From: PIET BARBER
To: ALL Feb-16-94 07:55:00
Subject: Closet Atheist
Hello, My name is Piet (pronounced Pete)
and I am an atheist.
I have been recently monitoring this conference, and I find a
very nice little feeling, being around those others who think
with such a free and open mind as I like to think I do. I am new
with this FIDONet stuff, so Mr. Moderator, if I am out of line,
please inform me of it quickly, and I will follow guidelines
(that I don't think I'm going to stray from).
In this little message to all, I am going to ask several things,
that I, quite honestly, have not had the forum to do beforehand,
because I have always felt that I am discriminated against
becuase of my beliefs, or non-beliefs for that matter. How did
each of you come to the conclusion that you are atheists? What
exact things clung to your minds so strongly that moved you away
from traditional thinking?
I was in the 9th grade. At that time, I was devout Orthodox
Christian. My father was formerly an Episcopal priest, converted
to Russian Orthodoxy, and pretty religious as far as fathers go.
Not gloom-n-doom type religious, but religion was something that
is dear to him. One of my friends at school was atheist, and he
said things to me (specifics I do not remember) that made me
think about religion all over again.
How does religion address the ideas that it used to back, such as
geocentrism, flat earths, purgatory? The Bible said that the 3
sons of Noah went to the four corners of the earth (or was it the
tower of Babel) signifying that the earth was flat like a table
mat. Religious leaders followed this rigidly, even though sailors
and merchants well knew that the world was round.
Galileo, a great mind of his time; the first to point a telescope
at the heavens to see what was out there. Cardinals and bishops
refused to look through the telescope to see the moons orbiting
Jupiter, only because they knew that they were not there, they
did not need to look through it to affirm their belief. Bruno,
Johannes Kepler's assistant, was burned at the stake for
religious blasphemy, he stated that the world revolved around the
sun. I found it very interesting that ideas that most educated
hold as not such a big deal was an idea for which people were
The Crusades, I learned of in my freshman class of World History,
the Crusades, "zillions" of Christians off to Jerusalem to win
back the holy land. Battles so fierce, so gruesome, that some
soldiers who lived through the event had to wring blood out of
their clothes from fallen foes and comrades. This, in the name
of the peace-loving God?!?
The lines for my final freedom from religious half-truths,
programmed in my mind for all of my life, had been drawn.
You may be wondering (or yawning for that fact) what pushed me
over the edge into reason. A movie that wasn't even supposed to
have this effect on me, forged the steel of my now atheist
beliefs: Clan of the Cave Bear. My mom was watching a video tape
of it, and Heck, I wasn't even watching it. One of the
characters in the movie said something about the wind blowing
because of the wind god or something like that.
I stopped. I thought about it. It all became clear.
Primitive Cave man doesn't have the ability to explain wind.
Coreolis forces, air pressure differentials, Hadley cells had
nothing to do with why the wind blew. The Cave man did not have
any ability to explain something in nature that s/he had seen, so
a supernatural belief was put in place of that void, that lack of
technological knowledge. I stepped back for a moment. Whoah,
What if... there are no differences between modern (ha!) religion
and what that caveman thought?
What I was thinking was "blasphemy" to my still religious side. I
resisted the thoughts, tried to supress my new enlightenment. I
still hung out with my religious zealout friends (heck I was one
at one time). I still went to Young Life Meetings, cause it was
the cool thing to do when I was in high school. I tried to
convince myself that I was not atheist. I had no support. No
one to turn to. I couldn't even admit it to my parents, they
would be so disappointed. I now am quite sympathetic to the
plight of the opressed homosexuals out there, cause my realised
atheism has made me feel different than all of my other friends
who are/were religious. There are too many parallels. Me and my
sister get along great, she's a lesbian. And our father does not
What I am is what you my call a closet atheist, I guess you could
say. I've since had... Gee, 7 years to reconsider coming out of
the atheist closet to my father. No way.
Why? you may ask.
Atheists are very discriminated against.
Don't think so? I sure feel like it. Every time I'm in a fine
conversation with somebody, and a third party reveals my atheism,
I often get looks of astonishment. "You mean... YOU don't
believe in the Almighty God?!?"
It's taken me a long time to be able to admit it to even
I often get phrases such as, "He's only 21, he's going through a
phase." "You're not an atheist, you're agnostic." "You're not
atheist, you still believe in God." "You are going to burn in
hell for not believing in the Almighty!" "You're young. You'll realise the power of God someday
when you become older."
I am currently enrolled at George Mason University in Fairfax,
VA, I have taken an introductory religion course on Egyptian,
Judaism, Islam and early Christianity, Canaanism, Babylonian and
Sumerian religions. In that class, I came away with overwhelming
evidence that Judaism, hence Christianity, was descended from
Canaan peoples moving into the highlands east of the Dead Sea.
"Evolving" from Polytheistic to Henotheistic Hebrews, finally to
the monotheists they are today. I often find irony in the
chastising of the Canaan Gods Baal (who Yahweh was modeled after
by the henotheistic Jews) in the old Testament.
I can out-debate (well, at least I do a good job of making him
look silly) just about any *real* Creationist out there, who
tries to tell me that the earth is only 5000 years old or so.
>Phew!< Well I have come out of the atheist closet to you
("Y'all", I have to say it, I'm from Virginia)
I now await your replies and similar stories that will no doubt
enrich my non-belief.
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.
Written on 02/15/94 at 04:23:57.
... Believe in the Bible? Hell! I've SEEN one!