Greetings, fellow free thinkers:
I hope you will indulge me while I introduce myself.
I have spent the better part of a half century locked into a fundamentalist Christian prison of my own making. Well, at least I was a willing participant in my imprisonment. But cracks began to appear in the prison facade about 5 years ago, which started me on a gradual course of enlightenment. I changed churches a couple of times, progressing toward ever more liberal flavors of Christianity. But once that snowball started rolling, it quickly gathered momentum. (My metaphors are all over the place—sorry about that!)
Finally, I left Christianity altogether and just referred to myself as the trendy “Spiritual but not religious.” However, spirituality without religion is not all it’s cracked up to be. It is mostly a quagmire of strange claims and practices that are impossible to evaluate. I was looking for something more rational, more grounded in reality. Next I found the Deists. They appealed to me quite a bit due to their very rational approach to the world. However, the one thing they are unwilling to give up is a firm belief in some form of singular deity. Eventually, I realized that I have arrived at a state of agnosticism and so I reluctantly said goodbye to the deist philosophy. Today, I tend to gravitate toward secular humanism.
As I have tipped over my “sacred cows” one by one, I have grown more and more excited as I feel connected to the person I was as a youth. That person was curious, skeptical, rational, always seeking answers but slow to take anyone’s word for anything without some evidence. That person loved science and read voraciously. He was also very non-judgmental of other peoples’ values. He was never afraid of what might be hidden under any rock he overturned.
Flash forward 40 or so years, and that wild-eyed young freethinker had somehow over the years morphed into a middle-aged right-wing nutjob fundamentalist Christian. That guy was miserable and neurotic, still retaining the curiosity of his youth but now terrified of turning over any rocks, for fear that the information underneath would bring down his house of cards. To satisfy his love of science, he turned to the “Intelligent Design” crowd, knowing deep down that it was all crap but superficially satisfied as he whistled past the graveyard.
Now, I again feel the excitement and wonder that I felt as a child, gazing through a telescope at the cosmos or hungrily devouring the latest discoveries in a science magazine or blog. Once again, I am unbound by rules handed down from on high that dictate to me what I can believe, who I can associate with, what I can approve of and what I must renounce. I am free to do what my heart and mind tell me to do and that is quite simply to live and let live.
Jesus Christ promised that the truth would set us free. He was right about that, even if his followers terribly perverted what those word meant. Or maybe he never said it—maybe he never even existed. At any rate, the words are true: Truth does indeed equate with freedom. But one must be willing and able to seek the truth wihtout any compriomise or restriction, and must be willing to let the turth lead where it will.
That’s my story. I am happy to have found a group of people like myself who have discovered the true meaning of truth. I look forward to learning from and with you all. Here’s to free and honest inquiry!