Eric Fromm: Lifting the Curtain
Yes, you read that correctly, I am an atheist. For those of you who didn’t already know about my nonbelief, this news may be a bit shocking, but I was an atheist long before I came to NCU. I was baptized Lutheran, and raised Methodist, but as time went on I slowly came to the conclusion that God wasn’t real. For me, church was an empty ritual that I participated in so I could see friends, scripture was largely mythological, and Jesus was a great moral teacher, but he wasn’t God.
Now you may ask, “Well, if you’re not a Christian, why did you come to NCU?” Truth be told, I came to NCU not because of its religious affiliations, but because it had a solid communications program. I knew that the school catered to Christian thinking, so before I enrolled, I visited the campus to make sure that the chapel services were comfortable enough that I could fulfill the requirement. No one was speaking in tongues or handling snakes, so I decided to stay.
I was very excited to begin my freshman year. I was starting a new life in a new city, I was growing up, and I was making friends. Because of my friends, NCU became a place that I could actually call home. I was comfortable. I was accepted. But I wasn’t at peace. I struggled with religion constantly throughout my freshman year. I would attend chapel, see all the energy and community, and want to be a part of it, but I knew I couldn’t because I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.
I didn’t actually tell anyone I was an Atheist until my sophomore year. While my close friends accepted my atheism, others were not so kind. When people found out that I was an atheist, they started treating me differently. Sometimes they would verbally attack me, sometimes they would give me the cold shoulder, and sometimes they just gave me dirty looks. I find it ironic that some NCU students will talk about how they were ridiculed in high school because for their faith, but now, when the roles are reversed, they are doing the very things that hurt them. Matthew 7:5, right?
Every day I’m burdened by the fact that my peers might reject me because I’m different from them. I won’t be rejected because of my race or social class, but simply because of the fact that I don’t believe in God – because I am an atheist. I’m writing this primarily because I don’t want to keep my atheism a secret any longer, but I’m also writing this because I want to take my peers to task on their inability to accept those who don’t fit their Christian pattern. Growing up in church I heard a lot of lessons about how Christians shouldn’t judge others, but it seems like some people slept through that lesson.
If you would like to ask me any questions or have anything you would like to say about this matter, please communicate with me directly as firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-written by Eric Fromm and Brandon McGinnis