Freeflo's Story

(Via freeflo)

reading some of the stories of courageous and deliberate action posted here, i find myself embarrassed at the mundane quality of my story. it has been said that most people grow up with the same beliefs as their parents, and i guess that's all i did. oh, i've rebelled in countless, occasionally beneficial, usually self-destructive, ways. but as far as religion; opposing the worldview i was born into would have meant becoming a catholic nun or perhaps a born-again fundie!

i was born jewish to secular jews. my folks were both perhaps agnostic, probably atheist, in terms of belief in a supernatural god. (mom's gone, dad "admits" now that he is an atheist.) however, the sense of our jewishness, our identity as jews - as a culture, a heritage, a POV, the tastes in foods, home-centered (not much synagogue-centered) family traditions, the larry david sense of humor, a feeling of being "apart", and a slightly arrogant view of our own smarts - prevailed and colored everything. i guess - i know - i did not fall far from this tree.

my life has not been conventional or easy. as i alluded to above, i've spent most of my life rebelling in other ways - underachievement, dropping out of college when i was "supposed" to become "at least" an optometrist like dad, years as a hippie, drugs early on, one interracial marriage, domestic abuse, two divorces, eating disorder battles, never wanted kids, social activism, whatever...but the fact remains i'm, religiously-speaking, much like my folks - a culturally jewish atheist.

i've never had the slightest experience of, or need for, supernaturalism. my long-ago 15 minutes of baba ram dass "be here now" stuff was peer pressure; new age was play and decorating with candles. christianity seems dangerous to the health of both my jewish and non-believing aspects - though i thank them for so much of the world's wonderful art and architecture. i love to learn and experience: having enjoyed a christmas eve celebration at the magnificent anglican basilica, st. john the divine, in my beloved new york city, i marvel at the artistry and beauty and majesty that humans can create.

the natural world and the mysteries of science work for me. the experience of a magnificent sunset, the profundity of looking at the exquisite specialization of a spider or sequoia and seeing evolution at work right in front of me - how can supernaturalism or superstition compete?

it was through technology - on the internet, starting especially at myspace - that my "coming out strong" as an atheist grew. reading the works of richard dawkins, sam harris, david mills,et al., being introduced to atheist groups and bloggers, joining the brights, atheist alliance, etc., enjoying the churches of the flying spaghetti monster and the invisible pink unicorn - all this has created a proud sense of community and changed me from an atheist to an Atheist...

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