A Wild Eden Appears!
About me: I was born 16 years ago to a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses (you know, those fundamentalist Christians who go round knocking on people’s doors to gravely inform them that the world is about to be destroyed) living on the south coast of England. I grew up a devout, pious and totally sheltered child, and remained so until the age of about 14, when a number of things happened to me.
Firstly, and most importantly, I got my own computer. Luckily, unlike so many control freak Witness families I knew, my parents didn’t pay attention to my online activities. With unrestricted internet access came the discovery of a thousand ideas I’d never been properly exposed to, and it wasn’t long before I realised how practically everything I believed about the world was completely wrong.
I spent ages reading up online about the arguments for and against theism, eventually deciding that God didn’t actually exist and that my entire childhood had been based on bullsh*t. I was left with a massive gap in my understanding of the universe; a gap that was rapidly filled by my growing appetite for science, especially evolution and cosmology (my favourite authors were Dawkins and Hawking, who’re both now personal heroes of mine).
My interest in philosophy of religion soon expanded to philosophy in general, which remains one of my biggest passions (alongside science fiction, video games and eating chocolate). Also, my childhood obcession with the paranormal turned into a love of skepticism, fuelled by such awesomeness as this website, people like James Randi and books like The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan (which I totally recommend, by the way).
Another major event in my life around this time was coming to accept that I wasn’t straight or even comfortable with my biological gender (which I won’t reveal; I’ve since made a point of never mentioning my sex online since in order to avoid how people see me being affected by what shape my genitals are, which I see as totally irrelevant to my identity. Thankfully my name’s androgynous, so I don’t need to hide behind a pseudonym for this to work). I identify as genderqueer and, accordingly, pansexual; however, given how most of my family is still highly religious, like most of my opinions on religion and politics I’ve had to keep it to myself to avoid falling out with them in a massive way.
These days, I spent my time mostly messing around on the internet, reading cool blogs like Teen Skepchick, burying myself in philosophy and science books, keeping myself prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse by playing far too many video games, and trying not to drown in homework for my A-levels (which I think were invented to keep British teenagers so busy that we wouldn’t be able to rise up and take control of the world).
Anyway, basically I’m super happy to get a chance to contribute to this website, which I’ve loved since I first got into skepticism. I’ll hopefully be able to contribute a unique angle to the site given my LGBT-ness and circumstances living in a fundamentalist family (which probably quite a few readers can relate to). I’m honoured to be able to work with you guys and I’m hoping some of your awesomeness will rub off on me. Here’s to this being a success~
Featured image credit: MyLifeStory