Freethought Today · May 2014

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet a Musical Trekkie Member

Name: Christine Eldridge.

Where I live: East Providence, R.I. 

Where and when I was born: Woonsocket, R.I., 1969. 

Family: My husband, Darryl, and I share our home with a cat, Lola, and two dogs, Isabella and Kirk. I am child-free by choice and love being an auntie to my nieces and nephews.

Education: B.S. in music education, Rhode Island College. Clarinet is my main instrument, and I play with a chamber music ensemble. I also study piano, having resumed lessons two years ago after about a 20-year hiatus, and started playing the ukulele this year.

Occupation: Nonprofit arts administration. 

Volunteer work: Humanists of Rhode Island (vice president), Secular Coalition for Rhode Island (co-chair), active in community service as well as secular, social justice, arts advocacy and animal welfare causes. 

How I got where I am today: Help and support from family and friends, random luck, various personal choices and hard work. 

Where I’m headed: I plan to continue to learn, to help others and to enjoy the journey.

Person in history I admire: Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, for his staunch convictions about and advocacy for freedom of conscience and separation of church and state.

A quotation I like: “I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.” (Katharine Hepburn). 

“Heresy makes for progress.” (Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner). “We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” (Gene Roddenberry). “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.” (Robert Ingersoll).

These are a few of my favorite things: “Star Trek” (I’m a costume-wearing, convention-attending, lifelong Trekkie), octopuses (they’re such fascinating animals!), music, reading, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking. 

These are not: Cruelty, bigotry, pseudoscience.

My doubts about religion started: I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school. My first doubts came as a child, when I tried to reconcile a loving God with the wrathful being portrayed in the bible, the problem of evil and the concept of hell.  

Ways I promote freethought: With the Humanists of Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition for Rhode Island, I am active in working to keep religion out of government and to raise visibility for atheists, humanists and other nonbelievers.

I identify openly as an atheist and a humanist and hope to demonstrate by my words and actions that it is indeed possible to live a life that is ethical, happy and fulfilling without belief in a deity.

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