I owe the four horseman of new atheism and Dr. Dawkins and Carl Sagan especially for the sanity and happiness I now have. This was a post I made on my facebook to come out to my family. for some background I grew up in a young earth creationist, protestant fundamentalist home. I was teaching and preaching in the Church of Christ since age 10 after my baptism. Now I am a zealous anti-theist :)
Part I: Overcoming Fear
Well, if I really think about it I think it was after I reasoned there was no Santa and all the other childhood lore. For a brief second I thought what if its 'all' a lie. Then the fear got the better of me. That deep fear that you get deep inside that you cannot ever think that or you will be punished in hell forever a literal endless torture. Now that kind of mental torture forced on fundamentalist children sickens me. Well for many years I held the faith. Though my physical handicap the death of my father, my mother, my grandparents, my twin sister who died a month old. I thought god had a plan. Three years ago I really started paying attention to physics, cosmology, and evolution. I began to watch videos from all the "four horseman" , the only book I have bought though is the God Delusion. I think an atheist call to arms Dr. Dawkins old TEDtalk was also very influential. I started to see the real harm and separation that it causes. Then my wife got pregnant I was still regularly attending church the fear still held me as a 28 year old man. I was afraid of a celestial abusive father. My wife had a late term miscarriage and my whole world was crushed. See the death the name of god causes throughout the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish world. Millions have died in Africa due to aids largely because of the churches denial of condoms and proper use of the devices. I was slowly overcoming the fear of a celestial dictator. I started to really read the bible in the context of human suffering. The bible justifies a diminished role for women, bigotry of races, homosexuals and slavery. Some of these, mainstream religion has evolved beyond. Its core is still flawed though. There is no place for absolute morality that causes human suffering. As we learn more about suffering and what causes it our moral landscape should shift to end it. Many of you are parents and love your children would you ever doom them to eternal suffering? Well god would, what kind of father is that? We call killers evil. There is no scientific evidence for a creator, only faith (belief without evidence), feeling, and fear. Adam and Eve in the first story where punished for gaining knowledge. Its just a system of control dreamed up by bronze age philosophers and rulers to control a primitive society that had not started to work out its social morality. It was a good start but we have evolved past it. Man made god not the other way around.
Part II: The Good
Shortly after my loss of faith I became distraught. I finally let the last veil fall but with it the meaning of what life is and what its purpose was. I was raised to be a servant to the lord to put myself second. I was taught this physical life did not matter. That we were just a vehicle for an immortal soul that has to prove its worth to a invisible omnipotent creator. I no longer believed this. I now believed in rationality, evidence, and logic. I accepted the evidence for the fact of evolution. I know that we are but a small planet in a vast cosmos of billions of world. My wife and I where emotional wrecks. I was searching for meaning.
On September 15, 2009 it came to me. My daughter Madison was born. I then new my purpose and what I believe to be the purpose of all mankind. To build a better life for our future generations. We should strive to make a better life for our daughters. Holding my child in my arms I knew that I had to make a better life for her than I had for myself. Humanity now holds the paintbrush to paint the portrait of it its future. We must seize the opportunity and act before our sloth or wrath cause our annihilation. This is the only life we have evidence of having. We should not waste it on following ancient rules that cause obvious harm.
I also found true wonder and awe. We share 99% of our DNA with all other life on this planet. It is amazing to me to think that evolution guided by the process of natural selection in which adaptations are passed down cumulatively though replication has produced what it has. You can chose to deny evolution, but it is the single most tested scientific theory and it has withstood every test. There is also no other scientific theory to rival it for the explanation of life and how we observe it. Things that we will be every incapable of observing are inconsequential and do not deserve consideration. On a atomic level we are made of star stuff. The stars are the engines of the cosmos whose supernovas caused carbon and the other stuff of life to be created. To me this is truly wondrous and deserves appreciation. For billions of years you did not exist now that you do, do not waste THIS life.
Mine is not an empty existence. I fell love, I see beauty, and I feel compassion. We as a race have the ability to end suffering. Why should we not? I feel deeper emotion now than ever did before because I have found a real connection. Not one based on fear and obedience, but love, compassion and reality. So I plead that we abandon all division and do good for goodness sake.