Skip to comments.Losing My Religion: Student Thanks Boston College for making him an Atheist
Posted on 03/22/2014 5:46:52 PM PDT by Diago
While I had doubts about the existence of God before entering college, I considered myself a Christian and checked off the Protestant Methodist box on my application. Still, I had some apprehension in attending Boston Collegea religious, Jesuit, Catholic institution. So, it came much to my surprise that nearly as soon as I stepped on campus, my faith in Christianity and God started to wane.
I took both sections of Philosophy of the Person my first year at BC, not because I was interested in the subject, but solely as a means to fulfill the Core curriculum thats a major part of BCs Jesuit identity. I hadnt previously taken a philosophy course, though I quickly came to enjoy the deep and abstract thinking required of the class as a contrast to the quantitative work present in my economics and finance courses.
We read a number of proofs for the existence of God, and as any good intro philosophy class allows, we examined each side of the argument. After both class discussions and my own thinking, I realized I sided more with arguments against God. I recall writing an essay disputing St. Thomas Aquinas five proofs of existence, my finishing line reading, Couldnt God have left more compelling evidence [for his existence]? Little did I know this marked an important turning point in my educational journeyit was the first time I seriously considered the distinct possibility that God didnt exist.
These thoughts continued during a two-semester Religious Quest class my sophomore year that compared Islam and Christianity. It was my first exposure to Islam besides what Id seen and read in the news, and I also learned extensively about Christianity. Never before had I gained such a detailed perspective on the origins, sects, and traditions of the two religions. The power of community provided by each faith throughout history was immense, and based on their shared teachings of peace and worship, it was easy to see why each has thrived and accumulated millions of members worldwide.
A major point of the class was how similar the religions are, and indeed, they are more similar than Id have ever thought. But by examining them so closely, I also studied their many differences. And those differences, most historians agree, have contributed to millions of deaths around the worldnot only between the two religions (The Crusades), but also due to intra-religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants (30 Years War) and Sunni and Shiite Muslims (Iran vs. Saudi Arabia & Iraq).
After a great deal of reflection undertaken both as a requirement inside the classroom and on my own, I came away with two conclusions. One, no higher being would ever tolerate millions of people being killed over the right way to worship him. Two, the differences between each religion made it unlikely that followers of both could be accepted into the same afterlife, meaning that, if there were a God, millions would be left out of eternal lifein my view, an unjust punishment for having the wrong belief.
Due to those two required core classes, by the second half of my sophomore year I had enough qualitative reasons for not believing in God. A class I took the following semester supplied me with more technical explanations. I enrolled in evolutionary economics, a course that discussed how humans have developed certain traits through evolution. Evolutionary psychologists believe that sexual selection and preference has shaped much of how we behave today, explaining behaviors such as riskier tendencies in men compared to women, outward displays of fitness to attract mates, and, ultimately, the development of a creative and intelligent human mind.
As one can imagine, the class required intensive reflection on views of human behavior that wed previously considered to be quite basic. We also expanded our knowledge by reading a number of evolutionary passages, including a section from Richard Dawkins book, The Selfish Gene (emphasis on gene). His work, in addition to meticulously explaining how natural selection works down to the genetic level, offered a solid explanation of how life began without a creator.
By the end of the semester, I fully believed evolution as a fact for the first time. Further, as someone who finds the existence of God and evolution mutually exclusive, it was much harder for me to identify with the Christian faith. But I was not yet committed to saying I didnt believe in God.
That changed the next semester, the first of my junior year. I registered for Philosophy of Existence to fulfill my minor in the subjecta route I would never have pursued had I gone to a different school. We studied a number of existentialist philosophers, some who based their philosophies in religion, and others who didnt. Two of the latter were Sartre and Nietzsche, known atheist scholars. Sartre wrote that the essence of being human is being free, while Nietzsche famously said, God is dead and we have killed him. They both provided a view of the world in which mankind had created the notion of God.
By the end of the class, and after deep contemplation, I finally realized what I truly believedthere is no God. Both the idea of a higher being, and the many religions of the world, were founded by man to inspire hope and influence human behavior.
Despite entering college as a Christian, two months from now I will graduate this Jesuit, Catholic school as an atheist. Ironically, the basis of that belief was developed in classes I was required to take based on Jesuit values and ideals the education of the whole person through BCs core curriculum. The Jesuits dont teach students what to think. They teach them how to think. Above all else, thats what college is for. And Im grateful that I chose BC as the place to learn that.
Editors Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.
Check with the cardinal newman society or you will regret it.
Don’t worry, the Pope says atheists can get to heaven too as long as they follow after “the good.”
Notice how it’s all about him? God didn’t give “me” enough proof. “I” can’t imagine a God who would reject those with the wrong belief system, etc. ad nauseaum. A fount of scholarship he ain’t.
At least he didn’t say, “Thank God, I’m an atheist.”
Or “And I was like omigod.”
Well, that looks like a whole chunk of his problems.
These aren’t actually Catholic colleges. The fact that they are still allowed to remain affiliated should be considered a heresy in itself.
Here is the key line
“in my view, an unjust punishment for having the wrong belief”
Quite vain and arrogant isn’t it, that this pathetic, nothing (in his own worldview), just time plus matter plus chance, thinks his view means anything at all.
he asked why couldn’t God have left us better evidence of His existence
he (the student) himself is that evidence
his professor should hand him a mirror
Nothing “makes” you anything. You become what you decide and choose to be. The “world” is a whole lot less influence than you would suppose.
Respectfully disagree with this conclusion. Whenever we see societies move to control others, it is a man-made initiative. We see man's sinful nature arise as witnessed by the Nazis, communism, Islam, etc.
Christ centered societies, though not perfect, offer a clear distinction from the remainder of the world.
If you doubt this, just book a flight to North Korea and upon your landing say disparaging things about the little tyrant. You'll quickly learn what I'm talking about.
I often wonder why 22 year olds (or there abouts), think I give a crap what they think?
He should go see the movie God’s Not Dead.
I have read other accounts of even statistics regarding the outcome of people who go off to college fully believing in Creationism and after just a few college classes they are lead to believe in Evolution by secular college professors who lead their young impressionable students away from the values of their families.
These professors victimize their students as they understand that the college kids are often away from home for the first time and are for the first time experiencing freedom and responsibility. They use that as as opening and encourage their students to question all that they were taught and all their family and Christian values and plat the seed of Evolution.
I know one who became deeply confused at Boston College
He was extremely bright, complex in understanding
The consequences are not pretty
The student was interested in computer Ethics
Computers do not have ethics, People do.
One thing this article tells me is that he learned absolutely nothing.
Where does that leave Catholicism, given the current (Jesuit) pope?
So I guess you are saying the current Pope (a former Jesuit) is nuts. If so I’d agree.