10th place — High school essay contest: Alaina Adderley 

Alaina Adderley

It’s not ‘my time to die’

FFRF awarded Alaina $300.

By Alaina Adderley 

As a science-minded student, I can say without a doubt that I trust science over religion. I was raised to question the whys, hows and ifs of everything. Accepting something based on belief without proof goes against everything I am. Evidence and proof are key. Blind faith is mind-blowing to me. 

I come from a nonreligious family, so my earliest memory of religion vs. science happened when I was 6 years old. I was spending the day with a friend whose family was extremely religious and there were tornado warnings in the area. I have an extreme fear of tornadoes, so I was very scared. Instead of assuring me that we would be safe because of facts, like knowing that radar tracks tornadoes or that we would fol-low safety precautions by going into a safe room, the mother of my friend told me “It’s all in God’s hands . . . if it’s our time, it’s just our time.” That did nothing to ease my fears. I remember feeling scared that I was about to die because apparently “it was my time.” It made an impression on my young mind. Instead of focusing on ways we could be safe, religion encourages people to just trust that whatever happens is supposed to happen . . . don’t try to prevent it. 

Meteorology is a particular interest of mine and what I plan to pursue as a career, so when I read about how, for hundreds of years, people believed that any meteorological or geological event was because of angering deities, my scientific brain short-circuits. Knowing that this is the belief that many religious people have, I wonder how many lives could have been saved if only these people had taken more precautions or heeded the scientific warnings? I feel that any religious leaders who continue to promote religious works as explanations for natural disasters should be held to blame for the deaths. Teaching people that God will come for them when it’s their time and that nothing can be done to stop God’s will is reckless and dangerous. 

Impeding scientific meteorology with religious beliefs is a dangerous and deadly practice. Science provides us with all the tools that we need to understand meteorology and geology, and to prevent disasters from being worse than they already are. I hope that society will soon rely less on religious reasons for disasters and understand the science behind them. 

Alaina, 18, is from Buckfield, Maine, and attends Plymouth State University. “I’m a science nerd who plans to become a broadcast meteorologist so that I can combine my love of weather, performing and travel,” Alaina writes. “My family has traveled and lived all over the United States, predominately the Bible Belt, and have now settled in Maine, where I have found my place in a nonreligious area that fits me very well.”