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Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 5 June/July 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet a Member: Bruce Press

Name: Bruce Press.
Where I live: Ellicott City, Md.
Where and when I was born: Born in 1963 in Agawam, Mass., grew up in nearby Longmeadow and finished high school in West Hartford, Conn.
Family: Married for more than 20 years to my lovely wife, Julie; two children, Benjamin, a freshman engineering student at the University of Maryland, and Alexandra, a high school sophomore who wants to be an actress; my mother, in Florida; five sisters and one brother, with me in the middle.
Education: B.S. in computer engineering, University of Connecticut; master’s in engineering management, George Washington University.
Occupation: After college, I took a job with the U.S. government in Maryland. I left government service in the early ’90s and continue to develop software and systems as a consultant.
How I got where I am today: I’ve been deeply influenced by my father, who recently passed away. He was a man of great integrity, best described as a caring giver, which was applied to his children, his mother and reached its fullest expression with his wife, who was quite ill in the last years of her life. While he always seemed like my harshest critic, my dad was always there and supportive.
Where I’m headed: My goal is to lead an unvarnished life, a life where my work, my social life and my passion are all consistent with my beliefs and values. I’m not there yet, but it is a goal I have and it gets closer all the time.
Person in history I admire: Voltaire, not only for his intellectual inquiry into a wide range of areas, but for his wit and integrity. His inspiration, and that of other scientists and thinkers, has led me toward my goal of being more fully committed to spending my time in ways I find meaningful.
A quotation I like: In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences. (Robert G. Ingersoll)
These are a few of my favorite things: Family, taking photos on fall mornings, science, cooking, eating, woodworking, cycling, camping, intelligent conversation.
These are not: Willful ignorance, cruelty to children, disease, influencing people by fear instead of reason, anti-vaccination propaganda, worms, humidity.
How long I’ve been a freethinker: I can’t remember ever actually believing in god, although I was pretty vested in my Jewish community until I was around 13 or 14. After that, I had very little to do with Judaism. It made little sense to me, and I just felt silly saying the prayers in synagogue.
Why I’m a freethinker: I’ve gone through the typical progression, from unbeliever, apathetic agnostic to atheist. I’m now firmly convinced that, while it’s impossible to prove god doesn’t exist, there isn’t any religion with a belief in a deity that is based on anything but myth.
This certainty allows me to pursue more important meaningful interests, like satisfying my endless curiosity and engaging with smart, creative people.
Best way I promote freethought: I try to be a decent human being and open about my atheism. I’m active in local skeptic and humanist groups, helping to host a monthly Drinking Skeptically event and a Skepticamp in Washington, D.C.
In these ways and by being active in social media, I try to promote a lifestyle based on reason and reality.

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