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Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Featured | 1 comment

 

Name: James Greensweight

Born: Dec 3, 1973

Location: Arizona

Label: Atheist

Former Religious Affliliation: None

 
 
 

My name is James Greensweight.

I am a High School history teacher and former soldier having spent 4 years in the 82nd Airborne. I am a hobby musician, draw, write, play videogames and participate in the SCA (A Medieval reenactment group).  I can’t tell you how I became an Atheist because I’ve never really believed in religion. I was taken to Sunday school as a child a couple times, but the stories always struck me as just stories, not as something real. I looked into other religions and found many that philosophically I could agree with such as the harmony with nature of Native American Shamanism, or the idea of finding balance in Daoism, or the idea of not clinging to desires in Buddhism, but I never bought into any of the supernatural aspects of them.

Perhaps the philosophy that most resonated with me was that of Socrates, the idea that “The unexamined life is not worth living” I used to jokingly refer to myself as a “Polyphilosophical nontheologian” to my students when they asked my religion, unfortunately I teach them too well and a few started figuring out what I meant.  I became comfortable as an “out” Atheist because of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.  I never liked the wording of it, even if the “Under God” were taken back out, I wouldn’t say it. The pledge is an oath of loyalty to the government, a government that was built by overthrowing the unjust one that preceded it.
Instead I restate the oath I had signed to on becoming a soldier, and oath I felt more representative of what the U.S. was founded on. “I swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all threats both foreign and domestic”.  After doing this a few times I realized that attempts to “Christianize” our nation are a domestic threat to the first amendment. I decided that, while I don’t go around screaming “I’m an Atheist. Deal with it”, I was never going to shy away from saying it again.  It is my right not to agree with unfounded claims and it is my right to voice that disagreement.

I make videos on You Tube when I can to support Atheism. I’ve started a set on the history of evolutionary thought, going back to the ancient Greeks, and will soon start one on why History is incompatible with the Bible as well as one on the problems religion has caused through history vs. what it has actually given us in return.  Whiteowl1415 if you want to find me.

Religion has long been a means to control the masses. It’s ok to say you’re done with being controlled. It’s ok to say you’re done having people look to a Bronze Age book when making laws that affect your life. It’s ok to say you’ve had enough of being slandered by people who still believe in magic.  The same thing that entitles them to their beliefs and to be vocal about those beliefs entitles you to be vocal in holding yours.  When a person is polite about, it’s only fair to be polite, but if they get in your face with their words, you have equal right to get back in theirs with yours.

The other day I was teaching my students about Buddhism, this class did not know my lack of belief yet. During the lesson I mentioned that one of my coworkers used to be Buddhist.  My students asked which one, and what she was now. So I told them I didn’t know what she was now and that I hadn’t thought to ask.  One student commented that it didn’t matter as long as she wasn’t an Atheist.  I asked him why that mattered and he said he didn’t trust Atheists, but couldn’t tell me why.  Seeing this as a learning opportunity, I asked him what he would think if I said there was an Atheist in that class who might be offended by what he had just claimed.  Rather than answer he began looking around trying to guess who it was. When I said it was me, the class was stunned and a couple claimed I was messing with them.  I smiled and assured them I was telling the truth about it.  I like to think I have a good relationship with my students. I try to keep the class fun and I try to always be there for them when they need me. Many students have told me I was their favorite teacher.  I can only hope that my class that day left with a better idea of why people shouldn’t stereotype, and hopefully with an understanding that Atheists aren’t as bad as their pastors and preachers make us out to be.

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