College essay honorable mention: Loving despite Zombie Jesus: By William M. Gardner

By William M. Gardner

I am an atheist, despite the harshness that word inspires, because I have always been more attached to people than ideas. I am a skeptic because I love; and when I love I don’t need a god to inform my desire to be good to my fellow humans.

A novelist by hobby, I tell stories and understand the telling of them; in this understanding can be unraveled the biology of the fantastical and the mythic.

A good little Catholic boy, I went to Sunday school and religion class where they would delight me with tales of a boy who slew a giant and a kindly man who overcame death. An undying god was a fascinating tale to a quizzical mind that toyed and tinkered with every other story he came across. This boy put the Lord of the Rings’ hobbits into his notebook with the Star Wars’ Jedi, and his teachers applauded his cleverness. But when he detailed how Frodo met the zombie-god named Jesus, the teachers scolded. I knew something was wrong.

If a god were a truth, why the panicked defensiveness? If his messages of love were so important, why was there so much hate in the world, so many people terrorizing each other in his name? And if god is the one true god, why do people who call him by different names hate each other?

Humanity is a delicate, complex creature, but you are just like me. You don’t deserve a god, dear neighbor, simply because you hope for one, but you do deserve, and have earned, my admiration and love.

We all want to reach out and be connected, especially in this modern era when it’s harder and harder to deny the evidence that there isn’t anything more. I love you because you try, you need to hold onto something. I love you despite Zombie Jesus.
William, 24, attends the University of Delaware and plans- to earn a degree in linguistics.

Freedom From Religion Foundation