I became an atheist at a young age. I went through Catholic Sunday school all the way until eighth grade, but I stopped believing long before that. Kinda around the age you come to find *SPOILER ALERT* that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are not real too.
Now, when I was younger it seemed to be a bad thing. Being that my parents and to my knowledge everyone around me was a theist, I kept my atheism to myself. It was my thing. Whatever you did was your thing. While we both couldn’t be right, I was okay with the notion that you believed what you wanted. However, one day that changed. One day it wasn’t enough for me to be an atheist. The world needed to know it. The world needed to know that the majority were wrong. And that innocent people died because of sheer ignorance.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001. We all know the stories. The truths and the fictions. The stories, the heartbreak, the unnecessary loss. As we, around the world, the atheist community can point to one specific date in time and say, “Religion is harmful.” A holy book…a god…wanted these people to commit these acts, all because “America” didn’t believe in the same nonsense as another group. This lead to a terrorist attack. Lives were lost. Solely, because of religion.
I was in high school when these events took place. I was scared. I was worried. I was nervous. But as the hours wore on, as more truth-filled information became available, what I mostly became was pissed. Pissed at what the world allows. Pissed at what is OK to believe. It’s OK for those people to believe they will go to “heaven” (no proof of existence) if they kill people who don’t believe like them. This is utter nonsense. This is a travesty. Why is faith a good thing? Why do we, as rational beings, say it’s okay to believe things without evidence. And on top of that, people are god-damn fucking proud of it. It all culminated in an utter hatred of religion. It’s cute that you think one man gathered every species of every animal everywhere and put them ALL on one boat. Cute. It’s a fucking travesty you think it’s okay to murder heretics. Twisted.
I was an outspoken, militant atheist from that point on. We’re better than this. There’s not one reason for the world to allow this mass delusion to continue. When 9/11 happened I was done with being nice and kind to religious people. You can like a different sports team than me and I can be okay with that. It doesn’t cause pain. It doesn’t kill people. Jokingly, you can be “wrong” about liking the Philadelphia Flyers. Religion causes untold psychological problems. Religion hurts. Religion kills. Period. There’s no excuse to be silent anymore. There’s no excuse not to fight for reason.
It’s best summed up by something I heard from the great Professor Richard Dawkins say at the Reason Rally in 2012. His point was to let no one who knows you, think they don’t know an atheist. That was my mission. That was my goal. Atheists are around. Atheists exist. We’re good people. And on the “god” question, we’re right. Period.