Monday, March 19, 2012

How I discovered I was an Atheist

I say discovered, because like how Columbus "discovered" America, I feel my Atheism was always there, I just had not had the words to define it yet.

Lets go back to a to world before the Internet as we know it and even before personal computers, back to a time when to me The Information Superhighway was "South West St." in my hometown of Jacksonville, IL.  Why West street?  Because that was the street I rode my bike down to get to my local public Library.

It was here that I discovered "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths".  This was a great find for someone interested in astronomy but had no idea (yet) who the constellations got their names.  I read this book and others like it and became fascinated.  And troubled.  I can recall at about age 10 or even younger reading this book and putting it down thinking 'people used to believe these tales.  they thought they were all real.'  and 'people used to pray to these gods and they thought their prayers were answered'.  They built temples, they told stories, they Believed.

And today we don't.  And we take this for granted.

Obviously the next jump in logic for me was. If they believed this stuff and we don't, then why is the stuff we believe is true?

Of course the reason is very simple.  None of it is true.

Those were stories, told to amuse, to teach to warn.  It didn't matter that gods were Greek, Roman (and the Romans just adopting an entire set of gods for themselves is a different post!), Norse or Christian; none of them  were any more true that the others. All were equally as false.

My 10 year old brain was a crucible of ideas and a lot of things came together for me either at just the right time, or just the right way.

Astronomy lead to an interest in Greek Myths which lead to an interest in Dungeons and Dragons which led to reading more myths and their contemporary guise, religion.

None of these "caused" my atheism, they just gave me words to better describe what I was seeing all around me every day.  There is no God. Never had been.  And I am OK with that.


  1. My road to Atheism was a lot more complicated and happened much later in life. If only it had happened at a much younger age like yourself, then I wouldn't have spent all those years beseeching an empty sky and trying to be someone I wasn't, all because of the dictates of a book of mythology and Chinese Whispers.

  2. I discovered what I have called god even earlier than you did, Tim. At about age six, I started going to church (no, I know god and church are not the same) and in a somewhat similar fashion--it sort of came to me.Sans logic. Somehow I've been able to separate in my own gut those things that are based in what we humans call logic with those things we call emotions. It's very personal and I make no attempt to defend it or attack those who believe differently.

    I need to believe there is some force beyond me,called by whatever name, in order to help me to transcend my ego. I like zen for this reason. And, in western world the quakers.

    I think the traditional Chinese have it right: one "religion" for the young, another transformative "religion" as one grows older that refutes the one you had as a youngster.

  3. Thanks to your commenting on Greta Christina, I found your blog and I like it. It's now included on my favorites list.

    I have a blog also ( and would like it if you would put up a link to it along with the others. I refer to other blogs and encourage people to go to them but I have a bit to learn yet about linking. Eventually, I'll get there.