Mom was a very religious woman. She told my siblings and me that she would rather we were dead than to leave the church. I was such a disappointment to the poor woman. My doubts began when I was in my teens. I guess it began with judgment of homosexuals. I knew my uncle was gay and I just couldn’t see how that made him an abomination. He was pretty cool; just four years older than me. It just didn’t make sense I guess that good people like him were condemned to hell while horrible people who just happen to be straight and Christian get to go to heaven. Heaven must be a really sucky place.
When I was 26 and going to school in Texarkana, Arkansas, the trial dubbed “Scopes II” was being fought. I hadn’t paid much attention to the Book of Genesis, but the trial made me read it for the first time in light of the science of cosmology and evolution I had been taught in high school. It became pretty clear very quickly that “God” knew nothing about creation.
Reading the Bible for the first time was such an eye-opener. Noah’s flood was such a ridiculous story. A “world-wide flood” that left no spot on the geological record; it could not explain the marsupial population of animals on Australia, nor could it explain the animals that were unique to the American Continent. Never mind the fact that there just isn’t enough water in the world, liquid and ice, to raise the sea level enough to cover the Appalachians, let alone Ararat. Clearly this book was a collection of mythologies and had nothing to do with historic reality.
Even the story of Jesus was laughable at times for its mythological elements. I had already read the mythologies of Horus and Mithras and had noted their similar story lines to that told of Jesus. Common sense told me that there was more to this than mere coincidence. Clearly, the authors of the gospels knew the stories of Horus and Mithras, both much older than the gospels, and fashioned their story of Jesus with these same themes and legendary acts and occurrences. It didn’t take me long to realize that this story was just as impossible and fictional as those other mythologies.
By now I had shed my Christian skin and had become something of a modern day Deist. The internet was now the rage, and I often engaged Christians in debate in on line chat rooms and bulletin boards. As I was dismissing a Christian for his lack of belief in the gods of other religions, pointing out that his own god had no more proof for “his” existence than any of those others, it occurred to me that I too was making the same error. I had no more proof that my impersonal god of creation existed than my Christian friend, or our other friends who believed in other gods.
How can I believe in my god and not believe in these others when I have no more proof of mine than they of theirs? It was in that moment that I came to the realization that I didn’t have sufficient evidence to sustain a belief in god….in any gods. God was just a word, an invented place mark for what we do not know about the universe. And in that moment I became an atheist.Tagged with: 1955 • AA • American Atheists • Atheist • Christian • deist • MAAF • Milton • Missouri Mormon • MO • RLDS • WA