Friday, July 06, 2012

Why I Am An Atheist #24: Mistral

Boston Atheists member Mistral  writes:

Though my family was more of the "spiritual-but-not-religious" variety, lingering bits of my mother's British convent-school education and my father's upbringing in a "good Christian home" filtered down to me in bits and pieces throughout my youth.  Neither mom nor dad pushed these beliefs on me -- indeed, they encouraged me to explore my own ideologies and philosophies, but it is hard not be affected by these threatening superstitions when you are young and impressionable (hellfire and damnation for even thinking bad thoughts is not taken lightly at five years old...). 

I had my own silent doubts growing up (conversations with religious friends routinely turned into nonsensical arguments with nonsensical "explanations", which left me frustrated and confused), but it wasn't until I reached college, in which I studied international relations, economics, and history, that I was completely convinced I was not -- that I could not -- be religious.  The more my knowledge of religion grew, the less sense it all made, and the more I studied the history of the world, the more apparent it became that religion was too often the justification for mass murder, torture, hatred, greed, bigotry, and suffering.  I wanted no part of it. 

Most importantly, I found myself perfectly capable of living a moral life, full of kindness and compassion, without the pressures of ancient and irrelevant fairy tales to shame me or threaten me into acting "properly".  It became easier, as I continued to shed the layers of superstition, fear, and distorted tradition, to take responsibility for my behavior; think critically about the world around me (and my place in it); treat others better; and lead a more fulfilling, productive existence.


This post is part of a series, in which members of the Boston secular community explain how they came to the decision to identify as atheists. To read more posts in the series, click here. To submit your own story, email