Name & Location
I’m Bob Seidensticker and I live in Woodinville (though I plan to move downtown this fall).
How long have you considered yourself an Atheist?
Maybe 8 years.
How do you prefer to describe your non-belief?
I like “atheist.” Too bad there isn’t more of a consensus, since the many names we call ourselves fragments us.
Can you describe a personal event or discovery that had a major influence on your non-beliefs?
I never was very religious. After high school, I didn’t go to church because I wasn’t made to go. Then I got into a discussion with a fundamentalist relative on the evolution vs. creationism debate. I just started thinking and couldn’t stop. I’m sure he would have liked for me to have seen the wisdom of his position, but he (inadvertently) drove me to atheism. Still, it was a useful conversation because I was able to see, firsthand, a reasonably smart person spouting really wacky pseudoscience. It was enlightening.
Why did you join Seattle Atheists?
Great way to get community. One nice thing about church is community, and most atheists could probably do with a little more (and a little more opportunity to hang out with people of like mind). I think the first time I had the chance to do that was at The Amazing Meeting. Then it was the Seattle Atheists Meetup, and then Seattle Atheists. I found it invigorating and freeing.
What do you consider to be a common misconception about atheists?
That, without the Bible one can have no morals.
What is the meaning of life?
To figure out what the meaning of life is. (No, I’m not kidding. Christians apparently can’t figure out a reason for their existence, so they must have one handed to them. Atheists have the challenge/opportunity to figure out for themselves why they are here.)
What are 1 or 2 of your favorite atheist-related websites?
I like the Skeptics Annotated Bible (www.skepticsannotatedbible.com). I have a back-burner project to read some of the Bible, but it goes so slowly because I want to read both the Bible and the skeptical commentary (like this one).
If you could have a serious discussion or debate with one living person in the world, who would it be?
I read that Jim Bakker said that he’d never read the Bible all the way through until he got to prison. I wonder how many other leading evangelists (Ted Haggard, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc.) have really thought deeply about the foundations of Christianity. I’d like to talk with one of them, not because I expect to de-convert them, but so I can see how deep their convictions go. Do they just talk the talk because it gives them power? Are they actually deep-thinking philosophers who have well-reasoned answers to the dilemmas of Christianity? It would be an interesting conversation.