Jaco Fourie, Converts, #(2323)

Sep 4, 2015

I was raised in a christian home in South Africa (you know, the country that introduced apartheid to the world). Throughout my childhood I was confused by my parents’ strict christian values and yet liberal outlook on life. My mother especially taught us to question things in life and never to follow the herd. Both my parents however cling to religion. At university I started to really question the notion of religion and god due to the fact that I was exposed to diverse viewpoints. It caused me great discomfort and led to the destruction of many relationships with friends and family members. Since then I have married a christian girl. About two years into ours marriage I realised that I was an atheist and that I could not continue in living a lie. Shortly after that I announced this to my wife, and she nearly divorced me. Things have not been the same since and life for an atheist in South Africa can be fairly lonely, especially among the Afrikaans conservatives. I have however decided that a life guided by reason is best. I have two young daughters, and I believe that I need to provide them with an alternative option other than religion. Religion in South Africa contributes to really evil traditions, including extreme racism, corrective rape of young women due to their sexual orientation, “muti” (African witchcraft) murders etc. and I refuse to raise my children in any way which may justify these ignorant evils.

I will remain devoted to logic for the sake of my daughters’ upbringing.

Kind regards


One comment on “Jaco Fourie, Converts, #(2323)”

  • I found your post quite interesting as I could closely relate to it. I’m familiar with the conservative Afrikaner culture that is closely tied to its Calvinistic traditions and understand the peer pressure you must have faced in publicly expressing your rational positions. My upbringing was fairly similar – raised in a Jewish South African household with relatively secular values. I too found this contradictory and, naturally sceptical, I gradually educated myself on the nature of life and the universe. After a long process of evaluating the evidence and rationally weighing the probability of design vs no design arguments, largely from education and debates from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, I came to the only sensible conclusion – that there is simply no designer and that we have come to be through a series of natural processes. My parents also still cling to religious beliefs, although I suspect this is mostly due to a desire to retain community affiliations, culture and traditions in a hostile environment. I can sympathise with this. But it is a liberating and wonderful insight to be freed from religious dogma! I look forward to learning more of the wonders of life and the natural world, and have utmost gratitude and appreciation for Richard Dawkins and other public figures promoting rationality and science over myth and superstition. I will never deviate from this position, unless there ever comes a time where evidence appears to contradict the fact of evolution and other scientific learnings supporting my position (but I’m not holding my breath). I will endeavour to educate and encourage people to do the same as I sincerely believe we would have a better world if we did so.

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