What atheism can do , Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1404)

Jan 29, 2013

About three years ago, at the age of 32, I was a new father. Although I still called myself a Christian, I had long been disgusted with evangelical politics and was no longer the die-hard creationist, history-denier I was raised to be, (although I was still under the naive impression that there actually was a real, and unsettled, scientific argument between creationism and evolution).

Upon the birth of my son, I was struggling to mesh the profundity of that feeling with the “Christian profundity” I had been taught to admire as a child. It wasn’t working. I felt an urgent responsibility to get a grasp on what life is, so as to have a means by which to guide my son through it. I thought, “If I am going to raise my children as Christians, I’d better know that I really believe it myself and that it is true.” Enter: The Blind Watchmaker, Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, The Ancestors Tail, The God Delusion and others.

I was a photographer by trade. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Photography so I knew only a miniscule amount of science. That, of course, is still the case, but my perspective has changed 180 degrees. The world I raise my TWO children in now is one that astounds me with every inch I learn about it. I have ripped the shroud of religious dogma from myself and tossed it out where I hope my children will only see it as they would the ridiculous fashion their father used to wear in the 1980’s; and I hope they laugh.

Three years ago, religion had left me a confused, guilt-ridden father who might have gone the road of fearing for the souls of his children and filling their heads with mindless dogma. Yesterday, I was accepted into Medical School here in the US. I will have the opportunity to learn the best of what science has shown us about our evolved, human condition and use that understanding to fight for the only lives anyone of us is ever going to get. Under the rags of dogma with which I was raised, such an appreciation for life and a motivation to save it was not even a remote possibility. Free from religion, if I can come this far just between the ages of 32 and 35; what joyous hope and possibility does that create for my children who will never have to wear those rags?

Thank you for that Richard Dawkins.


Bryan Firestone

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