I am an atheist.
The only thing I and the many other atheists who contribute on these pages are likely to have in common is the lack of belief in gods. I am unable to state with certainty that these gods do not exist but will need extraordinary proof before I can consider that they do.
Who am I?
I was brought up in a normal South African home, sent to Sunday school, and educated at church run schools. I did my national service in the mid-sixties at a time where Calvinism was the national and military religion. No matter whom the enemy could be we would have god on our side! Through most of my high schooling and military service I was struggling with my beliefs and doubts. I had no one with whom I could discuss these doubts. I suffered through self-doubt, feelings of unworthiness, guilt and many other emotions. I am not able to state that at a particular stage in my life I was able to accept my lack of belief but it happened. I still had no one to confide in or to discuss my beliefs or should I say lack of. I read extensively and discovered Darwin, Ingersoll, Sagan, Russell and many others who all helped me understand and firm my convictions. The introduction of personal computers and the internet was like having a fog removed and I was able to find, interact and read the writings of others who did not believe. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Myers, Gould and Hitchens all expressed what I was thinking and feeling but in ways that I could only dream of. I became a rather rabid antitheist. I fought and argued at every opportunity until I saw the light.
Why make this post?
If through this post I and others are able to smooth the path of one person with doubt we will have made a positive contribution to their life. The theists who are likely to question their beliefs are not those who are arguing here or in other forums. Those who do will in many cases be members of families, congregations and clubs of theistic members. They will not have a neutral support structure. Atheists if known will in many cases have been shunned or avoided. The internets will become the place where they can and will look for help in resolving their quandary. Many will find the answers that they have been programed for and will put aside their doubts others will find answers for their questions, explanations for their doubts by reading all types of web pages. News24 can be one such page. It is important that the doubters have sane reasonable input from those of us who post here. This atheist contribution will contrast in many ways with the mostly mindless input of the fundi theists; logic verses emotional claims supported by no or very little firm evidence. By allowing those who do not participate to read well-reasoned arguments much more will be done in the effort to restrict religion to the churches and homes of the devotees. The quest to have everyone using their minds and being skeptical of all claims not factually supported is important. I will together with many others of a like mind be striving to provide a rational atmosphere for those who are in doubt to read, listen and question.
To those who doubt.
Ask the questions, examine the answers. Take the time to review and to question again.