Why I'm Openly Secular

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Atheists. We get a bad rap. People assume we’re angry all the time. That we’re immoral. That we…um…worship Satan*. And we crash kids birthday parties and burst all the balloons. Just because we can.

The reality is, atheists are regular people. We go to work. We raise families. We listen to music. We participate in society. We just don’t believe in gods.

Why I became an atheist

I don’t remember the exact day that God stopped existing for me.

What I do know is that I was raised as Catholic in the height of Northern Ireland’s ‘troubles’. Growing up in the Glens Of Antrim, we didn’t just have religion. We had some world-class folklore and superstition too. Giants and leprechauns and banshees and Jesus. And I loved it all.

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An Atheist's Approach to Death

How does an Atheist deal with death? Two things have made me think about death and Atheism lately: a reading of Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion and the news that my father has terminal cancer.

Personally, I don’t think my approach to death has ever been challenged by the death of a close relative. I’ve only attended a handful of funerals since my grandmother (on the McGarry side) died back in 1985. Of course, back then I was a fully subscribed Catholic, but I can only vaguely recall her decline and death. I might tell that story someday.

But for almost half my life now, I’ve been subscribed to an Atheist worldview. In later years, I’ve mixed in a little Buddhist philosophy with this: Buddhists don’t shy away from the process of ageing and death, they accept it and embrace it. I read a few years back that some Buddhist monks meditate on skulls as a reminder that life is finite. Why pretend otherwise?  Continue reading “An Atheist's Approach to Death”