Evolution of an Atheist
Joseph (Joey) Wichert's Story
My evolution to the life philosophy of identifying as an atheist involved many baby steps. Growing up Catholic I had questions that I was afraid to ask. I began skipping mass as soon as I developed the guile to dodge my parent's watchful eye…at around age 13. In my journey from there I dropped in on many worlds and experimented with various and sundry weltanschauung. I visited much of what my generation had to offer in the milieu of chemical enhancement. At one point I tried very hard to embrace Christianity via the silver-tongued televangelists which buried the needle on my bullshit meter fairly quickly. I traveled through the landscapes of "spiritual-not-religious", pantheism, Native American, Wicca et al. and landed in the cradle of T.H. Huxley and identified for many years as a "hopeful agnostic". Due to my upbringing and the imprint of certain taboos, just the word 'atheist' was like saying f**k in church. Then I was fortunate enough to have a chance meeting with one of our compadres, Josiah. During a conversation he said unaffectedly, "I'm an atheist". The power of that qualification without pretense or any sense of the shame I had been taught to believe had a profound effect on me. Through subsequent communications with Josiah I was introduced to Omaha Atheists. Atheism is a very general worldview which I don't see any need to feel particularly proud about. However, I do feel very fortunate and honored to be a part of Omaha Atheists. This is much due to the genuine human caring as well as the undertaking, which I have found to be courageous, creative and more altruistic than anything I'd been a part of formerly.