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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Sixth place — High school essay contest: Paris Huckaby

Paris Huckaby

The divine proportion is purely natural

FFRF awarded Paris $1,000 for her essay.

By Paris Huckaby

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers that continues on forever, following the rule that each number is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers. In nature, it’s what makes up the world around us: the spirals of shells, the structures of pine cones and seeds.

Even spiral galaxies ascribe to the golden ratio, which is also called the divine proportion because of its ubiquity in nature — and ironically — because it’s one of the things to which I attribute my lack of religion. This kind of certainty and meaning that can only be found in the natural world is more beautiful than any of faith’s torn tapestries and gauzy platitudes.

My entrance into adolescence was defined by a desperate search for any kind of meaning. Unable to justify letting my childhood’s religious foundations scare me into hiding my true self any longer, I came out of the closet when I was 13. Most of my friends were religious, but I expected them to overlook the prejudices they’d been raised with because they knew me — I wasn’t any different than I’d always been. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.

Shunned by my peers and questioning how a religion claiming goodwill had only brought me pain, I found an unexpected comfort in science and math, grounded by their tangibility and their measurable impact for good in the world. That’s something that religion lacks — it doesn’t cure sickness, it doesn’t turn the sun’s rays and wind’s force into renewable energy, it doesn’t make up the very fabric of the world that encloses us. Science does. 

I’m proud to identify as agnostic because I believe not only in what I can see and feel, but in what is measurable. If we were to measure the role that religion plays in the world, I think we would find an unbalanced ratio of pain, fear and control compared to any promotion of peace or goodwill. Without religion telling us where to find meaning, we are able instead to find it for ourselves wherever we may choose, finding peace in knowing that we will rejoin the world’s natural harmony ourselves one day. 

Paris,18, is from Loveland, Colo., and will be attending the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she plans to study English, journalism and political science. She was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. She serves as a commissioner on her city’s Youth Advisory Commission. Paris won the local chapter of Daughters of the Revolution’s Good Citizen award.