I have had the distinct pleasure in the last few days of immersing myself more in the atheist/secular blogging community, primarily over at Friendly Atheist, run by Hemant Mehta. I won a book on his site, so hey, how bad can it be to get involved? Most of the comments there are exactly what I would expect from a group of like-minded individuals: calm, cool, collected, relaxed.
Not too bad, really.
So, I thought I'd start blogging again, with a little topic about how I became an atheist. It's really only in the last couple years I've started identifying as an atheist. I was nominally Christian for the first ten or fifteen years of my life, but I always challenged the core beliefs of that dogma - the concept of an earth created in seven days, the idea that Christ died to protect me from sin. Pretty much everything except for the concept of the afterlife.
And that was comforting to me. In university, I finally began to identify as a deist, someone who believes in a divine source of creation. I've always had an overwhelming belief in the integrity of the scientific method and the results therein, so it was only a logical step. But as I refined my mind through my university years, that phase did not last long, either. I realized what I've read a thousand times since then: if a god created everything, who created a god?
So yeah. What makes my journey particularly fulfilling is that I've made it all on my own (like Li'l Brudder). It's not very outstanding, aside from that I can recall points in my journey that were defining.
1. Sunday school at the Baptist Church just down the road, I asked the teacher about the possibility of God creating the universe from a deist perspective, allowing science to partake on its own. I wasn't welcome back. I was six.
2. In grade 5 or 6, a group of Christians passed out New Testaments to my class. They then came by in recess, asking us to sign the back at them, where you acknowledged that Christ is your Lord and Saviour and all that. I was pressured into signing by these people, and my classmates. I was twelve.
3. In grade 10, I had a confrontation with two girls in my class who were originally from South Carolina. Admittedly, I was extremely attracted to one of the girls, so I think I gave her point of view more credence than I would do today. But we disagreed on the concept of evolution, and I heard my first real intelligent design argument. To be honest, till then I had never even conceived that people existed who believed evolution was false. I was fifteen.
4. In grade 11, the same two girls invited me to meet "Dr." Kent Hovind, the infamous creationist and tax cheat, none of which I was familiar with at the time. Two hours later, I realized that this man was absolutely off his rocker.
5. Grade 12, one of the two girls gave a presentation on intelligent design to the biology class. She was laughed out of the classroom. At the time I felt bad for her, because I still didn't know the sort of damage that ID had done in the USA. I still hadn't broadened my mind.
6. By the end of university, I learned...quite a lot about politics in the rest of the world, and I had a MSN conversation with one of the same ladies. It was 2004, in November, and quite heated - she was volunteering for GWB's campaign in Virginia, and she attacked my pro-Kerry views quite vehemently. She later apologized, but I am quite sure that she views me with incredible distaste...simply for disagreeing with her.
These things each pushed me further and further from religion. Trying to justify why I think abortion is a critical right to someone who screams about God damning us all to Hell....is an experience I never want to engage in again.
So that's me...