Fifth place — High school essay contest: James Tripp Conway

James Tripp Conway

Credit humans, not God, for  achievements 

FFRF awarded James $1,500 for his essay.

By James Tripp Conway

God was an axiom during my entire childhood because of the religious dogma that socialized my young malleable mind. Society instills faith onto the masses, and young impressionable minds are most susceptible to the fairy tales of authority. Rejecting the existence of a creator has been a liberating and enlightening change to my personal philosophy.

Expunging the bias instilled into my brain left an inquisitive teen who yearned for answers. A passion for science, the paradigm for ideological freedom, formed. Emancipation from intellectual slavery gave purpose and control. Discrepancies between reality and the imposed fiction of God were too apparent. I rejected God because evil is abundant, despite a benevolent being supposedly protecting us. This oxymoronic delusion became personal when I began to suffer from innate hearing loss.

Science, from evolution to space, reaffirms the notion that the universe has no place for mysticism. Through extrapolation, it is fact that all phenomena are driven by nature. A reductionist perspective shows that nothing is intelligently designed. The universe is too complex, natural and imperfect for God and the simpleton mantra of religion. Omnipotence and omniscience are both impossible qualities to attain, yet both are necessary for God.

The drive toward progress and discovery has been the highlight of humankind. If one aspires for the betterment of society, putting effort into science and rationalism is the only path toward human prosperity. The stringent dichotomy between scientific truth and mass delusion is self-evident. Science brought theoretical methods for explanations of our universe; science created vaccines against infectious disease; science manifested modern technology. Religion caused death, partisanship and hysteria that plagued civilizations and their people throughout all of history.

Because of the acceptance of the scientific method, we enjoy the fruits of our progress that have transcended us from animals merely surviving to explorers who have reached a collective self-actualization. Instead of relying on an imaginary external force to intervene, give yourself and others the rightful credit. The pinnacle of human achievement is not attributed to a nonexistent being; it is attributed to us: pioneers, inventors and visionaries. God gave us nothing. We earned ourselves everything. 

James, 18, is from Crestwood, Ky., and will be attending the University of Kentucky, with the goal of earning a degree in physics. He plans to re-establish the prominence of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Kentucky. His hobbies include writing, reading, programming and video games.