My whole life I have been berated for questioning things and using rational approaches to understand the world around me. I knew that there were other people who shared this logical way of life (thanks, Internet!) but I had never known any. After moving in on my campus last fall, I searched desperately for a freethinking group and after relentless questioning of professors and students alike, I found a tiny, barely functioning organization with a handful of students showing up once every month to eat pizza and watch documentaries or discuss issues. I thought, “there has to be more than this.”
As it turns out, there is. On the night I arrived in Amherst I was met with smiling faces and warm welcomes—from everyone, not just the people whose job descriptions required them. The next morning, we dove right in with content, and I immediately felt a spark ignite. Not only did I learn that there is a huge, loving community of people who feel the same way that I do, but that there is more for us to do than eat pizza! The Center for Inquiry gave me a chance to reach out to others—some with similar experiences of ostracization, some with bewildered looks after learning that such a thing exists—and the tools to show other people in this world that this loving community exists and that we are wonderful, caring people. Today I am more confident in who I am and eager to share this confidence and support with those who have none. CFI welcomed me and showed me how to welcome others with open arms, and for that I am grateful.