High school essay honorable mentions: No limiting myself as a freethinker By Noelle Shaw

I am told day after day that I need to believe in God or to find Jesus. It’s especially hard to see the look in my grandmother’s eyes as I say that I reject her fictional idol, for she fears that I will burn in hell. I explain that my soul cannot burn because it is not a physical entity and I try to change the subject to one of the many problems that actually need solving in the real world.

Science has taught me about gathering evidence and analyzing results, and that the bible has spewed lies to me. History has taught me that people were told false truths and manipulated by the church. Religion is nothing more than several stories that men wrote and continue to use in order to gain power over people and control them. It’s nothing but a way to deal with the fear of death and the end. It is nothing but a security blanket for some people to hide under rather than growing up and taking responsibility for the realities of the world. I am not going to limit myself so that I can feel safe in ignorance. That is why I am a freethinker.

Noelle Shaw, 18, lives in Arcata, Calif., and will be attending San Diego State University, where she plans to major in environmental engineering.

Freedom From Religion Foundation