Meet a member: Bernard Barwick

Name: Bernard (Ben) Barwick.

Where I live: Madison, Wis.

Where and when I was born: Milwaukee, Wis., 1945.

Family: Wife, Marie Barwick.

Education: Finance degree, self-taught sculptor.

Occupation: Accountant for 27 years, sculptor for 15 years, and took more than 100 volunteers to teach spoken English in China for 11 summers between 2002 and 2013.
Military service: Three years in the Army as records clerk in Alaska and Colorado.
How I got where I am today: It was 90% luck and 10% perspiration.

Where I’m headed: A long and adventurous retirement.

Person in history I admire and why: Lord Bertrand Russell. He was instrumental in clarifying my thinking on religion and the purpose of life. He was also one the most brilliant and prolific writers in history, on everything from mathematics and science to philosophy and ethics and morals.

Quotations I like: “Live to experience, experience to live.” — myself
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” — Oscar Wilde
“There is no sin except stupidity.” — Oscar Wilde

These are a few of my favorite things: Non-material things: love, experience and knowledge. Material things: art. I practiced sculpture as a hobby for about 28 years. I was passionate about it. I read many books, studied many styles and went to very many museums, galleries and exhibitions. I got to be a pretty good sculptor of various materials. When I turned 50, and believed that I was financially OK, I quit accounting and became a professional sculptor. I could not wait to get up in the morning and often worked late into the night, seven days per week. By this time, I was tired of lifting stone and breathing stone dust, so I switched from stone sculpture to clay sculpture and cast my work in bronze and high tech resins. During the course of my sculpture career I obtained relative success, won many awards, exhibited and sold in several countries. It was a great journey.

These are not: Arrogance, ignorance and procrastination.

My doubts about religion started: I was raised a strict Catholic. When I was 20 years old, I was confined to a hospital bed for 1 1/2 years. I had a lot of time to read and learn. When I left the hospital, I was an atheist. I had questions about my faith before that, but this was an opportunity to really study and challenge what was taught to me.

Before I die: Experience, experience, experience! I have had a very fortunate and wonderful life. I experienced and accomplished a thousand times more then I ever thought that I would. But there is so much more to experience and challenge and enjoy.

Ways I promote freethought: I’m a Life Member of FFRF. I live my beliefs, defend them and support FFRF.

I wish you’d have asked me: Am I afraid to die? Absolutely not!

Freedom From Religion Foundation