Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Essays | 8 comments

Name: Natalie Casanova

Label: Atheist & Secular Humanist

Former Religious Affiliation: Catholic

My Story

We are all amazingly beautiful and manifold creatures living among our own wondrous world inside an immeasurable universe. I believe in the stupendous science and nature of our cosmos, but not that it was designed by an archaic figment of our predecessors’imagination. Some choose to fill the great void of the unknown with theistic explanations instead of factual research and habitually use these ideologies to justify harming others. To me, this is unacceptable, and that is why I am no longer religious.

Indoctrination most commonly occurs during our youth because children are unassuming and highly impressionable.  Kids put all their trust in those close to them and rely on their kin for life’s necessities. They have no choice during religious instruction and are subjected to barbaric rituals, such as female circumcision, without any form of consent. Religious parents who use faith healing methods over modern medicine endanger their children’s lives and disregard scientific research. There is a reason the gap in intellectual progress was dubbed ‘The Dark Ages.’ One day, I will teach my progeny to be freethinkers and have reign over their own volition.

I’ve always thought it obvious that religions are built on beautiful, fictitious tomes that are used to teach the masses moral behavior. Various faiths hold different moral standards because of their distinct cultural domains. The main purpose of religion is to instill moral standards, but these dogmatic devices are completely unnecessary for people to be ethical. I find morality through my own desire to be treated well by others; it drives me to always act kindly and respectfully.

One of the greatest moral fallacies the majority of religions condone is the treating of women as inferior to men. It is absurd that half of the Earth’s population is considered subordinate to the other solely based on chromosomes. Women are suppressed worldwide and treated like objects or property not capable of choosing their own decree. Fundamentalist Middle Eastern denominations abhor Western societies because they generally allow women much more freedom and rights.

I believe all people should be treated equally if not found less worthy of trust or praise by judgment of character – not color, gender, sexuality, religious belief, culture or other form of prejudice. I don’t use faith or scripture as an excuse to pass judgment on people. I evaluate the caliber of person based on my interactions with them, not because some omnipotent unseen immortal thinks they are lesser beings.

Pious leaders are meant to be honorable role models, yet we frequently find them guilty of lewd behavior and molestation of children. This is ironic considering sexual intercourse is deemed to be unclean, and one of the most sinful acts one could ever engage in – let alone think about. How can anyone ignore this tragic and apparent priestly trend? These monsters actually utilize their trustworthy persona to commit horrendous acts against innocent children – a vile thought.

Religious texts also serve up enticing elucidations to the timeless and morbid speculations of life after death. Faiths guarantee an afterlife as an artifice to distract us from dismal thoughts of our inevitable expiration. I understand the realization that we are perishable creatures on this planet, just like all other living organisms, is not an idea all people can stomach. Death is permanent.  This notion was the most painful for me to acknowledge. It took me a great deal of courage, after a dear friend recently ceased to exist, to face these realities on a multitude of levels. The grim veracity of our demise is so dreadful, I almost long to believe in heaven again because it would soothe my vexed mind.

Because of our arbitrary existence, humans incessantly search for the meaning to life and craft fables to simplify our inexplicable origin in the universe. These creation stories are entertaining, yet not necessary to explain how we came to be.  Science can solve those queries and even helps us overcome obstacles to lengthen the span of our lives.  The only real purpose I have on earth is to live until I die, but my own motivation is to enjoy life to the fullest and positively contribute to humanity.

There are over 400 billion stars in the universe just like our sun; there are most definitely other forms of life out there somewhere. We may even seem like insignificant ants to some highly advanced alien organisms, but they did not place us on earth or speak to us through a burning bush. I believe it is lazy to identify something one simply cannot explain as an act of God, the invisible man in the sky keeping tabs of all of our triumphs and transgressions. Scientific research is the only unswerving instrument we can use to discover factual evidence for any theory or claim. Many dogmas deny research because it threatens their control over society.

The world – driven by technological advancement – is gradually releasing its firm grip on religion. The greater the spread of information, the less we rely on unsupported faith. My curiosity is ever-growing, and I will never stop asking questions. I cannot abide religion because I consider the accuracy of science to analyze our universe down to its basic intricacies, and faiths simply do not align with it.



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