getting a few dozen of these every day, and I’m posting one each day. I used a little advanced calculus and have determined that I’ll catch up around about never.

    Maybe it’ll slow down, but I’ve noticed that every time I post one, there’s a little flurry of new submissions as new people discover it.

  4. Rob vd Vlugt says


    I see you have determined that you will catch up around about never posting these kind of “Why I am an Atheïst” submissions.
    I hope I will be around untill then.

  5. Sally Strange, OM says

    What? But I still want to submit mine! Are you saying it might get published in 2045, when one of your kids has taken over the blog?

  6. Duckbilled Platypus says

    What would be really cool is a website dedicated to the atheist confession, where you flip through them, pull them randomly out of the database, or where they can even be sorted by popularity.

    When I say “it would be really cool” I’m saying I don’t actually have the means or the time to do it, because obviously there needs to be an input filter. But really – it would be a monument to reason. I’m betting it would also attract attention of those who would dare to venture into our evil atheist minds, despite what they say in church.

  7. says

    I love the Carlin reference.

    And I like that Mr. Sparks mentions religion being the justification for the enslavement of his ancestors. It boggles the mind how women and African Americans can continue to patronize the very thing that has unnecessarily kept them in bondage, both literally and figuratively. It’s like sticking with an abusive spouse, i.e., “He used to get drunk and hit me, but now he just gets stoned and calls me fat.”

    And remember, PZ, the original WIAAA campaign produced just 3% of Moore’s circulation, so just assume that 3% of your daily hit rate will contribute. Wait, that might not make you feel better.

  8. says

    Y’know, the creos would retaliate by setting up a web site where people could post “I believe because…” and it’d be:
    – “goddidit!”
    – “daddy told me it was true.”
    – “I used to believe in X but now I believe in Y”
    “am not!”
    lather rinse repeat

  9. Sally Strange, OM says

    It boggles the mind how women and African Americans can continue to patronize the very thing that has unnecessarily kept them in bondage, both literally and figuratively.

    Not really, when you consider the social (and physical!) costs imposed, up until very recently, on those who tried to question.

  10. Pan says

    Hey, hey!!! I’ve calculated something, too!!

    If PZ is going to finish the project “about never”, it means, that it will take forever.
    I’ve discovered, that I won’t live forever ~20yrs ago.

    This is a *~serious~* problem!

    Possible solution: Convert the mails into an e-book. A “distributed-proofreader”-system could be used to do this. Someone who (unlike me…) actually has a clue about how to make an e-book sets up the formatting rules and volunteers edit, like, 5 e-mails each.
    The stories will be published in no time at all!

  11. The Ys says

    Agree with Platypus – it’d be really freakin’ awesome to have a site dedicated to these essays.

  12. says

    @9 Sally:

    I wasn’t clear. Not the pretenders. I mean those African Americans and women that continue to believe in their hearts and accept their God’s assistance in making their lives miserable, without regard to what others think. Those are the enigmas.

  13. Duckbilled Platypus says

    @Marcus Ranum: So let them, and let hilarity ensue.

    @Thomas Lawson: Thanks for the link. Yep, that about covers it, although I don’t care much for video testimonials personally – but hey, whatever works.

  14. says

    Short, sweet and to the point. Nicely said, Frederick.

    I also would like to hear more of the African-American approach to religion. Is there anything that you could recommend for reading?

  15. Basti2682 says

    Peace bro.

    As a Filipino, I stand with you, religion was indeed used to enslave, colonize our ancestors.

    Slavery is OK as long as they become christians. when does the end justify the means…

  16. Frederick Sparks says

    Wow, first of all thank you to PZ for posting, I am honored. And I appreciate all the positive feedback and comments.

    Alethea I think a great place to start in terms of contemporary analysis would be Sikivu Hutchinson’s book on religion, race and gender:


    I know Sikivu through our Los Angeles Black Skeptics Group. Check out our blog at http://blackskeptics.blogspot.com/

    Also, pretty much anything by Prof Anthony Pinn is worth reading. An example: