Hi, I’m Mark, I am 24 years old, I was born an Atheist like everyone else, but early on in childhood I was introduced to Christianity. I was never baptized or ‘saved’ as they so arrogantly state.
As far back as I can remember my Mother always went to church, and she usually took her children unless they were sick or something. But I do remember never feeling quite ‘right’ inside a church or even during the sermon. I know I wasn’t quite old enough to understand what they were saying or even the ‘message’ of the sermon, but something inside me always questioned what they were trying to say. By the age of 10 or so I started having more of these doubts and then the inner questioning came, like ‘Who made God”? and other contemplating questions that any 10-year-old would ask. My Mother always said “God has always been, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end”. And this never really satisfied me for an answer.
By this time, I usually went to church nearly every Sunday and depending on whether I wanted to or not, also on Wednesdays for youth group. I think I just went on Wednesdays to talk with people my age or to do some other activity. But even there, I still felt the same way.
In my mind I started calling myself an Atheist. At school I would hear people talk about things such as religion and beliefs and would sometimes hear ‘Atheists worship the devil’ and other nonsensical rubbish. Knowing what I knew, I knew I didn’t worship the devil, how could I or anyone else worship something that isn’t there? That goes for god as well. It always bothered me and still does about the misconceptions of Atheists or Agnostics, but that is a topic for another day.
I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends with the same disbelief as I did. Even though now, most of them claim to be Christian, or don’t call themselves Atheists anymore. It seems like I have been the only one to keep my stance on the subject, even though I would still sometimes go to church on Sundays and some on Wednesdays. But by the age of 12 or so, I started skipping more and more. By this time, it had become optional to me, even though my mom sometimes still went. Because this is the time in which I began to feed my brain everything I needed or wanted to learn about. Even though, admittedly I didn’t quite understand Evolution or other scientific subjects, but I always found them so interesting.
So, by High School I was an ‘outed’ atheist. Everyone knew that I was an Atheist. So, nobody in my family was really interested in what I felt about religion or my atheism because it always turned into an argument of some sort. So again, I had my group of friends to fall back on. By, this time church going was out of the question, and never even really crossed my mind. The funny thing is sitting here, typing this, I do remember times back then ‘praying’ sometimes when something didn’t go my way or something bad had happened. Good thing is I grew out of that, sad thing is, some people never do.
By my junior and senior years I had met my still current girlfriend. She never judged me or my Atheism, and that’s one of the qualities that I love about her. We moved out with each other, soon after graduation. About a year or more after that we had a baby girl, and we named her Kamdyn Julia. We only had about 7 months with her until a tragedy took her away from us. I never prayed in the E.R. but I saw my girlfriend pray and other family members, but nothing ever happened. There was never any glimmer of hope, or miraculous outcome. Nothing. So for me not believing in god, is this what I deserve? But what about so many others that prayed for our daughter that day to live, is this what they deserve for believing in god? For that day, many of our closest family members stood firmly beside their beliefs and it may have made them stand closer to it more than ever before. But for me, that was truly my first hand experience of the god hypothesis failing. It didn’t fail me, because I had already let go of false promises and the belief in god years before, but for so many others in that little room that day, when I seen the doctor come in and shake his head, I seen their ‘god’ was never watching over any of us, let alone the world. And if god does exist, did he choose to answer the prayers of a football fan, to help that team win a game, and excluded the prayers for a 7 month old baby? To actually take a step back and look at the tragedies in the world, let alone the loss of a child and to believe there is some sort of god out there is not only ignorant but its irresponsible.
No, I didn’t have any great revelation and run to the nearest church and begin to pray. This experience made me realize even more to cherish each moment, not only with our loved ones, but also the strangers that come in and out of our lives, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Because we don’t live forever, and this life is the only life that we get. We are so lucky to be here and be able to laugh, or to love one another, or goof off when we shouldn’t be, or simply ponder the universe and what is out there. Why do we need to be cooped up inside a church, stifling our thoughts, telling us what is there, and that we are born dirty and are vile creatures? This is not healthy for us folks, we have to learn to move on, from such disastrous notions. It also taught me a more disturbing lesson. It taught me that the world is indifferent in its disasters and tragedies, and things just ‘happen’. There is no reason or great lesson to be learned from these things. It just happens. No rhyme or reason. We don’t die because it was our time, or ‘god needed us more’. I have learned so much more about life through an Atheist set of eyes, more so compared to a religious pair, that I can say with my all of my heart “Thank god, I’m an Atheist”.