Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, I wrote an essay encouraging atheists to join the Foundation Beyond Belief, a new charitable group doing good for human beings and the world in the name of freethought. I also offered to write a front-page post interviewing anyone who agreed to join the Foundation as a result of hearing about it on my site. This is the next in that series of interviews, which will be posted each weekend. Please welcome TPO!
Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, where do you live, what do you do?
I’m a happily married man in my late 30’s who enjoys hiking, astronomy, earth science, science fiction and many other activities you may or may not care about. I live in lower Alabama just a couple of miles from the Florida State line and I am a network administrator for a local Air Force squadron.
If you’re an atheist, when did you first become an atheist, and how long have you been one? If you’re not an atheist, how would you define your beliefs?
I spent the most part of my first fifteen years going to a small Pentecostal church which exposed me to the whole speaking in tongues and flopping on the floor with the Holy Spirit spectacle on a weekly basis. I pretty much became an atheist over the summer of my fifteenth year when my church had a bible reading contest. Before this event, which I won, I was the type of kid who would admonish my peers and even older teenagers for cursing on one of the larger Baptist churches’ basketball courts I frequented after school. Once I actually read through the “King James” version of this book, not once, but twice, I decided that I could not in good conscience worship the god depicted within its pages. I stopped going to church after this and studied up on several other religions over the next couple of years but I think I became an atheist that summer in 1986.
Do you have a blog of your own, or another site you’d like us to know about?
Yes, I run a blog titled “The Perplexed Observer” which focuses on Skepticism, Science, Environment, Religion and many other subjects from an Atheist/Secular Humanist perspective.
Have you given to other charities before joining the Foundation Beyond Belief? If so, which ones are your favorites?
Yes, some of my favorites are Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, Oxfam America and the Red Cross.
What membership level did you join the Foundation at?
I could only afford to join at the second level at this time.
How do you plan to divide your initial donation?
Equally among the different categories.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to atheists who are considering supporting the Foundation or other charitable groups?
Yeah, and you can read it here: http://theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com/2010/01/secular-charities-humanist-philanthropy.html.