My name is Alex O’Connor and I am the owner of the CosmicSkeptic blog and YouTube channel. Though I am (hopefully) yet to have lived long enough to have experienced my life’s most significant events and occurrences, I do have a short story to tell regarding my journey from a Roman Catholic juvenile to a heretic adolescent.
I was born and raised in Oxford, an educational epicentre of the UK, yet I admittedly failed to appreciate the value of a knowledgable mind until I was introduced to the works of secular intellectuals such as Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins in my early teens, who along with irreversibly shaking my then-existing Christian faith to its core, opened my eyes to a world of critical thinking and rational debate which I never knew existed. Ever since I discovered that there are more schools of thought than the curriculum of my primary education would have had me believe, I have wanted nothing more than to develop for myself the kind of argumentative prowess exemplified in the works of my childhood idols.
I was never much of a reader growing up, but if I did ever open a book it was almost always one of general knowledge. I can distinctly remember the joy I would feel (as I still do today) whenever I learned of new trivia which I was sure was known to nobody else I knew. Admittedly, I used to enjoy such occurrences in somewhat of an arrogant sense when I was younger; I felt that an expansive knowledge of obscure truths granted me an intellectual advantage over my peers. Today, however, I enjoy learning in a much more reserved and personal manner, yet I do so with a similar childlike excitement. Reading has since become to me a dear and dependable hobby in which my interest never seems to fluctuate as it does in almost every other of my leisures; nowadays you will seldom find me more than an arm’s reach away from a book or two, and if you ever happen to bump into me on the street it may be in the literal sense, as I often somewhat irresponsibly read whilst simultaneously navigating the busy Oxonian streets of the city centre. Despite my occasional indulgence into fiction, the majority of my reading is biassed heavily on the side of the opposite; I often find the beauty of the natural world and its many components to be just as enthralling and awe-inspiring as any fictional stories I’ve yet heard or could possibly imagine. What I find most compelling about scientific and historical literature is that the wonders which grace the pages are attributable not to any one author, but to Mother Nature herself.
As for my religious inclinations, I suppose that my abandonment of the pernicious and alarmingly peremptory faith that plagued my upbringing is attributable to two factors: my stern arrogance against the priests and so called ‘educators’ who attempted to justify my helpless indoctrination into their cult, and my immediate family’s less than steadfast religiosity. I followed the typical path of many former Christians—beginning with the innocent questioning of specific religious beliefs and practices before developing serious doubts concerning the scientific accuracy and philosophical plausibility of the foundations of the religion.
Since leaving the faith (a goal which the Catholic Church has made exceedingly difficult to formally achieve; as far as they’re concerned I’m still a God-fearing sheep of the flock), I have come to acknowledge the detrimental effect that organised religion is currently gifting my society and others. Whilst I cannot deny that faith has its (few yet revered) virtues, I find that such virtues are vastly outweighed by the vile dogma and tenacious authoritarianism which is routinely masked from the average church-goer due to the relentless efforts of scrupulous religious institutions. I am a passionate believer that this world would be a significantly more productive and egalitarian environment without the autocratic pressure of organised religion attempting to control the population’s thought processes, diet, sexuality, scepticism and social lives, as well as the Catholic Church’s condemnation of contraception, which is single-handedly responsible for the untold pain and suffering (and eventual death) of millions of faithful people across the globe (particularly in the third world). Of course this list of criticisms continues indefinitely, and is in fact so long that it is the reliable basis of the majority of my writing.
Blogging, in text or video format, is the most effective way I have discovered thus far to publicly express my disgust at the continual exploitation of the credulous exhibited by organised religious influences, as well as my opinions regarding the philosophical debate as to whether or not the transcendental dear leader exists at all—hence was born the Cosmic Skeptic YouTube channel and its complimentary blog. I have detailed here only a fraction of my past and of my opinions, so if you have any questions regarding my thoughts or philosophies, don’t hesitate to send me a message on my FaceBook page, although I do hope that any question you may have concerning my views on a particular area of philosophy, politics or science will be already answered somewhere amongst my pre-existing writing. Be sure to visit my social media pages and YouTube channel if you have the time; I hope that we can continue the conversation there.
Alex J. O’Connor