Sofia was awarded $200 by FFRF for her essay.
As one of the lucky few raised without religion, I remained pretty unclear on the concept until about age 12. I seem to remember keeping a strange internal distinction between the concepts of “believing in something” and “thinking something was real.”
Believing, I thought, was like clapping for Tinker Bell during a production of “Peter Pan” — you clap not because anyone is literally dying, but because you agree to pretend that someone was. You clap because if you don’t, the woman playing Peter won’t be able to say her next line, and the play will grind to a halt. I knew that Christians clapped for eternity in heaven, but I just didn’t fully grasp that they thought Heaven.Was.Real.
I have an atheist (culturally Jewish) father and a mother who recently converted to Buddhism. Being anything other than a nonbeliever would have required actual exertion on my part, waking up early and schlepping to a synagogue or church. I am definitely lazy. I’m an atheist, but I haven’t put in the work necessary to be an effective member of the freethinking community. Or have I? This is supposed to be a persuasive essay, so let’s see if I can’t persuade.
Hey, believers: Becoming an atheist is easy. Just consider the question of the existence of god and take the null hypothesis. Sleep in on Sunday. Stop worrying and enjoy your life.
With minimal effort, you, too, can make sense!
Sofia Ross Voloch, 20, grew up in Austin, Texas, attends Austin Community College and plans to transfer to a four-year school. “My major is French. I’m fascinated by French history and literature. I enjoy reading, writing speculative fiction and drinking coffee.”