I was started in church earlier then I can even remember. Every Sunday my mother would load my sister, brother, and I into the station wagon and take us to pick up our grandmother. We would then head out to a small Baptist church somewhere in Decatur, Georgia. I have vague memories of Sunday school and I seem to remember getting disciplined on more than one occasion for climbing in the church.
After a few years my mom stopped taking us and we mostly just forgot about church in general. I didn’t start going to church again until I was in middle school, then I went to Zion Christian Fellowship in Lithia Springs. Church was a good escape from my home life and whenever things would get bad at home I would go to church. There I learned many things about the bible. I developed a close friendship with the pastor and his family. I became a rather devout Christian for some time, but the more I learned about the bible and the more I watched the news and learned about the world I started to have questions. Why is God so cruel? Why in the bible did God turn Lot’s wife to a pillar of salt simply for looking back towards home? How did God make light before he made a light source? Why did he need to send Jesus to die for our sins? If he were truly all powerful could he not simply forgive us?
Image from: Think That Through
By high school I started to learn the theory of evolution and saw how it contradicted the creation story in Genesis. And it occurred to me, if one part of this book is untrue than the book as a whole loses credit as being fact. It was then that I decided to look into other religions. I spent much of the next couple of years looking into different religions, my mother works at a book distributor so this made it easy for me to have fairly unlimited access to many religious texts. For a short time in tenth grade I started a “coven” with a few other friends from school, we really didn’t do anything but draw pentagrams on all of our stuff, dress in all black, and read a lot of books on witch craft. I looked briefly into the Necronomicon which is a book on summoning the dead, but couldn’t take it seriously. All these things had one major flaw in common. They all had a creation stories or similar stories that contradicted known scientific facts. Buddhism, in my opinion, is the only contradiction to the previous statement. A quote from Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama says "if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." I wish all religions would be so reasonable, but I will talk more about Buddhism in a later post.
It was at this point that I turned my attention and efforts to my science book. I found an abundance of answers to nearly all my questions. Why is the universe so big? Where did it all come from? Which came first the chicken or the egg? How can there be life and beauty without god/ gods? It was only after much study and debate that today I confidently call myself an Atheist. I honestly do not believe that any gods exist; we are here through random chance. The fact that there is no god does not make life any less beautiful or meaningful. In fact I think it makes life more important, we don’t need to focus on what we imagine will happen to our “spirit” when we die. We need to focus on living the only life we will ever get and make the most of it. Not believing in god does not make me immoral either, I chose to be good because it is the right thing to do, not because I think I will be punished for all eternity. I don’t however think that other people should have to give up their religions, some people need a coping mechanism to keep them happy until such a time as their heart stops, their brain turns off and they go into the ground forever. Because once someone is dead, they will never know if they were wrong.