Name & Location
Mark Richardson, Renton
How long have you considered yourself an Atheist?
I was born an Atheist and, thanks to parents who did not push religion, developed the Atheist worldview (Weltanschauung, to use German word for comprehensive conception of the world) by my late teens. I was not completely devoid of religious influences being raised as a Church of England Protestant and, this is going to sound contradictory, going through the standard ceremonies of Baptism, Sunday School, Confirmation and Communion. I just didn’t take any of it seriously. I remember defacing pages of the provided Sunday School book with typically juvenile renderings of male genitalia. English Churches are not very welcoming places, typically being dark and cold with hard wooden pews to sit on. All in all just something to be avoided. Most of my relatives are buried in the graveyard of the church in the village of Littlewick Green where I grew up, but I think I’ll have my ashes blasted into space like James Doohan.
How do you prefer to describe your non-belief?
I classify myself a Hard Atheist but do not have the guts to make this known to the wider world (e.g. openly discuss the subject at work) so I am only partially out of the closet.
Can you describe a personal event or discovery that had a major influence on your non-beliefs?
No, not really. It’s just been a culmination of experiences and I partially thank/blame the BBC for making me aware very early on of the immense suffering of people in other parts of the world from famine and the like.
Why did you join Seattle Atheists?
To meet women. Seriously, it was only when I moved to the United States, specifically Wichita, Kansas, that I considered becoming more active in the Atheist community. I think I joined American Atheists when I was living in Wichita but did not consider that there might be a local group deep in the Bible Belt. Motivated more by the Bush Presidency and the influence of religion in US and world affairs, I had to join an Atheist group when I moved to the Seattle area. There happens to be an Atheist group in Wichita called the Maggot Punks.
What do you consider to be a common misconception about atheists?
Reading what the other featured members responses to this question have been, it is a common opinion that the others consider us amoral but we are just atheist.
What is the meaning of life?
Ask an Amoeba, but for us thinkers maybe to live in harmony with each other and the other life forms which inhabit the planet.
If you could have a serious discussion or debate with one living person in the world, who would it be?
If I could participate at the same level as the other person, I would enjoy a discussion with Stephen Hawking or another one of the experts in the field of cosmology. Although I have ruled out a god entity as the creator of the universe, it is still mind-boggling to think about how the universe came into existence.