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.