College Honorable Mention: Made with stardust, not a rib By Ana Almeida-Rojo

FFRF awarded Ana $200. This is an excerpt.

By Ana Almeida-Rojo

When I go to other people’s houses, I typically see Our Lady of Guadalupe pictures and rosaries in their living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, cars, etc. To them, these objects are necessary to represent a respectable Mexican-Catholic household. To me, they are merely masks of religious hypocrisy. I am a young nonbeliever of color. My anti-religious sentiments have developed through my science education and experience with religious folks.

Religious teachings only focus on the result, such as going to heaven or going through a suitable reincarnation. That is not a satisfying approach to life because it has selfish undertones. By utilizing science, people can learn more about the universe and obtain different views on life through various disciplines, including biology, chemistry and physics. Science allows room for discussion and disagreement. Religion, on the other hand, adheres you to religious texts.

Being a nonbeliever is difficult, but being a nonbeliever and a person of color is even more difficult because many or most people of color will bash and disown those who do not believe in God. It is extremely hard to express any negative opinions on religion or else you bring shame to the whole family.

Young freethinkers of color face special scrutiny in exposing their views on religion, because people of color emphasize religion in all aspects of life. I believe private events could help young freethinkers of color feel welcome and comfortable in their ideas.

Religion dehumanizes people and their hard work. It angers me that nonbelievers are judged to no end just because they do not hold religious views. Nonbelievers could discover a cure, could put their hearts in volunteering, could feed the homeless, but still be disregarded as positive contributors to society.

The secular movement has become more popular, but there is still more progress to go.
Ana, 21, was born in Mexico, but has lived in Roswell, Ga., for most of her life. She attends Oglethorpe University. She enjoys trying new foods/restaurants, playing arcade games and listening to music.

Freedom From Religion Foundation