Name: Jamie Shaw
Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Former Religious Affiliation: Christian
My Twisting and Turning Path to Atheism
Hello, my name is Jamie Shaw. I live in Northern Ireland and have a happy life there. I am visually impaired, I am blind in my left eye and it’s hard for me to see in my right. I was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when I was young.
I lived in a mixed marriage household as a child. My father was Protestant and my mother Catholic. My sister and I were brought up to believe in the Christian God Yahweh, but we were always taught that it is ok to be different. I was a very annoying child as I am told. I questioned everything. But the one thing I would not touch in terms of debating or questioning was God. Everything in the world can be questioned but the subject of God was the opinion of my parents. Because I had so many difficulties growing up, I grew to trust and rely on my parents a lot more than the usual person. I had to rely on the answers my parents would give me until I was old enough to do my own thinking.
When I turned 13, I was given my first computer and internet access. This was the defining point in my life where I experienced the outer world. As I got older I became a lot more knowledgeable and experienced. I still believed at God at this point but it kind of took a back seat. Not much changed until I started to outgrow the family household.
When I turned 18 I moved out of the house into my own flat. At this point my belief in God was starting to slip simply because of my experiences in the world around me. But it didn’t really raise any alarms. A few months into living in my own flat, I started to conduct my own research on religion. I read The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth and also was a fan of a lot of Atheist Vloggers such as The Amazing Atheist and Thunderf00t. Unlike a lot of other beliefs, inspiration did not come right away; it took me time to think over what I had taken in and slowly came to conclusion that I was an Atheist.
I had no problems coming out to my family and friends. To be an Atheist is to accept reality, to not come out to anyone is you fighting your reality. I told my family one day I was over visiting. They were first angry and disappointed. My sister and I were best friends but when she found out she would no longer talk to me for a while. After a few days of silence my parents came to me and said they were willing to accept it. It seemed to me they did not mind if you were Christian, Jewish or Muslim, but Atheism is obviously not on that list. But things would not be like that for long.
In the last few years things have changed quite a lot. My family, friends and I are still together and things are going great. My parents have learned to accept me and are happy for my success over the years. My mother will always pray for me, but my dad has recently converted to Buddhism. My sister however is still a firm believer and attacks me for debating her on the subject.
This year I am directing a documentary called “The Non-Believers”. A documentary about the presence of Atheism in Northern Ireland and how the Atheist community need to make themselves known. Shooting starts in November 2011.Tagged with: aspergers • catholic • documentary • god delusion • greatest show on earth • jamie shaw • northern ireland • Protestant • the non-believers • thunderf00t