In the fallow years of my youth I was raised in a British evangelical free church full of warm and friendly people who cared about each other. In those formative years I learnt the value of love thy neighbour, of having an open palm to strangers, to not judge anyone for who or what they were, and to see the world with Christlike eyes. It was a time of many question many inquiries, and many thoughts which were only squared by tautological answers which required leaps of faith that did not sit easily with.
Around 24 and 25 I dated a wonderfully challenging man who made me think about life, the universe, and everything. He introduced me to the pale blue dot, critical thinking, and Dawkins. No matter what he could say or do he never managed to budge me from the apologetics of my faith, so comfortable was I with the ideas the faith put forward. Then one morning, with the clarity of a thunder bolt, he showed me a video of Dawkins talking about his book, and the professor uttered the line: “the bible is a book of Jewish tribal myths.” In that single moment the scales fell from my eyes and I saw the bible for what it actually was, and from that point on I was a child of Christ no longer. I had been born again into total unbelief, I was a born again atheist.
I think the reasons for this road to Damascus deconversion was due to the fact I am a student of history, and when the facts are weighed against the bible they do not stack up. It took a simple phrase to jolt me out of my erring ways, and like Paul to the Gentiles I am evangelical in my opinions regarding religion and rationality. Like many adult converts I am far more willing to vocalise my opinion, like a zealot I cherish the lack of faith I have like it is the most precious gift I can receive. I am aware I am using religious phrases to describe my total lack of belief in deities, Gods, and spirits, but for me this is the best language I can use to describe how I feel inside.
For me this life is the only one I have, it is the only chance I have to be true, kind, gentle, open, giving, caring, and positive. I firmly believe that the twin reasons for life are the propagation of genes through children and leaving a legacy, for nothing can be taken with you when you die. As I cannot have children (though could adopt) I am left with carving out a legacy which will shine far beyond my passing. In light of this I want to share with others as much as I am able, to share with others the gifts I have been given, and to ensure that everyone I come in contact with is left with a positive moment.
My ultimate outlook on life is that of a nihilistic atheist, i.e. that everything has an end point. Order will become chaos, creation will evolve into entropy. Yet, oh so beautifully yet, this does not mean I, you, should ever despair. Life is so much fuller than letting it drift by. Why should knowledge of death and decay be a reason not to smile or celebrate life? The idea of the pale blue dot, as so richly described by Carl Sagen is my clarion call, my testament to the world. This is why we cannot be islands unto ourselves, this is why we are all interconnected, and this is why we should all come together as one planet in a deeper understanding of the beauty of what it is to be human. We are the universe made manifest, and surely this is the most precious gift of all. No holy book or prayer to a non-existent deity can ever surpass this most wonderous of ideas, that we were forged in a supernova, and that when we day some day we will once again be rescattered to the galactic winds when Sol flares and dies. This is a far more wonderous end in my opinion. This is my testament, this is my life, and this is my destiny.