I've had a relatively good life. I was never abused, impoverished or homeless. I was born with loving parents, who raised me in a Baptist household. They were missionaries for years and I was a child, impressionable and naive. I was raised on a diet of the usual well-minded christian brainwashing. But my story only becomes applicable 2009.


Till I was 15, I coasted. Sure I prayed occasionally, went to church with my parents, believed in Jesus as the lord and all that, but I was never avid about god, save for the rare endorphin charged youth camp, a blend of theatrics and emotional music that will have almost anyone believing in god.  I suppose it had been wearing on me for some time by then to rebel, to assert my individuality. Perhaps it is not the best way to start a path to knowledge, but even stumbling upon the right way is better than not finding it at all.


I was sitting in my school's assembly hall listening to the preacher tell some loosely related anecdote when I snapped. I didn't know why I accepted this man's word as truth. I was confused, angry and hormonal. I left at the end of the assembly and went straight to the library. This didn't help much, as it was a christian library, the selection of knowledge pruned for the closed minds of my peers. But I knew now that there were other options, that they were viable.  


That concluded my time as a christian and moved onto the agnostic phase. That was an uneventful time, mainly comprised of me reading a lot and jumping through Eastern philosophies rather quickly. It was not until I went to a book week in 2010 and heard Richard Dawkins speak that I truly considered evolution and the subsequent doors it opened.


The day had been too hot, too long and I was too tired. One more talk I said, lets just stick around for one more. I had never heard of Richard Dawkins at that point, shame to say, so I had no presumptions leading into it.


But can I say, wow. He was charismatic, pointed; funny and most importantly he demonstrated another outlook on life and the universe. I went and got a copy of The Greatest Show on Earth and even got too meet him. 


Then I began to see. The evidence was there, an explanation to life without presuming any alternate dimensions, forces or pseudoscientific theories. It felt a lot like Neo waking from the pod in The Matrix. 


Since then I’ve read a lot. Physics, biology, archeology, I devoured them all. Sure, I’ve felt alone, depressed, hurt, and alienated at times since I opened my eyes. But what is a little pain in exchange for clarity, for freedom.  

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Comment by Alice Browne on October 2, 2011 at 2:25pm

I love stories like this. I tend not to get into discussions with theists because their arguments usually to boil down to "the Bible is true because the Bible says so" (and they cannot see the circular reasoning there), or some version of Pascal's Wager, or the tried-and-true "I just feel in my heart that it's true", and it gets very tedious. That's why it makes me really happy when someone catches a little spark of genuine curiosity, begins to learn how the world really works, and realizes that it's so much grander and more awe-inspiring than old myths.

Comment by Lewal on October 2, 2011 at 2:59pm

Our paths to truth and understanding are very similar. Seeing Dawkins speak also put a lot into perspective for me. I was a religious studies major at the time (coasting on a theory that Buddhism was the least of all evils), and started finding that 99.99% of the answers I sought could be found in one scientific field or another-- most specifically archeology and neurology as history and evolutionary mutation respectively. The other .01% I had to go to theoretical astrophysics for. It's rewarding if you can find peace with your conclusions. If you can quell the anger that flares at insolence.


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