Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1183)

Jan 30, 2013

I would like to begin at the beginning; I consider myself remarkably fortunate not to have had the same experiences with childhood indoctrination as so many other people have had. I was lucky enough to be raised by a family of 'secret Christians'- that is, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church who had to hide their faith while living in the Soviet Union, who therefore do not preach from soap boxes with megaphones the way American fundamentalists do. This, coupled with my parents' busy life, ensured that they never had adequate time to pound fairy-tales into my head.

I grew up an atheist by default; I loved science and the answers it gave me 'clicked' more logically than religious dogma ever could. What I knew of religion I learned from horror movies, the History Channel, and, eventually from reading the Bible (for high school English class). I never myself contemplated a personal god for more than five seconds at a time.

In my miserable teenage years, however, two things happened that changed my life. Firstly, I informally converted to Wicca, which I saw as a nondestructive, individualistic alternative to the Abrahamic faiths. And frankly, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

And then I read 'The God Delusion', and it wasn't so much a blast but a sharp rapping on the door, with my rational voice speaking in the background: “Are you seriously on board with this idea of a compassionate force guiding your life? Since when have you ever believed that? Since when have you ever needed to believe in that?”

I renounced Wicca the next day, after approximately six months, because I realized that no matter how much fun it was, it was only ever a game, which led me to conclude that if I can't even have faith in a religion that I LIKE, then there's no hope for my ever becoming religious, not even spiritual.

I have since rekindled my love of science (biology and astronomy in particular) and plan to pursue a career in this field. So, I have been inspired by Prof. Dawkins in many more ways than one, and hope that I get to attend one of his lectures, or even meet him someday in the near future.

Svitlana
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