1. Were you raised religious? What religion?
Yes, I was indoctrinated to be Christian, just like most atheists! I was raised in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. They have typical Lutheran beliefs, doctrine-wise (biblical inerrancy, creationism, baptism is the greatest thing ever), but with a super conservative set of rules (like no female or gay preachers).
2. What made you start to doubt your faith?
I just had too many questions for them. I wondered how Noah was able to fit all those animals on that ark. I wondered how the story of Adam and Eve was passed down. Then in an elementary school science class, we learned about the big bang and the formation of planets. That was when I realized that people don’t just talk about the big bang and evolution to be evil and anti-Christian, as I had been told. They talk about them because that’s what the evidence points to.
3. When did you become an atheist?
I didn’t start using the word atheist until I was in college. In addition to doing some research myself, I took a class on different worldviews and decided that my beliefs aligned with naturalism. At the end of the class, I wrote a paper on naturalism and nihilism which sparked a passion in me for atheism—and for writing.
4. When and why did you start your blog?
I was a junior at Grove City College (with even more rules than my childhood home—so much for growing up, moving out, and having your freedom). My husband (at the time, my boyfriend) was the only source of support I had, but as I learned about atheism, I started to have too much to say to just ramble to one person all the time. I had started watching a lot of The Friendly Atheist and JaclynGlenn videos on YouTube. This one in particular prompted me to be a silent activist through anonymous blogging. So one day I thought to myself, “I can start a blog, name it The Closet Atheist, and post every Sunday. I’ll use WordPress and get one of those cool .blog domains.” That’s what I did, with my first post in November of 2016, and since then I haven’t missed a Sunday.
5. Why the name The Curious Atheist?
I chose the name The Curious Atheist because atheism and this blog have made me want to continually learn about all kinds of things. It sparked this curiosity about the universe around me that was never there when I was a practicing Christian. The subtitle, Freely Seeking Truth, is also significant because it shows how far I’ve come since my title was The Closet Atheist and my subtitle was “At home, a Lutheran. At college, a Christian. At heart, an atheist.” Now I get to be my real self all the time, and I don’t have to hide it from anyone!
6. Have you come out as an atheist?
No one other than my husband knew that I was an atheist when I started writing The Closet Atheist, but I had come out to almost everyone I know by the time I rebranded to The Curious Atheist. Now I am open about and proud of both my atheist identity and my blog with friends and family.
7. Why did you attend a Christian college if you were an atheist? Where did you go to college?
Grove City College advertises its three pillars as its main selling points: affordable cost, rigorous academics, and Christ-centered community. I was attracted to it because it was relatively small, it was in a good location, and it had a marching band. Sure, it required each student to attend 128 chapel services, but I figured it would balance out with all of the school’s good qualities, and it would be nothing compared to all of the church services I attended every single week since I was born. Plus, I’d seen what an amazing time that my oldest sister had had at her Christian college, and how much my other older sister was struggling to meet quality Christian friends at her secular university.
8. What are your resources for learning about atheism and science?
Books and YouTube. I have a pretty big book collection, and every time I finish a book, I write a review!
9. Are you one of those angry, edgy atheists?
I try my best not to be. And I try to break that stereotype and call out other atheists when they act hypocritically.
10. Is your husband an atheist, too?
Yes, he’s an atheist! We came out to each other when we started dating in high school in 2013. We got engaged in 2017 and married in 2018. He had a very interesting but different religious upbringing from mine, and he’s written a post about that as well as a few others.
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