Hello, and welcome. My name is Gary M. Linscott, and this Secular Progressive Outreach website is my creation. As a visitor to the site, perhaps your curiosity will prompt you to ask more about me.
I was born into a very religious family. For seven generations my forebears and relatives were active members of the Church of Christ, a Bible believing and conservative brotherhood that is an outgrowth of the American Restoration Movement. As a child and adolescent, I was influenced by my parents and relatives to become a gospel preacher. I received my ministerial training and a college degree in Religion from Pepperdine University, and subsequently became a Spanish-speaking minister, first in Puerto Rico, and later in Los Angeles, Miami, and San Diego. I also served English-speaking congregations as an Educational Director, and my ministerial career of 32 years overlapped with my 23-year teaching profession in which I taught English and American Citizenship to immigrant adults.
At age 51, after decades of protracted Bible study, I reached a somber conclusion: that Jewish and Christian scriptures cannot possibly be considered a divine revelation. Rather, they are a man-made tapestry that appropriates threads of ancient myths, borrowed from other Middle Eastern cultures, and weaves them together with a convoluted and inaccurate interpretation of ancient history.
Through personal experience, I also came to realize that Christian doctrines relating to personal conduct and social interaction were based on distorted interpretations of human nature, and could not serve as a suitable guide to morality in our present age.
At that point, I resigned from the ministry and stopped attending church altogether – a step that subsequently led to my being ostracized and shunned, not only by former brethren, but also by several members of my family. Nevertheless, I discovered an exciting new life, free from outmoded rules and unrealistic expectations.
However, it took me another decade to discover other people who had gone through similar processes and had also become nonbelievers. They, in turn, introduced me to small groups of skeptics, freethinkers, Humanists, and atheists whose meetings encouraged me on my journey. In time, I became aware of the secular authors, books, magazines, and documentaries that would help me understand the elements of science, philosophy, and history that I had previously been dismissive of. Taken together, these tools to understanding serve to create an intellectual foundation for successfully living the nonreligious life.
Although the joy and satisfaction of Freethought came late in life for me, I was able to spend a total of seven years as an active board member in three groups: the San Diego Secular Humanist Outreach, the San Diego Humanist Fellowship, and Recovering from Religion. Unfortunately, health problems and family responsibilities have curtailed my ability to continue in these capacities. Nevertheless, this website, I happily realize, is something I can yet do to promote the cause.
It is my sincere hope that this website may serve as a beacon to attract seekers who wish to investigate alternatives to their previously held beliefs. Furthermore, that it may also serve to shorten the time it might otherwise take them to more fully comprehend, adopt, and enjoy a secular mindset, and to then move on to active participation in practical efforts that may create a more just society and a less divided, less tribal world.
1 Being an amateur on the Internet, I am ably assisted by a competent and congenial expert in computer technology.