I was raised in a house with a large property far from any city, where the night sky alone provides you with all you need in order to begin dealing with the fact that the universe is….. really freaking complicated. I would play outside on a regular basis, digging in the ground, taking apart plant life, searching for new creatures in my pond, and almost every time I’d learn something new. When I was first really introduced to religion by one of my best friends I was about 9. I went home and told my parents about this idea that my friend’s family had about this guy who hangs around behind the scenes and takes care of all the stuff we can’t understand. They as usual kept their own beliefs out of my way and encouraged me to explore this new concept and build my own opinion. When I approached my friend about it he said that I could attend church with him and his family one day. When I asked what church is all about he told me, you get up early Sunday morning, go to a building with a bunch of other people and listen to a man talk about a book for an hour or two. I declined without a moments hesitation, Sunday was one of my only two days off from school where I could play at home where I felt comfortable. I was fine with not knowing the supposed secrets of the universe, as long as I could explore it on my own.
My interest in religion disappeared for years, I never felt that it effected me. I saw it maybe as a fine and easy to understand placeholder for reality through the ages until science came along. My aforementioned friend and I were perfectly fine without speaking about religion, going on around 17 years now and he’s never once pushed anything on me. Him being my only window to religion for many years I thought that was the case for all of the religious community, they had a belief as a family, it made them feel good, but they didn’t literally believe every word and didn’t try to change my life with it.
It wasn’t until later on that I started to get a bigger picture, that there’s plenty of people who do take everything in their bible literally and without evidence, something I cannot even imagine doing. In my opinion if you want to get a deep feeling from a book, pick up a science text, read about the solar system, evolution, quantum mechanics, it all seems like fiction or even magic, the deep feeling comes when you realize that it has real evidence in it’s favor. If I read something new it almost takes me back to when I was a kid and I’d find something I’d never seen before on my property. When I hear of those from the religious community, for instance teaching children to ask dead end questions like “were you there?” when in the presence of a moon rock and told it’s age, I almost get personally offended. Asking creative questions is how we move forward, if everything is already explained as magic, we stall. I became an atheist from a previously apathetic standpoint because of miseducation, a reason quite benign in comparison to the atrocities I now realize are carried out in the names of gods all over the world on a daily basis. I am an atheist because I fear for our future and refuse to be associated with those who would see those fears come to realization, whether unconsciously, or with the best of intentions.