Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 7 September 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

College essay honorable mention

Why I’m an atheist

David was awarded $200 for his essay by FFRF.

When I discovered that a person’s religion is based solely on family, geography and period of time, I realized the only reason I was a Christian was due to an accident of birth. God’s message was not universal: Born in India, I would be a loyal Hindu; born in Iraq, I would likely be a Muslim; born in Egypt 3,000 years ago, I would have praised Ra, Osiris and Horus.

I was not losing any sleep over not believing in the other gods, yet I still firmly believed in Jesus. Something was wrong. The ease with which I was able to disavow beliefs in other gods made me reach a startling conclusion: I had never considered a belief in Jesus to be absurd because I had always been told it was the truth.

Rather than make an excuse, the simplest and most effective track was to disbelieve the divinity of all gods, including Jesus. I took my newfound, objective approach to Christianity toward the best-selling, most influential book of all time.

After reading the bible in depth, I realized that a lowly primate like me was morally superior to God. This troubling discrepancy disappeared when I considered the possibility that the God I knew for 21 years did not exist. Any attempt to redefine God as just or make special pleas to rationalize a loving God only convoluted the matter.

To remain a Christian, I would have to defend the indefensible notion that genocide, sacrifice and slavery were permissible. For the first time in my life, faith was no longer synonymous with morality, because it enabled otherwise ethical people capable of defending the most outrageously immoral acts imaginable, while reason renounced them.

Those who refuse to join the religious community may be labeled as wicked, but I firmly believe those who make the sign of the cross are defending an unreasonable, immoral religion.

David Cordoso, of Vallejo, Calif., is a senior English major at Cal State-Sacramento. His interests include reading, writing, video games, astronomy and “being an all-around skeptic.”

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