I am atheist because religion cannot answer questions. Because religion is disrespectful to every other species with which we share this planet. Because the universe is all the more beautiful without any gods and their magic pointing fingers poofing things into existence. I am an atheist because I love science and despise magical and irrational thinking. I’m an atheist because I’ve seen to many intelligent people destroyed by fear.
I am an atheist from a southern Baptist family. I suspect I would have become an atheist eventually, but I’m glad I abandoned it at an early age. As a child I questioned everything. One of those annoying kids whose favorite question was why. When I asked my grandmother who wrote the bible, I was told god. My first thought was a mental image of a book falling out of the sky and hitting some poor sucker on the down. I knew that books required writers, printing presses, publishers and why were there so many versions of the stupid thing. This and a dozen other questions were not the straw that broken my back.
I was willing to accept the concept of a god, heaven and hell on sufferance barring better evidence. At age twelve I stopped taking it so. I’ve had animals all my life, from the time I was three years old. I lost my first pet to feline leukemia, which led to a brain tumor, which led to his early death by veterinarian. I was there the whole time and deeply regretted the vet’s refusal to allow me to burying him properly. An unfortunate and deeply sad event, but a normal part of life for any pet lover. After his death I turned to my grandmother for comfort and I imagine anyone who came from a Baptist household can guess what she said. ìAnimals don’t have souls.î I had known humans were animals from the time I was about six, given the other options at the time were plants and rocks (my knowledge of fungi and bacteria was a bit lacking at six years old). If humans were not animals, what were we? If humans were animals and had souls, then why exactly didn’t every other animal have a soul? And why was I believing in a religious doctrine so full of holes a child could find them if I couldn’t have my animals in heaven? At this point I said screw it and abandoned Christianity all together.
I had not abandoned religion all together and spent years exploring other religions and doctrines, which were fine to a point, but there was always this slip into magical thinking. Every time you look at them with a clinical eye they would burst like a soap bubble. Eventually I stopped looking, though I continued to call myself agnostic, not realizing that was a bit of a misnomer. When I was in college I was walking to class and had an epiphany that there were no gods. I was more surprised at how little that bothered me. After a brief but amusing foray into solipsism, I found atheism respite from all the silly superstitions that surround me.
I am an atheist because I am not afraid. Because evolution is more amazing the more I study it. Because I love science and research and knowledge, and I despise the people, who in the name of an invisible sky daddy, prevent people from getting to see it. Because I don’t care what other people do so long as it’s consensual. Because I want to reduce suffering and see everyone live in this glorious, amazing universe full of living things that evolve, stars that explode and spin and get eaten by black holes, an expanding universe, social behaviors in sharks, complicated trophic webs, and ecological homeostasis (guess what classes I’m taking this semester) .
I am an atheist because I never stopped asking why.