Honorable mention — High school essay contest: Alan Dupre
Reason and rationalism: Why I reject religion
FFRF awarded Alan $200 for his essay.
By Alan Dupre
“Why don’t you believe in God?” When my peers in second grade asked me this upon finding out I was an atheist, I had no idea what I should say. When I first heard about religion, I dismissed it, as I did not see any logical or moral need to be religious. So, when I was first asked this question, I said the only thing my second-grade self could think of: “Well, I don’t see any reason why I should.” When that conversation ended, I felt awkward and embarrassed about what I said. But as the years went by, I started to understand more about the nature of evidence and logic. I soon realized that the reason I gave many years ago for why I was an atheist was the same reason I still reject religion today.
If I were asked that question again, I now have a much better idea of how I would respond. I reject religion for the same reason that I have rejected any other supernatural idea: I have not seen evidence that convinces me of the claims made by religion. As simple as it is, a need for evidence is something that all too often is lacking in today’s world. There is little doubt in my mind that humankind would be better guided by rational and evidence-based approach to beliefs than by belief in the supernatural.
In a world where we face increasingly pressing challenges, from the current COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, it is incumbent upon us more than ever to look to logic and science for the solutions to these issues. If there is anything that the past few centuries of progress has shown me, it is that we advance as a society not when we stay on our knees and look to the sky to show us the way, but when we stand up and take action, using reason and humanism as our guiding values.
Alan, 18, is from Phoenix and will attend Arizona State University, with plans to get a degree in mechanical engineering. In high school, he participated in his school’s tutoring center and environmental club. He also co-founded the organization “Intergenerational Buddies,” which had its members volunteer at a senior living center.