A New Member
Hello everyone! You can call me Athans. I figured I would tell you all a little about me so you know about my experiences and where I am coming from. Maybe by reading this you will see we have things in common and want to talk a bit back and forth, or maybe it is simply trying to gather info about me. After reading this you can determine what I may be knowledgeable about and if I am a reliable source. I especially encourage you to read this if you wish to debate me with, just to save you some embarrassment. I’m not trying to be arrogant, just speaking from past experiences where people did not do their research on me.
Why I am here
I am here because many things on this site fascinate me. I am interested in things such as religion and space. I am here to read other peoples stuff but mostly to get some of the facts out there. Too often in this world people get their information from poor sources or are simply ignorant. I want to get good info out there because most scholars do not waste their time doing it. I have no hidden agenda and I am not seeking fame or glory. I want to be a teacher, so I am simply trying to teach people, and hopefully learn in the process. I am not trying to change people’s minds or get them to believe what I do, but encourage critical thinking and helping people come to their own conclusions. Information I present can shatter faith or make it stronger but only you can come to that conclusion.
I grew up in Minnesota in the United States and also spent several years of my childhood in Las Vegas, Nevada. My early life is fairly uneventful. I wrestled and ran track in high school.
After high school I joined the United States Air Force. I was active duty for 4 years and I am currently a SSGT in the Air National Guard. I am in Services, which mainly includes: Food, Fitness, Lodging, Recreation, Mortuary and Honor Guard. I was stationed in Germany for 2 years and in Virginia, USA for a year and a half. I went on 2 deployments. One was to Kyrgyzstan and the other to the United Arab Emirates.
When I got off of active duty I went straight into the Air National Guard. I got a job as a Personal Trainer for a year while my wife finished school. When she finished school I enrolled at the University of Minnesota. My original plan was to get a degree in Kinesiology because that is where the money was at, but I soon found out my heart was in another place.
I first enrolled in the Religious Studies program. I have always liked History and Religion plays a huge part in it. I quickly found out that Religion is my passion. I also stayed true to History and enrolled in the Ancient Mediterranean Studies program. Because of the complexity of Religion and the Ancient Near East, I am also a minor in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. I recently picked up a 3rd major in History because of the requirements for the Masters program. Basically it is the same as the Ancient Mediterranean Studies major with the exception of a couple modern history classes, American history classes and some “how to do history” classes.
First and foremost I am a scholar of Religion (In my next post I will explain the Religious Studies program.) I study the theories of religion and the origins of religion. I find religion interesting and I respect it. I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility.
As far as religious traditions and history goes, I am focusing on a few different things. My major focus is on early Judaism and Ancient Near Eastern religions along with the Rabbinic Midrash. The second part of my focus is the theology and civilization of Islam. My last area of focus will be early Christianity. I have a good deal of knowledge in Christian theology but I have not studied the texts much.
I mentioned that I am a minor in Philosophy. I would be a major in it except I would not be able to graduate on time. As far as Philosophy goes I have looked at the theories of religion, moral philosophy, and Islamic Philosophy. I have also studied Christian theology quite a bit. This fall I am starting “Philosophy of Religion.” I hate Philosophy but at the same time I love it. I will be getting much deeper into it in the next few years.
Some of the religions I have looked at in more depth not previously mentioned are Mormonism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Baha’i, Ancient Astronaut Theory, and Atheism. I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.
In addition to my studies I am just trying to become as well rounded as possible. I am taking classes that I find interesting and also taking classes in science. I am getting paid to go to school so I am taking advantage. One must understand all sides to a debate.
On a more personal note
I was raised Lutheran Christian but I am now an Agnostic Atheist. If you need more explanation on what exactly I believe feel free to ask.
I have been married for about 3 years now. My wife is my opposite. She is a devout Christian that has been on mission trips. She received a degree in nursing (minor in Theology) from St. Catherine’s University, which is a private all girls Catholic University. In March we had our first child. His name is Ryker.
After I complete my undergrad I plan on joining the teaching licensure/masters program. Once I get my license and a job I will finish the last couple credits for my masters. I will be getting my classroom experience at a Jewish school, a Muslim school, a Christian school, and of course public schools. I would prefer to teach at one of the religious schools but we will see how it goes. After my wife goes back to school to get her doctorates in nursing I will be returning to either get my masters in Religions in Antiquity or Philosophy. My long term goal would be to get a Ph.D. I am also considering getting a BS in Biology but math is my weakest point. If I can spend some serious time on my math skills this will be a very serious option.
Because I plan on going into teaching my biggest area of interest is the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (Creationism/Creation Science) debate. I DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION but I will argue about it being taught in a science class. That is actually how I found this site. I was watching ThunderF00t’s videos on YouTube. I will DISCUSS religion though.
I think that is enough of an intro and thank you to those who actually read it all. I will add more if I come up with stuff and I will also add something about the scholarly study of religion, my theory of religion, and my sources.
I hope to have good conversations with many of you.
Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
My kid laughs at you