June 14, 2011
I was raised a Seventh-day Adventist. The hospital where I was born, the elementary school I attended, the summer camp I went to each year, the boys and girls club I was a member of, and the church I was actively involved in were all under the wing of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I lived in a bubble of religious security and anti-secularism. My first taste of the world outside didn't happen until I was 21 and moved out on my own. I was naive and insecure. One day I picked up a copy of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot at a used book store and my world was shaken.
Obviously, I wouldn't call atheism a religion. There is no dogma or philosophy. No set of rules of doctrines. It's merely the absence of belief in gods and the supernatural. That said, I don't have a religion to speak of. I have a philosophy and this Secular Humanism. From secularhumanism.org: Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity. Thus it is broader than atheism, which concerns only the nonexistence of god or the supernatural. Important as that may be, there’s a lot more to life … and secular humanism addresses it. Secular humanism is nonreligious, espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience. Secular humanism is a lifestance, or what Council for Secular Humanism founder Paul Kurtz has termed a eupraxsophy: a body of principles suitable for orienting a complete human life.
I'm an atheist and Secular Humanist who believes respect and tolerance for the personal beliefs of others is highly important and beneficial. I grow from and enjoy open-minded conversations with people from various beliefs and backgrounds.