Honorable mention — High school essay contest: Ashleigh Price

Ashleigh Price

Honorable mention

Hallowed be thy name

FFRF awarded Ashleigh $200 for her essay.

By Ashleigh Price

God, capital G. Even the way we write the title is influenced by the way we perceive the world. Lord God Almighty, He who loves His children. Someone so much more than we could ever be, capitalized and raised above, declared male, as if something so supposedly powerful would care about the human constructs of gender, and even then decide upon one over the other.

I come from a Christian family. Catholic, specifically. My understanding of religion stems from two years I spent in Sunday school, and a completely unimpressed family. We were never faithful. Memorizing prayers as if they were to hold meaning was comical to me even as an 8-year-old. I couldn’t conceptualize death, but I had to plead to be delivered from evil? What could I have possibly done to garner Satan’s attention? What business does a child have to be born into such inherent guilt that they will never be good enough? Faith has held no sway over me my entire life. I’ve been so far removed for it to feel downright alien.

Time and time again, particularly with regard to Christianity, the name of the Lord is used to justify human cruelty. The Word of God is just the words and folly of humankind, repackaged and repurposed to suit the opinions of the time.

I don’t believe in God because I never thought of a deity as something I needed. I know who I am. I was never indoctrinated into fear. I’ll always be thankful for that. I don’t believe, because I don’t know that I could forgive myself for following someone so needlessly cruel. If God were to exist, what business does it have in creating a world with so much suffering? Why allow for “his children” to live in agony? Faith can be a safe haven for people in crisis. But to me, it appears only as a mirage, insubstantial and distant.

Ashleigh, 18, is from Algonquin, Ill., and will attend Eastern Illinois University, where she plans to major in digital media technology. She is an accomplished artist and violinist, having won her high school’s Art (Drawing) Award, as well as performing on a state level with the Chamber Orchestra, while graduating Summa Cum Laude.