Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 10 December 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

College essay contest Honorable mentions

Why I’m not a theist

FFRF awarded Vicky $200 for her essay.

Walking to work one day, I was handed a brochure titled “Your Moment of Truth.” It told me to imagine myself on a game show with a chance to win $1 million. All I had to do was answer 21 questions. The catch: Everyone in the whole world was watching, and you had to tell the truth.

Questions got harder along the way, with the last one asking, “Are you a good person?” The brochure said that everyone’s reality is facing the Creator on Judgment Day. How could the answer to the final question be anything but a resounding “no”?

There are many well-documented arguments against religious faith. We can approach religion from the perspective of logic, reasoning about the probability of teapots circling Mars. We can delve into the science and explore the wonders of biology and natural selection. We can parody religion, worship Invisible Pink Unicorns and share stories of being touched by His Noodly Appendage.

I am not a theist because the arguments against faith are overwhelming, and because the benefits of freeing one’s mind and society as a whole from dogma are enormous.

Religion spends its energy making us feel guilty instead of encouraging us to improve ourselves and our societies. No matter how much a person works to please God, God will never be satisfied. So why bother?

Instead of making people feel guilty for being alive, imagine a world in which people viewed this life as their only life and their only judgment coming from the society around them. In such a world, people would be free to think and dream and do “good works” for the merit of doing good works, not any eternal reward.

To the person handing out proselytizing brochures on the street corner: Yes, I think I am a good person, because while I am not perfect, I work to make this world a better, more rational place. To do that and seek truth in a world saturated with religious superstition is hard.

As a proud atheist, my moment of truth is every moment of every day.

Vicky Weber, 21, grew up in Fort Atkinson, Wis., and will graduate in 2012 from Ripon College with a communication major and minors in politics and government and nonprofit business management. She plans to attend graduate school for library and information science. She serves as secretary for Ripon’s newly formed chapter of the Secular Student Alliance. Her interests include sewing, knitting and following politics.

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