Mick Turner, Converts, #(2038)

Oct 8, 2014

As a Gen Y growing up through the early 90s I had experienced the time when religion was still commonplace in public schools, with the idea that being Christian was what made people normal. Indeed I was quite devout during those years, praying constantly, feeling guilty about almost everything. In a way it was just like being imprisoned in a void of sucking up in order to feel like a good natured, mature and (here comes that word) ‘faithful’ human being. It wasn’t until my early 20s when I finally started to think outside the box. When I started to notice just how many people were coming out of the closet as good people who lack the literal belief in fantasy. Shaking off the indoctrinated state I had built up over 20 years was very tiresome, it almost felt like self diagnosis and self treatment for a mental condition that I was totally unqualified to deal with. Shaking off the myth also happened to be a huge motivation for my education and career prospects where I no longer felt the urge to remain subordinate to conservative Christian circles who in most cases prefer the company of those with lesser aspirations, those who they can feel sorry for and assist on an ongoing Mother Teresa style basis. And so came the barrage of generalizations such as ‘look – another angry, antisocial atheist!’ mistaking personal aspiration for selfishness and highlighting the outspokenness of many atheists as if it is nothing but causeless rebellion. I tend to think of the attempt to silence atheists with the old ‘look another angry one!’ accusation as nothing different to labeling black Americans as ‘nothing but angry’ during the early days when they had to argue their way out of the slave trade – they had good reason to be angry and their efforts are paying off in a morally correct way. My eventual turning away from such religious non-reasoning has encountered many friendship casualties along the way. It has been a deafening journey even for a layman like myself, but what keeps me going isn’t ‘faith’ in the way a religious person would define it. My faith is in human ability, compassion and persistence with driving this world into a state where it is no, longer bound by religious progress inhibition. Even if we envision that time to be long after our deaths, the consideration for the wellbeing of those we will never know is what makes us better, more morally considerate people than any ‘person of theistic faith’ who’s primary drive is to suck up for a better reputation in the mind of their god. Richard Dawkins was one of the most motivating, reasonable figures in my journey away from religious mind shackles and I have faith that his legacy will spread further. Hopefully there will come a time where the secular peace of the Netherlands will be seen as the inspiration hub of the world rather than the U.S and the Middle East.

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