I grew up in a Christian household, but my parents were, thankfully, not zealots about it. We went to church multiple times a week, did all the usual Protestant and Southern Baptist stuff that they do, and let me tell you, I didn’t like going to any of it. I was more than willing to say I was a believer (out of fear of being punished) when I was young, but I lived my life as if God was irrelevant. I didn’t like going to school either; for me it was all about drawing and art in general and I would do it during church and classes, get in trouble, and then be more surreptitious about it later. Math? Science? God? What need did I have of them?
As I got into my teen years, my mind went through weird changes, all of a suddenly I started getting into academic subjects, mostly in the form of different histories, while at the same time I began to look more into this Christianity thing and wanted to understand it better. Cognitive dissonance ran rampant during this period as well; hindsight allowing me to see just how little I thought about anything. A myriad of contradictory and biased information in my head, and for whatever reason, I didn’t make connections where I should have. All the info I had about evolution came from people who were out to destroy it. The information I had about other religions came from people who denounced them as false. You all get the idea by this point. I was essentially buying into what my church leaders were telling me instead of thinking, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I didn’t really know how to think.
All that changed. I kept finding these verses in the bible that I never knew about and wanted to know what the deal was. Not only did I never get any kind of straight answer, I was fairly sure that many people within the church never knew about these things either. The more I questioned, the more hostile they became. I wasn’t actually trying to disprove anybody, I was just pointing out moral, ethical, historical, and literary discrepancies and wanted to understand, if this book was infallible and was the word of god, how could there be so many problems? Somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, I was learning critical and analytical thought.
So, this Christianity thing is bupkis, isn’t it? Aye. What about the other religious and spiritual views, surely they ha… bupkis. Bupkis. Bupkis out the wazoo. What about the different deist viewpoints? Well, that was harder for me to explain away for a while, but since my brain was (mostly) functioning correctly, why not give this evolution, cosmology, quantum physics, and feminism thing a go? Long story short: Mind blown!
I may not, with 100 percent certainty, say there is no super mad scientist creator person that created our universe within the confines of a computer simulation, but if there’s no evidence to support it, what’s the point of believing? It’s completely irrelevant. I now revel in learning and understanding, to the best of my ability, this majestic and indifferent universe. All this knowledge that I’ve absorbed has not only helped me in my art and life, but also in helping others. Even if you’re not a scientist or mathematician by trade, learning critical thinking and being scientifically and mathematically literate will improve your life and hopefully the lives of those around you.