From: email@example.com (David Mackmiller)
In article firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark
>an atheist who became an atheist for this reason. How 'bout it, people --
>is this a reason any of you became atheists?
Hey, I'm glad to see this kind of discussion in alt.atheism.
I first started questioning my Jehovah Witness upbringing in high
school when a 'worldly' close friend's mother died. I tried to
explain all the cool fairy tales the JWs taught me, like if she
joined our church she would get to see he mother resurrected (in
1975!). She was a devout Lutheran and refused to buy any of the crap
I was feeding her. At first this saddened me, because I felt she was
missing out on this great cheat-death-and-live-forever trick. Then I
realised that she was just as sincere in her belief as I was. And so
were Hindus and Muslims and Mormons, etc. That jolted me out of that
fundamentalist mindset and let me step back and take a look at this
whole god thing. After many years I became an atheist.
A couple of years ago, I married a woman who, while otherwise a
reasonable person, is a fairly devout Christian. Her family is
small-town Minnesota Lutheran, and while we are all unusually close
they still can't understand my atheism.
Two months ago we had a daughter. The birth was the most
overwhelming experience of my life. As my father-in-law and I were
looking at the 3-hour-old baby, he said hopefully, "Hard not to
believe there's a higher power somewhere, isn't it?" The most
tactful reply I could come up with was, "I can understand why some
people feel that way."
Any way, there were complications and the baby went into Newborn
Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a week with a blocked intestine. The
doctors said it could either clear itself up or else she would need
surgery for a colostomy. Well, right away the in-laws go into prayer
mode and before you know it the kid's on 'prayer-chains' throughout
the state. Guess what? The blockage cleared up. So my sister-in-law
asks me somewhat triumphantly, "So now do you believe in god?" My
"I just spent a week in the NICU and watched my innocent, helpless
baby suffer. She had tubes in her arms and down her throat and they
kept sticking more needles in her and giving enemas and she still had
to cope with the pain in her bowels. She hasn't even had a chance to
sin, so why would a god punish her so?
"Then I saw the condition of some of the other babies in the NICU who
were much worse off. Two-pound babies you could hold in one hand.
And crack babies. I saw one mother and father holding their baby waiting
for it to die. And after seeing all this sadness, I became even more
convinced that there is no god. Or at least if there is, he is not
a loving god who cares about people."
I think she understood.