Ken Bonnell was raised Presbyterian, but chose not to hold on to that faith.
Bonnell, 81, began questioning the Christian faith when he was about 17 years old, and after reading the Bible, he changed his own views about religion.
When he was a teenager, Bonnell started learning about atheism. He learned about science and the scientific method, and before he knew it, he began embracing the ideas of atheism, he said.
He joined Atheists United, an organization of religion-free individuals, in 1979.
For nearly 30 years, Bonnell has been a member of the group. Every month, he attends meetings and takes part in discussions dealing with subjects such as Darwinian evolution, which is one of the many topics of interest to atheists, he said.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Bonnell and asked him a few questions.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue atheist ideals?
I must have been in high school. I recall the house I was living in. I made a telescope out of an old pair of glasses. I realized there is a vast universe that ran on its own and it didn’t need to be pushed by a supreme being.
What are some of the beliefs of atheists?
Atheists have only one thing in common. They have no belief in a God or gods.
My point of view is that people have gods that they deify. The gods that they believe in are entirely in their own heads.
Do you think there is a misconception about atheism?
The misconception is that they have no morals. However, most atheists know they are living with other people who they have to treat with respect and consideration. You respect other people. We are generally non-proselytizing.
Describe a typical Atheists United meeting.
Quite often, we have a speaker on a scientific or sociological subject.
People will discuss their experiences of being an atheist. Atheists support Darwinian evolution. Most atheists are for the application of the scientific method.
What do you want people to know about atheists’ beliefs?
We exist and we are benevolent, and we take a rational approach to religion. People are generally religious because they are brought up to believe in a religion as children.