Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What made me an Atheist?

I get the question all of the time. What made me an Atheist? Nobody believes me when I tell them that I don’t remember. My story is simple. I was 18 when I was hit on the head in an accident at work. When I woke up in the hospital, 6 months of my life were scrambled. I lost some things. One of them was the memory of becoming an atheist. I know it was a decision that I made because my wife, who was then my new girl friend, remembers me telling her about it. I made the decision just a few short weeks before the accident.

Not having the memory never really bugged me before, but it is something I would like remember. It happened 30 years ago so I’m sure that I am not likely to remember. But I have hope. Little bits of forgotten memories come back now and then. It’s a wonderful discovery process, and a bit disconcerting too. I find that reading books from that period in my life help pull old memories out of my scrambled brain. I’m still waiting to regain my spelling skills.

I read the story the coming to Atheism story of Amy Watkins today. Her story, Having a baby made me an Atheist, brought back some wonderful memories of the birth of my first child and early days of exploring what it meant to be an Atheist. Watkins was right, everything changes when you have a baby.

“Everything changes when you have a baby,” our relatives and acquaintances said, but they missed the point: everything had changed already. It was the baby, that fuzzy blur on the sonogram screen, pushing us further and further from our old world view.

Many things bring us out of the bondage of religion. The birth of a child is a beautiful example. One day I hope to have my own story.

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