I do not believe that there is a God or that anything happens after you die. I don’t acknowledge any religions and believe the world would be better off if there were none.
I did not always believe this.
I was brought up in the Episcopal Church where I attended youth groups and bible studies. I also spent a few years going to Young Life meetings on top of spending 8 summers of my life at a Christian camp up in New Hampshire. I would travel to the local Christian college every Sunday night to pray and sing praise songs. I loved God and Jesus for all they had done for me.
I would say I first starting questioning my beliefs during our weekly bible studies where I would travel to the local college and meet with some kids I knew from camp and high school. It was there that we would take turns constructing our own bible studies trying to answer life’s questions. That is where my life changed.
How I Challenged My Beliefs
It started with an idea. The idea that something omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent would have human enough emotions that it needed to be loved. A skydaddy of sorts, pulling the strings with the single goal of having its puppet children choose to love him. This was the Pandora’s Box that sent my brain spiraling and I had to find some answers.
One of my idols growing up was C.S. Lewis. Reading the Chronicals of Narnia as a child inspired my mind and helped me dream up great things. Later, the Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity would define my beliefs and sculpt me into the Christian I was. His ideas of natural law made complete sense to me and became the foundation of my arguments when defending Christianity. After my great revelation I began to dig deeper into the question “Where do our morals come from?”. Finally I’ve settled on the fact that over time, we realized that by working together for the greater good we can succeed in greater numbers.
Looking back I can’t believe I ever truly thought getting my morals from religion was a good thing.
I’ve seen so much hate come from religion it sickens me. People judging others based on their beliefs, sexual orientation and the color of their skin. Some of the things I learned from the Bible disgust me when I remember the verses in hindsight.
Then I started learning more about our country’s history and some of the quotes from people like George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson that expressed a distaste for religion. While searching I also ran across the teachings of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens which solidified beyond any doubt that the atheist point of view was the correct one.
Coming to the realization that I am a process of evolution and a scientific miracle gives me new purpose in life. My mere spark of consciousness is a gift I refuse to take for granted. Hopefully some day we will be free of religion which has stifled scientific and moral progress.
All of that said, I leave you with this. I may not be able to change your mind about what you believe. A good friend told me “Do not take your one chance at life for granted for one second. You will not live to regret it.” I hope someday you can do the same.