Sarah Bowman

Bio: Born and raised till age 40 in horse and buggy Mennonite community, the firstborn of eleven children. For many years I worked as a live-in helper for families in the community, learning family dynamics by observation. This proved valuable when I returned to school at the age of forty for a university education in undergraduate social work, with some sociology, religious studies/anthropology and a bit of philosophy. Since my people don't believe in education beyond Grade 8, I was kicked out and moved to the city where I now have my own apartment and my beloved pet dog, a tan and white terrier mix. I tried a few other churches but am today a Secular Humanist, atheist, with a diploma in creative writing, and two university degrees: an MA in Theology, a BA in social work, electives in Religion and Culture, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, ancient Greek and Roman life, and a bit of history of philosophy. For ten years in my thirties I wrote and published a tiny magazine for single women in the very conservative Mennonite and Amish churches, having at its peak 500 subscribers on three continents. The transition from the horse and buggy community to the city, from the church of my parents to the university, the experience of being kicked out--all of these were deeply traumatic. The struggle to survive the transition and thrive in my new life contributed major insights into human nature, that of myself and others. When writing, I try holding both worlds in view at the same time, thus drawing my conclusions from various angles. Since graduating with my MA in 2008 I have added to my education by extensive participation in online forums discussing religion, evolution, and Myers-Briggs Personality Type. In addition, I self-educated with online lectures by people like Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Kraus, and William Lane Craig, and read books like "I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist" and "Origin of Species." To learn about the regular world and regular people in mainstream society, I read dozens of novels from the public library and the newspaper and become involved with friends and neighbours here in the city.

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