(The ThunderWord) “Highline Community College Paper”
*Battle over souls*
Atheists promote life free of religion
By Jessica Strand
November 19, 2015
Federal Way, Washington
Religions are just magical myths that drive people apart, say Damien Marie AtHope. AtHope was promoting atheism and “more human values” on campus Oct. 29 with fellow atheist Jersey Flight. The pair share similar views, and often visit colleges together to share their philosophy. They held signs with the word “ATHEISM” bolded across the top – and a stack of similar signs sitting at their feet – with a different message on each sign.
AtHope, a large man with a dyed, bright red beard, sat next to a table with a bowl of candy for passerby to choose from. They were relatively silent until students approached, but were more than willing to get into a philosophical debate once initiated. AtHope hopes to give people a different message from the religious groups preaching repentance, he said. He was religious himself until his mid-30s, when he became a college student and discovered contradictions. “That actually helped me be free,” AtHope said. “Most of the problem with religion is they tell you there’s something wrong with you and it’s something that only they can fix. I had to realize that there is something wrong. We don’t care enough and religion’s not going to fix that,” he said.
AtHope started his educational pursuits at the University of California, San Diego, with ambitions of becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. He was required to take a religious studies class due to the requirement for alcoholics and addicts to have an understanding of a higher power in rehabilitation facilities. During this class, AtHope saw similarities in all religions, he said. This, coupled with learning that everyone starts as a female in the womb, got him questioning his beliefs. “I started thinking, ‘Maybe they’re all wrong,’” AtHope said. “And then I went on a crusade to find out what is true.” AtHope went on to a couple different colleges, and finally finished up his education with a psychology degree from Ashford University.
He has since been working on a book series, which will start with book one: The Tree of Lies and Its Hidden Roots, which AtHope is working on publishing. “The two main goals [of this book] are to expose the evolution of religion…and to offer thought provoking insights and challenges to remove the rational of faith,” according to AtHope’s website. He has compiled research from all forms of science to write his book, AtHope said. “My goal would be that religions would become like Greek mythology,” he said. AtHope promotes removing religion from the equation and replacing it with human values. “Religion values say magical things like gods have more value than humans and I reject that,” AtHope said. “If I say the things that matter most in my life are magic than I’m actually neglecting all the human value in the world.”
Keeping with the desire to share a different view, AtHope is the founder of H.A.R.P. group, which stands for Humanism, Atheism, Rationalism, and Philosophy. “Meetup has over 160 people, we meet up with real people and have meeting in Bellevue,” AtHope said. “The Facebook group has almost 1,000 people and they’re from all over the world.” The Meetup group does activitism, where they visit places such as Highline to spread their word. Highline students reacted mostly positive towards AtHope’s message, and interacted more than other colleges, he said. Another goal of the H.A.R.P. Meetup group is to get together in support of one another. “Often times we’re ostracized – like half of my family disowned me just because I stopped believing in god,” AtHope said. “They’re pastors and youth pastors and assistant pastors so church is not something they believe, it’s their life.”
Similarly, promoting equality is an important step in caring for one another, said AtHope. “I want people to think better. I’m a socialist, I’m against capitalism, I’m against using money against people. I fight for feminism, and gay rights and stuff like that,” AtHope said. “We’re kind of anti-religious but we’re humanists about it. Everything new that happens in science ends up in my groups, so people are extremely informed.” For more information, and to find links to the H.A.R.P. groups and AtHope’s social media sites, visit damienmarieathope.com.
Here is my external pages or content: Facebook Witter Page, My YouTube, My Linkedin, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, Instagram: damienathope, Personal Facebook Page, Secondary Personal Facebook Page, Main Atheist Facebook Page, Secondary Atheist Facebook Page, Facebook Leftist Political Page, Facebook Group: Atheist for Non-monogamy, Facebook Group: (HARP) Humanism, Atheism, Rationalism, & Philosophy and My Email: email@example.com