The Course of Reason

Reflections From an Atheist Student in Waterloo

April 5, 2013

Tonight, I have my last class of undergraduate studies here at Waterloo so I thought this week's post would be a good chance to reflect on my time with the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers of Waterloo (AAFW).

Currently, I find myself in the state of mind most people find themselves at this point in their lives. Asking myself: "Where did the time go?" Of course, it's actually been a long journey and much has changed in that time. Coming to the club for the first time I was shy and timid, a far cry from who I am today. As an atheist, I was exactly what you would expect from someone just coming out of his teen years. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens were the greatest men alive, religion was poison, and we atheists were smarter and more rational than the religious. Over time, my views shifted. Largely thanks to older, more sensible, members of the club who provided more nuanced and mature critiques of religion. Yes, there are times when we still laugh at the absurdity that religion can offer. However, we are careful not to throw that accusation around too lightly.

Community is something I've said campus atheist clubs can offer. The friends I made in AAFW are people I would consider to be some of my closest. Coming out of high school from a small town to a city, and not knowing anyone, making new friends was difficult. AAFW provided a place where I could go to meet people with similar thoughts and ideas, which made socializing a bit easier. Through these friends, not only did my views about atheism and religion develop but so did my political and social views. So I owe a lot to this group in regards to who I am today.

aaf waterloo new logo

AAFW was also responsible for getting me into blogging in the first place. The creation of a blog for AAFW gave me focus. A platform to write about atheism, secularism, scepticism, etc. Here I need to give a shout out to UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers, who posted some of my earliest work. Through them my connections to CFI formed and I don't think I'd be blogging for CFI if it wasn't for them. Despite some strong differences in opinion we've had, several of their members became good friends of mine as well.

Writing a post that has a "farewell" tone to it is, admittedly, out of place considering that I'm not leaving Waterloo after graduation. I'm coming back for graduate studies. I'll continue my involvement with AAFW, as well as my blogging.

The past few years have been good, and I'm looking forward to the next ones.


About the Author: Chris Burke

Chris Burke's photo
Chris Burke holds a Bachelors in Environmental Studies: Honours Environment and Business from the University of Waterloo. Next he will be working towards a Masters of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management. He's an active member of the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers of Waterloo student group. In his spare time he enjoys reading and playing music.


#1 Kyle R. Villarreal Sr. (Guest) on Friday April 05, 2013 at 4:22pm

I ve been an atheist for over 30 years now, only met one other, in person.Your a very lucky person.




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