Name & Location
Patrick Carr, Seattle
How long have you considered yourself an Atheist?
Since 2000, about 8 years now.
How do you prefer to describe your non-belief?
Compassionate and dedicated atheist!
Can you describe a personal event or discovery that had a major influence on your non-beliefs?
I had a terrible upbringing with very religious, fundamental parents, suffering all forms of abuse. And I always had problems with the way traditional Christianity was taught and many of its doctrines. When I moved to Seattle in 1995, I began to study alternate forms of the religion, because I wasn’t satisfied with the answers that the mainstream churches were teaching. The final stage of my belief was “preterism,” the belief that prophecies were fulfilled in the 1st century and not coming in the future.
I had a confrontation in 1999 with my mother who informed me that it was somehow “god’s will” and even insinuated that it was somehow “Good.” Well that was the end of any belief I had left in the religion. it was already failing in the middle of 1999 but that did it. on top of it, a Christian “counselor” stated that I was to blame for some of the problems. I can’t describe the intensity of feelings when being told that abuse is part of some “plan.”
My greatest desire is for no one else to have to endure that, if even one person is saved, then my efforts are worth it.
Why did you join Seattle Atheists?
I went to a fair last year in the university district and met someone at the Seattle Atheist booth who know of me from youtube! He asked us to come to the barbeque the following week and we did. I was glad to meet a local group who had the same beliefs as I did and were also very kind people as well. Seattle Atheists were a perfect fit.
What do you consider to be a common misconception about atheists?
That we are some kind of horrible, immoral monsters who have no conscience. They state that evil and crime are only held in check if there’s a higher power. I completely disagree with this and in many instances in history, the greatest crimes have been committed by those who did believe in a higher power.
What is the meaning of life?
That’s an easy one – to help others be the best they can be and help them to find their dreams and hopes. A person can never be great if he or she doesn’t make others big around them. Many belief systems teach we are worthless people from birth in the need of some supernatural power but that’s not so, we are not born bad, but good. An atheist realizes this is the one and only life we have and so that makes it even more precious.
What are 1 or 2 of your favorite atheist-related websites?
www.truthbeknown.com – Not totally an atheist site but the author is a good friend of mine and her research on the origins of religion is invaluable.
http://exchristian.net/ – I feel a close kinship to those on the site who have left the same belief system that I did.
If you could have a serious discussion or debate with one living person in the world, who would it be?
Gene Roddenberry – I loved the way he idealized the lack of religion in a future society.
Share a favorite quote.
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
–James Madison, April 1, 1774