God, Pennies, and Spontaneous Human Combustion
Hello, everyone! First, I must confess: I am not a teen. In fact, I wasn’t a teen skeptic either. And that’s why I’m here. To help provide the skeptical resources, information, perspective, and encouragement that I wish I’d had growing up.
When I was 15, I began questioning the religion I had been raised in, and the responses were rationalizations, hand waving, and even downright hostility. Eventually, I had to stop denying the painfully obvious. Religion was like a pyramid scheme selling a cure-all answer to everything that, well, didn’t really answer anything.
If a resource like Teen Skepchick had been around to encourage those first skeptical sparks, I might not have spent my late teens and twenties looking for answers in Wooville, tossing pennies so that the I Ching (pictured above) could make my decisions for me (boyfriend #2—bad move, I Ching) and wasting an embarrassing amount of money on alternative remedies for my anxiety and OCD. (Funny how spending a fortune on what is essentially water when you’re broke does not help much with anxiety.)
(Continued after the jump.)
Much of my self-doubt and anxiety stemmed from irrational thinking, including the belief that “anything is possible.” People say that like it’s some wonderful, hopeful belief <cue bright-eyed hippies dancing through a sun-drenched meadow>, but the flip side is that even my worst, most ridiculous fears were also possible <cue psychic rhinos to trample hippies and infect those who survive with a hypochondriac’s laundry list of incurable, painful diseases>.
My beliefs in the paranormal and pseudoscience were serving the same purpose as religion, making my decisions and my reality dependent entirely on something outside myself, something that I couldn’t see, much less control. No wonder I spent my teens and twenties plagued with self-doubt and social phobia. I didn’t have the confidence that comes from making my own decisions or the ability to evaluate what was real from what wasn’t.
When I finally started learning critical thinking skills through my job as a book editor and ghostwriter (don’t be skeptical—we really do exist!), a whole new world of skepticism, logic, and achingly beautiful science opened up to me.
Reality completely blows my mind, and without an outlet for all the cool things I learn each day, I’m pretty sure I will explode. So here I am, saving myself from spontaneous human combustion one blog post at a time.
I Ching image source: Wikipedia Commons