Justin Scott: a self-employed photographer, Iowa native, husband, father, free-thinker and atheist.
That’s right, atheist. He is known for being an activist for atheists across the midwest, for taking actions at keeping the Church and State separate; and he takes pride in that.
“I feel like just saying, “Hi. I’m an atheist” really tears down walls. A lot of people know who I am in Eastern Iowa, so it’s going to tear down the idea that you can’t be good without God,” Scott said.
He promotes this idea that someone doesn’t need to be religious to have an opinion on social and political topics. Free-thought a concept that challenges firmly held religious beliefs and promotes new thinking outside of religion; he promotes this way of thinking within the public heavily by hosting “Freethinker Gatherings.”
“I created and lead the Delaware County Coalition of Reason and host these gatherings in my hometown, I also post on social media and debate believers. I am extremely outspoken and positive about atheism,” Scott said.
He claims that his atheism started during his “formative years.”
“I noticed at Sunday school and confirmation in the Lutheran Church, which I was not given a choice in taking part in, that I spent more time quoting Chris Farley and Adam Sandler from the previous night’s episode of “Saturday Night Live” than paying attention to what the pastor was saying,” Scott admits. “It wasn’t until my wife and I welcomed our second son in 2013 that I really acted on those doubts by challenging what I had been forced to believe and becoming the proud atheist that I am now.”
Since 2013, Scott has only become more aware and proud of his non-conforming beliefs.
“I am completely comfortable saying I am an atheist and I felt a longing to make some kind of positive impact, whether that’s spreading the word about atheism or letting people know that I am an atheist,” Scott said.
While he goes out and debates religious beliefs and thoughts, he says he still respects those who don’t agree with his free-thinking.
“I’m all for you having your beliefs. Go to church. Wear your cross necklace. Bring your Bible to school. I don’t care,” Scott said.
Known throughout Eastern Iowa for all that he does with his movement for atheism, he doesn’t plan on being stopped by anyone and will continue to spread awareness about his beliefs and atheism in general.