Meet a Deist Member: Steve Pinski

pinski memberName: Steve Pinski.

Where I live: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Where and when I was born: St. Paul, Minn., in 1959.

Family: Linda is the love of my life, best friend and wife of 35 years. Our two married children are also freethinkers; they made the leap much quicker than I.

Education: Bourgade Catholic High School, Phoenix; bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Arizona State University; master’s in electrical engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology.

Occupation: I work for the federal government. I’m here to help — trust me.

Military service: Retired with 20 years in the U.S. Air Force (10 years enlisted and 10 as an officer). Various jobs included maintaining the avionics on the F-111F, intelligence, acquisition and teaching electrical engineering at the Air Force Academy.

How I got where I am today: I grew up in a very Catholic family with seven siblings. I was an altar boy and received the highest honor in my high school, the Cardinal Award for Christian Leadership. I married at 20 and we raised our children Catholic. I was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Eucharistic minister and led services known as Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest. Linda and I taught the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the classes required to join the church.

Basically, I went to church every week for 50 years and was as Catholic as possible. As I went deeper into the Catholic Church, the growing doubts became overwhelming.  Finally, while reciting the Profession of Faith (Nicene Creed) one Sunday, I realized that I just didn’t believe the dogma and doctrine which I was professing to believe; I was not being honest with myself. So, I stopped going to church and started reading about the philosophy of religion. Linda, who had gone to church with me for 30 years, left the church as well, saying “It’s about time we both acknowledge the unreasonableness of all religions.”

Where I’m headed: I am determined to be mentally faithful to myself. I try not to deceive myself about all things in life. I enjoy reading about the philosophy of religion and why people believe what they believe. The human brain is fascinating.

Person in history I admire: Thomas Paine, who was a deist and wrote passionately about his beliefs and would not equivocate. Part one of The Age of Reason is my favorite book by Paine.

A quotation I like: “It is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing or disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.” — Thomas Paine

These are a few of my favorite things: Traveling, reading and learning about other cultures, beliefs and religions. In the last five years, I have read over 100 books, including ones on atheist, agnostic and theist subjects. I am a strong supporter of FFRF and the separation of church and state.  

A few of my least favorite things: People who persecute others for their own agenda: homophobes, transgenderphobes, racists, theocrats, etc.

My doubts about religion started: In grade school. Religion, in general didn’t make sense. The more I learned, the worse my doubts became. How could all religions claim to have absolute truth? At best only one could be true; at worst they were all false. 

Today, I believe all organized religions are man-made and false. It took me 50 years to break the spell and realize that all holy texts and divine revelations are myths and fables.

Ways I promote freethought: As an FFRF Lifetime Member, I try to respond to as many Action Alerts as possible. I also share my story and my lifetime of doubting organized religion. It’s amazing how many people have similar doubts (“De omnibus dubitandum,” all is to be doubted).

I wish you’d have asked me: “What do you believe?” I believe in God; however, I believe all organized religions are false. I most closely identify with deism, where God is simply the great mystery behind the existence of the universe. I appreciate the mystery of God; on the other hand I do not profess to understand this mystery.

I do not believe in an anthropomorphic, Santa Claus God who makes wishes come true, cures cancer and will save me from a tornado, but only if I pray hard enough. As a deist, I realize I am a minority in FFRF’s freethought membership. Conversely, I have never felt more welcome in an organization as I have amongst the atheists and agnostics here. FFRF is truly an umbrella organization welcoming all freethinkers who promote separation of church and state.

If alive, I believe Thomas Paine would also be a Lifetime Member.

Freedom From Religion Foundation