In 1903, Kentucky-based newspaper "Blue-grass Blade" asked its readers to write in and contribute to a forthcoming feature named, "Why I am An Atheist." Hundreds of letters soon arrived and many were subsequently reprinted in the paper; over a century later, in 2011, they were compiled to form the book, Letters from an Atheist Nation.
Below is just one of the letters. It was written by Minnie Parrish, a 23-year-old divorced mother of four who later went on to become the first female doctor to practice in North Texas.
(Source: Letters from an Atheist Nation.)
Why am I an Atheist
Because it has dawned upon me that it is right to be so, and upon investigation I find no real evidence of the divine origin of the scriptures. And because I cannot, as a refined and respectable woman, take to my bosom as a daily guide a book of such low morals and degrading influences. Written by a lot of priests, I cannot accept a salvation that is based wholly upon the dreams of an ancient and superstitious people, with no proof save blind faith.
Everything that so many people think transpires from the supernatural, and many things that would really perplex the average mind, have a natural and material foundation in the workings of the human mind; that is, things that are not connected with our solar system.
It is ignorance of the scientific working of their own natures and mind that keep so much "mystery" in the air; and as long as there is a mystery afloat the people will ascribe it to the supernatural.
I am an Atheist because I know the Bible will not do to depend upon. I have tried it, and found it wanting.
In fact, I found in the scriptures the origin of woman's slayer, and that it was one of God's main points to oppress women and keep them in the realms of ignorance.
I am in the ranks of Liberalism because of its elevating principles, its broad road to freedom of thought, speech, and investigation.
MINNIE O. PARRISH
23 years old