Confronting Curiosity: Junior questions lead to life without God

By: Austin Anderson

Ben Louviere steps up to the counter after hearing the previous order of a “hot monkey love, tiramisu and caramel, single shot espresso latte” and proceeds to order a small cup of black coffee.

With dozens of coffee options to choose from, Louviere is apart of the minority of Americans who prefer their coffee black. With hundreds and potentially thousands of religions to choose from, he is also apart of the 6 percent of Americans who classify themselves as atheists.

Louviere grew up in a Catholic home, going to church on most Sundays. He attended small groups on Wednesday nights, prayed at night and truly believed in God and had a relationship with him. There was no questioning what he was told because just as his math teachers taught him to do addition, his preachers and church leaders taught him about God.

As he continued to grow older and as the saying goes, wiser, Louviere started being more attentive to things around him. He began wondering why there were so many churches and why people thought different things about the same God. After late nights of lying in bed and pondering life, he began researching, reading essays, listening to lectures and began to have doubts in his faith. Then in his English class in ninth grade, his teacher assigned an argument paper. He wasn’t interested in writing about any of the topics his teacher suggested, “As a ninth grader, what is you writing a paper on abortion going to do?” Louviere thought.

He decided to go with a topic that would be pertinent and beneficial to him and allow his own thoughts to be brought to life and solidify his beliefs that he was atheist.

Louviere is a straight A student and says curiosity, not spite towards Christians or their God, provoked his search for answers. “[Curiosity] is one of the most definitive, valuable and beneficial characteristics we have as human beings,” Louviere said. “The ability to wonder, doubt, question and want to learn more is, in essence, what makes us human.”

Many people fear the unknown, whether it’s the relative simplicity that is the future or the darkness of a newly entered room or on a greater scale questions like ‘what happens when you die’ and ‘what is the meaning of life.’ Louviere said he believes humans want a reason for everything, which led to the human creation of religion in order to get answers. As for the junior, possible answers to these questions stream through his head, but he knows he will never be able to come to a conclusion. “I’m living in a state of what the hell does this mean. It’s crazy, but it’s exciting,” Louviere said. “It makes me happy to find meaning in my own personal ways.”

Louviere doesn’t want to be changed. He wants to be accepted and hopes that who he is as a person and how he treats others is more valuable than a difference in beliefs. “People who I don’t know that just know that I’m an atheist, I’m assuming I get judged by them,” he said.

Being judged doesn’t bother Louviere at all and he welcomes people that want to have a conversation about his beliefs to just come talk to him. “It’s never affected what I’ve done or what I’ve said or who I’ve been,” he said. “If those people that are judging me want to come talk to me about it and ask me why, tell me what they think and hear what I think, then by all means come do it.”

Even with his differences in Christian beliefs, he still sees good in religion such as their lifestyle ethics. “It inspires them to be a good person because it’s what is morally right,” said Louviere, who said that’s a characteristic he shares with the people of the Christian religion.

Louviere is looking forward to his upcoming track season and does after school lifting every day. He is proud of his strong vocabulary and wants to try as many different things as possible in his lifetime. He said that he has a great understanding of who he is and is one with himself. “That’s one of the most crucial things that I value in myself as a person. I feel very comfortable and complete as the person that I am and I am proud of it,” said Louviere, who admits he believes in the possibility of a God.

As he receives his coffee, the barista asks Louviere if he would like room left for cream at the top of his cup, and he accepts. He used to put cream in his coffee but now just drinks without it. Now sitting down he takes the first sip of his hot, black coffee.

“You’re not gonna use cream?” I asked.

“I figured I would just see what it tasted like black, and I really like it.”

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