I was brought up with the (non-supernatural)spirit of questioning everything. I was born with an intense hope that there was more than just the empirical world, and I have always had a well-developed imagination. I explored many, many woo-woo versions of the supernatural. In my teens, I was talked into converting to Christianity, by my boyfriend's argument that “You already behave like a Christian, and all you really need is to be baptized.” The testimonies of how great things became after people found Christ at the huge church convention a few months later, sounded so appealing that I just had to try it out. I was baptized and continued on with the youth Bible studies. I read The Bible that year and found myself unimpressed. Once my relationship with the Christian who talked me into going to church ended, my brief and disillusioning affair with that Church of Christ ended. However, still armed with insufficient information, I continued to explore with the hopes of finding something *else* that could possibly be out there.
My few and very temporary epiphanies never seemed to change my life, and the things other people had to say about faith in anything and everything supernatural left me with more questions than I had at the start of my search.
I want to offer thanks to those in the fields of science for daring to explore beyond a defeatist “God did it” angle. I feel privileged to live in a time when the phenomena that have been found in the brain, which left me with so many questions and false hopes – wishful thinking – are beginning to be understood.
From a purely emotional angle, it has freed me of an underlying self-hatred. One that was the double edge to believing there was any purpose behind our existence. Though this idea may comfort many, it was a major cause of distress for me. After all, when you're good, and do things the “right” way, God is supposed to reward you. All the actors and writers and athletes who thank God for winning awards, getting rich, and having such wonderful families, for instance. Well, what about those of us who have not been so “gifted” with easy and rewarding lives from extremely young ages, and instead have been buffeted rather viciously, in life? My life may not have been the most horrible one on earth, but it was far from good. If I looked to reincarnation or any form of a God who is paying attention to us humans, then it would seem that my suffering was a result of being somehow born and/or living in a way that is wrong to this divine character. This leads to having to consider billions of very young, innocent children in the world suffering because they are somehow not good enough. But here I was, not indoctrinated to believe there was any specific God controlling my morality, and I could feel compassion and concern for my own childhood and the billions of others who are in even worse conditions. How could a divine entity of any sort that we humans are supposed to be a part of, or even based on, not feel the sort of compassion that I, a mere human, could feel? Letting go of any version of something Divine has freed me of the anger toward this something that is just not there. It has freed me of feeling that I must have been or have done something horrible that I apparently could never atone for, properly.
The facts that science is uncovering about the brain and human experience of the world has freed me from thinking the phenomena that kept my mind a little too open *watching my brain bounce away from me* might actually indicate there is some supernatural purpose to the world. This has been a major relief.
Reading The God Delusion as well as the articles that are linked on the foundation's site and forum has removed all the hassle of the struggles with agnosticism I had for about 30 years, on and off, give or take some months exploring one extreme or another.
I'm amazed with the universe as we discover it, and I feel a great appreciation for the fact that I am able to think about the universe as it empirically is, and not worried about what it was that I was missing by not being able to embrace a supernatural world beneath this one. I will raise my kids to appreciate and value evidence-based worldviews. As I hear people around me attacking science, because of my close proximity to the infamous Creation Museum, I feel an even greater need to instill this freedom of being able to learn more and more about our world and universe, as it really is, and not how some may wish it is.
Thanks for this site and the articles as well as the years of learning and teaching that have brought about an awareness of the importance of science. It has reached many more people than I suspect anyone could have predicted.