Meet a Member: Studying the bible turned Wes Bieritz into anti-theist

Name: Wesley G. Bieritz.

Where and when I was born: Born in 1936 in a small farming town in northern Illinois.

Family: I have been married three times and widowed twice. I have three daughters by my first wife Laurel; and seven grandchildren.

Occupation: I’m a retired veterinarian, having graduated from the University of Illinois in 1963.

Military service: I served in the Army Reserves for 5 1/2 years.

My doubts about religion started: I was born into a Lutheran farm family in Illinois where my dad was a sharecropper. I was baptized, confirmed and married as a Lutheran and was a devoted churchgoer for decades. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and the music in my church family.

After graduating and working as a veterinarian in central Illinois, I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class. I reluctantly agreed, but as my studies into the bible progressed, I found serious questions regarding the New Testament. Then, after years of reading and study I became an anti-theist. I’ve maintained that belief status to this day despite living, working and retiring in a Christian community for more than 50 years. However, like many nontheists today, I struggle with my beliefs in my relationships with my Christian friends.

These are a few of my favorite things: I am an enthusiastic tennis player and a devoted barbershop singer and have sung in a barbershop chorus and several barbershop quartets over the past 50-plus years. I’m still active in my community serving on our county board as well as on several other significant boards.

Person in history I admire and why: I admire the work of Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Richard Carrier and Sam Harris and the hundreds of other remarkable people who have opened our world to biblical research, secular archeology and to reason.

Ways I promote freethought: It is my hope that my gift will help FFRF to pry open the minds of the people of the world from the clutches and oppression of organized religions that paralyze minds and inhibit progress. There is no greater cause! Perhaps my contribution to FFRF’s Legal Fund will encourage others to do likewise.

Wes Bieritz