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I found your link through that great article you published in Freedom From Religion Foundation [Freethought Today]. I have changed a period of forty years as a Minister of Music in numerous churches. My Master's Degree was in religious music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton. I taught all grades from first through grad school retiring as an Assoc. Prof. Emeritus of Music Ed from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. My retirement of twenty-three years has been the best period of my life totally without religion the past ten years. The deciding factor in my "coming out" was the numerous comments from Theists telling me my deceased wife was in a better place etc after her death from an automobile accident. My Atheism has opened my mind to wonderful learning and positive change.At eighty-four years I live alone with my four canines since the loss of my wife of fifty years, ten years ago. I am anything but alone, however. Pike's Peak is my altar and the hundreds of Ponderosas, Boulders and Mountain Growth around me on my five acres are my cathedral. My daily joys are meditation, playing classical and jazz piano, reading ,(I have read all of the books of the four horsemen), eating organic, exercise and sharing my love with all humans and living entities on this planet - especially with my four furry friends. Your page gives me such support. Thank you Michael! —Ruskie (12-1-13)

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging letter.  It pleases me enormously to know that you've gotten support from my web site.

And thank you for sharing some about yourself.  How wonderful it is that you've found contentment and growth after the death of your wife.  And that you've found the freedom that comes with atheism.  It's the kind of freedom I sought all those years in religion; how surprising it was to find it when I shed that nonsense.

My partner and I also live (with our wonderfully companionable cat) in mountains surrounded by nature, and that provides wonderful resources to keep us in a good place with ourselves and others, doesn't it?

I really appreciate your letting me know of your interest in the web site.  I hope you'll continue to visit and enjoy it.  —MTT

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I received my September Freethought Today and was delayed in reading it until the last couple of days. I read your article and I must tell you that I had a “religious” experience. It brought tears to my eyes as I read:

“I am never fearful about pleasing some invisible but all-powerful Something whose demands are at best ambiguous and often ludicrous. None of that now! I am happy, as much as one can be in a world torn by so many different voices bellowing ‘I know the truth!’”

I am 66 now and your story is a lot like mine. Raised in Texas Baptist country (Abernathy) and surrounded by “the truth”, it took me 40 years to wake up and really know the truth.

Thank you for your words and your inspiration. I am lining up to vote for your Iranian’American pregnant atheist lesbian President! —AC, A proud atheist (9-19-13)

Wow, A, what a delightful response! Thank you so much.

It's surprising to find out how many atheists have come from Southern Baptist churches.

I've often wondered what I would have turned out to be if I had stayed in small-town Texas. I fear I wouldn't have made the changes I made, because I needed to. When I meet with old acquaintances from that part of the country, I'm dismayed to realize how little discovery goes on in their lives. Thinking and reasoning doesn't seem to have much traction. If you're still in Texas, being atheist must be a tough row to hoe.

Again, thank you for your wonderful words. They're appreciated more than you can know. —MTT

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A few months ago I got a book out of the library called The Sociopath Next Door … written by a Harvard PhD who treats sociopaths and their victims. One in 10 people are genetically programmed to have no conscience whatsoever. They can fake it to blend in, but it’s not there. They used to call the condition Moral Insanity.

I think those people need religion because they need a constant reminder. Typically, they are lonely and friendless, so they need to be kept in check by other means. Hence church, where the friendless can go. I have come to this conclusion after reading that book, which I very much recommend. —EP (3-20-13)

Obviously, such people should be kept in check — if that’s possible. However, from my many years of experience in churches, I would say that church attendance does little, if anything, to keep the sociopath in check; it simply gives him/her another field to harvest — I’ve seen it happen a number of times. Christians are prone to be too naïvely accepting to withstand the effects of a good sociopath. —MTT

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