Posted by on Sep 17, 2011 in Essays | 4 comments

Name: Sylvester “Sly” Cotto
Age: 45 (1966)
Location: NW Indiana, USA, originally from NYC, NY.
Affiliations:Freedom From Religion Foundation, Member/ supporter, Military Religious Freedom Foundation supporter, “Facebook activist”  (haha)
Label: Atheist, Secular Humanist
Former Religious Affiliation: Catholic, former Baptist

My Story:

Despite my religious upbringing, I don’t know that I ever truly believed that the stories in the Bible, especially in Genesis, were true.  But this usually isn’t a problem for Catholics, many of whom follow church dogma more than a literal interpretation of the Bible.  That changed when I was “born again” as a Baptist while serving in the Navy down in Jacksonville, Florida.  I let myself be convinced that I was a “worthless sinner and needed to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior”.  This concept required that I accept as absolute fact, the story of Adam and Eve, for if there was no “fall from grace”, there is no need for “salvation”, right?  So I did.
Eventually, I went back to school on my G.I. bill, and while there, learned some critical thinking skills that I unfortunately (… or fortunately?) applied to my religious beliefs.  I learned more about  Evolution and the scientific method, and how these explain our origins and the nature of the universe far better, and more beautifully, than any religion ever could!  My superstitions didn’t stand a chance!

Nowadays, I’m fairly open about my lack of belief.  I donate to causes I believe in and I post regularly on Facebook and Google+.  I also airbrush t-shirts for fun, (…and money – lol), as well as to raise awareness.   Rather than the “angry, militant atheist” that even some of my family believe I am, I’m a happy, well-adjusted person that just happens to reject unscientific, fallacious, superstitious, supernatural mumbo jumbo!  I’m in a wonderful relationship, have two intelligent and artistic grown-up children,… and a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail!!  What more could I want???
I accept that one day my life will end, and I will cease to be.  So I say, “Live today… this is the only shot at life you’re going to have, so make it count!”

My name is Sly… and I’m an atheist.

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