I'd like to introduce myself
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15-04-2015, 02:12 PM
I'd like to introduce myself

I'm a 27 year old male from Michigan, and I'm just now getting comfortable describing myself as an atheist. I grew up in a good family attending a United Methodist church. I was actively involved in youth group, church conferences, and took everything pretty seriously. Upon arriving at college I joined a campus Christian fellowship called Intervarsity, started attending a fundamentalist evangelical church with my friends from this group, and started leaning decidedly towards the fundamentalist side of Christianity. My break from religion occurred after I met a Mormon at college and we became good friends, and even dated a while. I found myself caught in the middle of the debate between "orthodox" Christians and Mormons. I became disappointed with the hollow arguments based on subjective interpretations of scripture that both sides used to attack the other and support their views. My belief system eroded.

Unwilling or unable to envision a life outside of belief, and after becoming increasingly frustrated with my Christian friends' arguments against Mormonism, I decided to become a Mormon at the end of my junior year at college. I was in pretty dire straights personally and emotionally as I was witnessing my lifelong belief system erode and collapse. I was grasping for answers and I thought Mormonism was the answer. I gave it a shot, but it didn't work for me. I dropped out of college.

"We don't choose our beliefs." That's a quote I have been hearing often and, based on my experiences, I'm inclined to agree. For the past several years I'd characterize myself mostly as a drifter, running on autopilot. But after recently having what I would describe as a religious relapse, trying to turn again to religion for comfort and meaning after a relationship turned sour, I find myself needing to get my life back together, this time solidly under the banner of atheism. Atheism makes sense; it's what I must embrace. With the help of this community, I believe I can fulfill this goal.

My life was filled with positivity, purpose, and happiness before I lost my faith. Since then it has been filled with indecision, tragedy, confusion, and isolation. I believe that can change. It's possible to be good without god, without church, and without relying on pastoral counsel. I look forward to participating in the joy that life has to offer outside of faith, surrounded by those who share the desire to be good without god.

I'd like to share a moving quote I recently heard given by Lawrence Krauss in the film "The Unbelievers." Dr. Krauss was a faculty member at the same college I attended, and at the same time I was there. This fact makes the quote even more meaningful for me. My crisis of belief at college and subsequent withdrawal from college remains one the most significant and painful series of events in my life. It seemed like Dr. Krauss was speaking directly to me:

Quote:And so I hope that every student who ever goes to university at one point in their life has the opportunity to have something that is at the heart of their being, something so central to their being that if they lose it they won't feel they're human anymore, to be proved wrong, because that's the liberation that science provides: the realization that to assume the truth, to assume the answer before you ask the questions, leads you nowhere.
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