Tiffany Greenleaf

tiffanyName & Location
My name is Tiffany, and I live in Kenmore. I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona.

How long have you considered yourself an Atheist?
About five years.

How do you prefer to describe your non-belief?
Atheist describes my position on the god question. Humanist describes my overall worldview. The International Humanist and Ethical Union defines Humanism as “a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives.”

Can you describe a personal event or discovery that had a major influence on your non-beliefs?
I was raised a fundamentalist Christian and held on to those beliefs until 2001, when a few things happened. I realized that as a female, I was disadvantaged and inferior in the eyes of my church and my god. I started reading books about the Bible not approved by the church. I watched the Twin Towers go down on live television and vowed I would never again pray to any god who would ignore the prayers of those suffering around the world. After much agonizing and debate, I realized that I was an atheist and that I enjoyed intellectual freedom too much to ever go back.

Why did you join Seattle Atheists?
I believe increased visibility of non-theists is essential in our culture of fervent religiosity and fear of those who are different. Membership in an organization is one way of making our presence known in the community.

What do you consider to be a common misconception about atheists?
That the life of an atheist has no meaning or purpose. Since we’re not motivated by the hope of heaven or fear of hell, theists assume we have no reason to live. Instead, I feel that accepting the finality of death gives life more value and beauty.

What is the meaning of life?
How convenient of you to ask… The best thing about not having a big daddy in the sky looking over your shoulder is that you get to determine your own meaning. I think most people, even religious folks, will say that their greatest satisfaction comes from relationships and family, or from doing what they love – climbing mountains, saving lives, making art. I like what Bertrand Russell had to say: “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

What are 1 or 2 of your favorite atheist-related websites?
Some entertaining essays about Christianity, free will, and morality can be found on www.losingmyreligion.com. I found this website as I was de-converting, and it helped put things in perspective.

If you could have a serious discussion or debate with one living person in the world, who would it be?
Salman Rushdie, a writer of great courage and depth, a dissident, and an atheist. He once said, “Human beings understand themselves and shape their futures by arguing and challenging and questioning and saying the un-sayable, not by bowing the knee, whether to gods or to men.”

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