Hi Athiest Nexus members
My name is Mike Hipp and I joined Atheist Nexus yesterday. I am 42 and I live in the burbs of Atlanta with my partner John and our two Boston Terriers, Sammy and Phoebe. We've been together for thirteen years and we own a web based soy candle business called Soy Candles by Phebes. By the way, if you'd like to try out our candles, mention that you're a member of Atheist Nexus when you place an order and I'll give you all (my new friends) an extra candle in every order!
I have struggled my entire life to be a non believer. Not struggled in knowing that there is no god anymore than there is a zeus..... but struggled to live as a non beliver in a bible thumping country where you are assumed to be christian. I'm getting ahead of myself though. My story.
My family, growing up was not particuarly religious.... we were shuffled off to baptist churches only at christmas and easter. At 6, I remember this very very clearly because it was so obvious that I was being told a lie, I was at the local baptist chuch being tought about the "trinity". The Sunday school teacher/preacher was trying to tell us that god (father, son, hs) was like the three forms of water (ice, liquid, gas) but wasn't doing a very good job. I remember thinking that I wasn't being told the truth... I think it was because the preacher/teacher didn't belive it either.
Anyway...that was my ah-ha moment. At eleven my mother and father were divorced and my dad married my stepmonster. She was and is crazy... she was abusive to me physically and emotionally and eventually drove all three of us out of the house. Before that happened though, we started going to an assembly of god chruch and "found god". That church did more damage to me and my self esteem than any amount of abuse could have done. You know the AoG....... tounges, dancing in the isles, laying on of hands to heal, testemony.... the whole works. I never believed a minute of it, in fact I was in constant revolt but that just made it worse. The one good thing that did come out of it though was church camp.... that's where I confirmed that I was gay. :) Eventually, I left my father, mother, stepmonster and various step fathers behind, moved away from the town I grew up in and grew up.
Fast forward to present. I have been called brash, vocal and intense. I am a red headed, left handed, loud, gay and proud, vegan, animal cruelty abolitionist, athiest, who despises political correctness and not afraid to confront people that try to push their values on me.
As you might guess, I have never been swayed by peer pressure and could not care less what people think of me. I'm an activist in almost anything I believe in but have never really felt the need to be an athiest activist. Lately though I've been listening to a LOT of philosophy lectures from iTunes University (if you haven't checked that out, you should!) and have come to the conclusion that it is not enough to just be an athiest in a world where, to me, it truly seems that religion has done more harm than good.
Yes, as you'd guess.... Hitchens and Dawkins have been featured very heavily on my iPod. I just got finished listening to God is Not Great and The God Delusion for the second and third time respectively. I must tell you that I savor every word of both of those books....... the truth is just so powerful that it's undenyable and evident.
So there you have it....... I can't take the feeling of opression any longer. I see religion as being the major factor in MOST OF THE WORLD'S problems, from the middle east to catholic pedophiles to the falling apart of the US empire to gay and female opression. I don't think that my joining a athiest group is going to do anything special but I do hope that I will be able to channel some of my energy for the end of religion and it's choke hold on the earth to something productive instead of having it eat me from inside.
Where, I do get carried away. I'm really a nice person until you get me going on a topic that I am passionate about and I've decided that getting rid of religion should be seocond only to stopping people from eating meat.