The Way of the Atheist
Shaun McGonigal was born in Philadelphia, where he attended Friends Select School, a Quaker private school downtown, from Kindergarten through grade 12. Due to an early fascination with religion, Shaun earned a self-designed major entitled "Religious Anthropology" in 2000 from York College of Pennsylvania. After taking some time off to work and do some other things, Shaun returned to academia at West Chester University, where he earned his MA in Philosophy in 2003.
While raised in a family that was Catholic on one side and Protestant on the other, Shaun was essentially raised nonreligious until around the age of nine. Having been to church only on Easter prior to this age, his experience at a Lutheran Church perplexed him, especially during Sunday school sessions, where his immature skepticism made his teachers uncomfortable. After some complaining and too many questions, church attendance decreased and religion was rarely discussed. Attending a Quaker School exposed him to various religious traditions, especially in high school, where religious studies classes provided a cursory understanding of the world's major religions. This initiated an interest in the nature of religious belief and a personal religious examination.
After years of being vaguely "spiritual" but being unable to accept any particular religious belief system, he traversed through panentheism, pantheism, agnosticism, and eventually began to realize that he was an atheist. Further thought and research helped him to understand the philosophical aspects of lack of belief, and he found that most people do not understand what atheism is and why atheists don't believe; thus, his quest is to help people better understand atheism and related philosophical issues.
Shaun is an agnostic atheist materialist; that is, he doesn't know, he doesn't believe, and he thinks that everything can ultimately be explained through naturalistic means.