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Hello, World. I'm Openly Secular

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Hi, from Covington, Kentucky! The neighbor of Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

My name is Amanda Ashcraft. I work for the postal service, write numerous articles about ex religious life and childhood abuse, parent four beautiful children, and live openly secular as a humanism practicing atheist.

 

I grew up in a charismatic home in southwest Ohio, my earliest memories being that of a Pentecostal church with wonderful music, a very loving pastor, and always trying to get God's direct attention so I knew he was real. We had congregation members who would get "slain in the spirit", my own mother often cried in euphoria while speaking in tongues during services. The day I was saved at age five, all I could think of was how proud my mother would be of me. I really didn't understand who Jesus was and what his sacrifice meant at that young age, but my pastor still pronounced me saved when I repeated his magical prayer of acceptance.

 

You have to understand why I sought my mother's approval instead of that of God. My home life was abusive, but on the outside, my family appeared like an everyday middle class family in the 80's. My mother was a teacher, and my father was a machinist at a large tool factory. Being an only child, one would think I had it made, but as I mentioned, my home life was abusive. It started off just verbally, eventually escalating to more physical episodes, and even sexual abuse came into my experiences before I was ten years old. This type of home life caused me to act out in some of the worst ways possible, had me believing I was being tormented by demons, and truly set me on a path to get God to somehow help me, or at least get Satan himself to punish me for being so bad. To accomplish that would mean I had proof that God knew what was happening to me.

 

 

 

 

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By the time I was sixteen, I'd managed to get out of my family home but it was like going from one bad situation to another seeing how I was pregnant and married by the time I was seventeen. My parents had agreed to sign the license for me to get married under age. This was a disappointment on many levels for me... Read more at my blog The Bluegrass Skeptic http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/15/living-openly-secular-openlysecular/

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Your article is a good one, but I have to take issue with the last graphic. We get annoyed when Christians claim such people as Thomas Jefferson or Albert Einstein as their own, so we atheists must be careful not to engage in membership inflation ourselves.

The author of the poster was a little too eager or didn’t do his/her homework. As far as I can determine, these are the religious positions of the men in the poster:

  • Ernest Hemingway: atheist.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Deist.
  • Carl Sagan: agnostic atheist. (He denied being an atheist, but clearly misunderstood the definition of “atheist.”)
  • Mark Twain: agnostic; whether theist or atheist is to be revealed in an as yet unpublished portion of his autobiography.
  • Thomas Jefferson: Deist; a letter to his nephew Peter Carr suggests that he was also an agnostic. (He claimed to be Christian, but only in the “Atheists for Jesus” sense. If Jefferson was a Christian, then so is Richard Dawkins.)
  • Benjamin Franklin: Deist, although he supported the Presbyterian church in Philadelphia.
  • Albert Einstein: agnostic panentheist.
  • Charles Darwin: agnostic; whether theist or atheist, I am unable to determine.

While all of these men were undoubtedly secular, not all of them were atheists. Half of them clearly were not atheists, and only two of them definitely were atheists.

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