Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut

It’s been 15 years since the attacks of 9/11. I was 21 at the time, just coming into adulthood. Even though I live several hundred miles from New York City, it had a profound effect on me. In the confusion before we knew what was happening–not just the towers but also an attack aimed at the Pentagon, and who knew if there would be more–I realized that if the US Government was overthrown then the Constitution would be nothing more than a historic old piece of paper. So much for our precious Constitutional rights. We can’t ever take that for granted.

Later, after initially taking part in the uptick in nationalistic religious fervor, I realized that being willing to die for one’s beliefs is not a good thing. Faith is dangerous, and unquestioning belief can motivate people to do terrible things. Just a couple years later, I identified as an atheist.