Friday, January 24, 2014

Introductions

Well, first I feel like I should do an introduction. If you're reading this page, then the odds are you have no idea who I am. No reason why you should, so I feel like an introduction post is in order.

Basics


First and foremost, my name is Mike. Yes, I'm an atheist. This would be a weird choice of blog titles if I wasn't wouldn't it?

I'm just shy of 40 years old, I'm married to a beautiful woman, and we have offspring.

I'm being a little short on details here because I'm only partially out of the "Atheist Closet". Most of my friends who really know me know where I stand. My wife obviously knows. She's not willing to embrace "atheist", but considers herself more of a pure agnostic, so it's no big deal for her.

There are some in my family that know, and some that don't.

I live in Arizona, specifically Phoenix, which is a good city to be an atheist in, but I still have no desire to have my personal life impact my professional life, so the subject has never come up one way another at work. I'd like to keep it that way.

A Big Specific


So, how did I become an atheist? For some reason, this is a question that I get asked pretty much every time someone finds out that I'm an atheist. Sometimes people have a traumatic experience. Sometimes they're just raised atheist. I'm really neither of those.

My "deconversion" (if it can really be called that) happened when I was a child. I was raise in a nice conservative Christian home. Mom, Dad, and little brother in small town America. Dad was raised Protestant but converted to Catholicism when he married my mother, so no warring denominations in our home.

I don't remember how old I was exactly, but the seeds of doubt were in my mind very early on. It started with Santa Claus really. There were so many holes in the Santa story that even bothered me when I was young enough to believe in Santa. We didn't have a chimney and for some reason, Santa always came to our house when we were gone to church Christmas Eve, not on Christmas morning.

"How does Santa get in?"

"Why does he come to our house early and go back to other people's house?"

My parents were bad liars. I suppose that's a good thing, but the Santa story didn't stand up to even my childish scrutiny at the time. The realization that my parents had lied to me about Santa kicked off a flood of other questions, and the tall tales started falling like rain. Santa? Fake. Easter Bunny? Fake. Tooth Fairy? Fake.

Jesus? Hmm...

It took me longer to realize that Jesus was just as fake as the Easter Bunny, and I think it was because my parents actually believed in him. It was easy with Santa and the rest because they were in on the joke. They didn't believe in them either, but Jesus they bought hook, line, and sinker.

Of course I broke the cardinal rule of being a Catholic. I started asking questions. Let me tell you, that didn't last long. The fist came down on that behaviour right swiftly. I learned fast to not ask those kinds of questions, but just because the questions weren't asked doesn't mean the doubts went away. I kept asking myself questions, and looking for my own answers. I rule Jesus a myth before my 10th birthday.

I didn't jump right into atheism at this point. I searched around for a lot of years trying to figure things out. If Christianity wasn't real, then what was? I looked into eastern religions, Scientology (for about 10 minutes), and even paganism. Nothing ever stuck. I finally realized that the reason none of this stuff felt real was because it wasn't. None of these religions were real. They were stories made up to explain what people couldn't explain, to make a person feel powerful, or to keep people under wraps.

Above all, there was no magic in the world.

You may think that's depressing, but I don't. Not even a little. I've always been into science, and the fact that an invisible man didn't snap his fingers and poof the Universe into existence doesn't take away from it's beauty in my mind. In fact, it only adds to the amazement I feel when I look around.

I guess I'll wrap things up there. I think I'll meander if I go any longer. I'm always open for questions, so feel free to leave some if you'd like.