“Meet the Officers” is a biographical series that seeks to give names and personalities to the officers who run Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics. Every two weeks, the blog will update with a post about a new officer.
Sam's Secular Story
Even though I grew up in a Catholic home, I guess you could say I was always atheistic. If you asked my parents, they would tell you I questioned everything. I was the kind of person who frequently searched for answers and wondered how things work. I would be unsatisfied if people gave me the classic response, "Because it just is." So you can imagine that whenever I asked about God and Jesus and Heaven and received that response, I got rather frustrated. I needed to understand, and no one could help me do that. That probably led to my high degree of skepticism that I carry through up to today.
Catholicism was something I continued to struggle with during my teenage years. My parents sent me to CCD every Wednesday. I was eventually asked to leave--imagine why! My parents were rather upset with me, but they finally understood I would never get it and they could no longer force it upon me, so they just stopped taking me to church. "Thank goodness," I thought to myself.
At that point, I was no longer Catholic, but I really didn't know what to believe. I was basically doing my own search for a while. I can say that in my sophomore year of high school when I took the course AP World History, I finally became content. We spent a unit studying all the world religions. We also studied how they led to conflicts and war and how they formed the types of government and cultural practices, etc. After going through that, I finally decided that religion in general was absurd. From the midpoint of that year, I identified as an atheist. In reality, you could say I was more of a moral nihilist.
This kept up for a few years until I began studying philosophy in senior literature class. Although, we explored Christian Literature, we also studied Locke, Camus, Nietzsche, and several others. At this point I began to spend more time developing my own world view. Furthermore, I realized that it did not have to be absolute. My world view could be fluid and I could continuously change how I think about things as I gain more evidence and listen to what other people have to say.