The process which had begun approximately six months earlier reached its conclusion on a gorgeous spring day. While I can't recall the precise date, it happened on a warm and sunny day during the first week of May 1974, give or take a week or two. I was a month or so past my thirteenth birthday. The oak trees on my junior high school's campus were full of new, dark green leaves which blocked out the noonday sun. I was walking back to Language Arts/Social Studies class after lunch when I had this sensation of seeing a brilliant white light that momentarily blinded me. Simultaneously, I realized that there was no God. I "saw the light," and I became an atheist! Concurrently, I expanded the concept of "God" beyond the Christian God and understood "God" to be a metaphor which referred to every deity ever imagined. By extension, "God" also included all supernatural beings and entities (angels, demons, souls, ghosts, etc.) and anything purported to exist outside of the material world as well. Thus, I fully accepted the natural world as the real world and utterly rejected the purported supernatural realm as a phantasm. Suddenly, everything made sense; I felt as though I had been let in on one of the great secrets of the Cosmos. This experience was, and remains, the most intellectually and emotionally satisfying of my life. As poet Wallace Stevens once noted, "To see the gods dispelled in mid-air and dissolve like clouds is one of the great human experiences."

Matt Wallace, "Seeing the Light; or, How I Became a Godless Heathen"

On the 40th anniversary of my conversion to atheism


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