How I became an atheist part III  

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I don't know when I finally gave up on believing in anything spiritual. I do know what influenced it. My mother-in-law runs into the craziest people. She believes them when they tell her crazy stories. They "prove" that they can do supernatural things through tricks. One told her that the body can't lie and he showed that her body responded positively to anything she believed was true. That's not proof!

I do remember when I first verbalized being an atheist. I was at a new year's party just a few months ago. I was a little drunk (a homemade martini and a bottle of wine will do that to you) and we were talking about religions and I blurted out, "I'm an atheist." I think I shocked myself. But I realized it was true. I am an atheist. I don't believe in the supernatural.

I still believe there are things that we can't explain or don't understand, but that doesn't mean that I believe in what people tell me it could be. I participated in a religion-induced lie for too long. I have to have something more than "faith" to go on. Give me proof that there's a god and I'll believe. Until then I count the probablity as too small to even consider.

It doesn't bother me like I thought it would. It doesn't make me feel any less special. It doesn't make me sad to know that I'm not going anywhere when I die. My body will be buried or cremated (hopefully cremated, but I don't really care other than the cost to my family) and I won't be alive anymore. That's OK. I have this life, as long as it is, to live. And that's enough for me.

I don't feel bad about not having a "divine" purpose either. I think we all make our own destinies with what we have. That doesn't mean that I can make everything I want happen, but that means I can try to do things with my life and try to be the type of person I want to be.

And I don't feel like I'm any less moral because I don't follow the code of law from an ancient book. I know right from wrong. I know there are gray areas that are hard to judge. I know that I'll make mistakes in my life and I'm accountable for those mistakes, even if they're accidental. And I don't think I'm a bad person because I make these decisions for myself.

Thanks to everyone who's read my history. It's been liberating to be able to share what I believe and how I came to believe the way I do. So many times I've been in conversations with people about personal belief and I haven't felt free to express myself. I don't want the knee-jerk reaction that because I'm an atheist I can't talk to someone who's religious. But I've censored myself because I don't feel it's acceptable. You've shown me that it is acceptable; that we are truly a society of free religion, or non-religion. I hope through this I'll be able to express myself better.

Other posts in this series:
How I became an atheist part II
How I became an atheist part III

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5 comments: to “ How I became an atheist part III

  • Sam
    Monday, April 9, 2007 at 2:07:00 AM CDT  

    I'm an athiest too, and came by it honestly - raised by two athiests.
    But my parents were liberal democrats, they really did work with the poor and needy. They taught special ed. They fed and clothed the poor. We always had social cases in the house, and in summertime, had fresh air chidlren come live with us.
    I saw my parents actions, and when I was older and read the bible, I thought that Jesus must have been someone like them - someone real, who cared about people and who were horrified at misery.
    I went to a Catholic high school (I grew up in the Caribbean) and I learned what Christian hypocracy was. I didn't go to my graduation ceremony. It was childish, but I never regreted it.
    I raised my children with religion, using it as history, not faith, because it's important culterally to be aware of the world's religions.
    Sometimes I wonder if I wished I believed in God. Some days I do. Most days I think that religion truly is the 'opium of the people'.
    But it is always a fascinating subject.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • PBS
    Monday, April 9, 2007 at 6:51:00 AM CDT  

    I've missed your series and will have to go back and catch up!

  • glomgold
    Monday, April 9, 2007 at 11:19:00 AM CDT  

    I don't know if I'm agnostic or what. I'm trying to be more open-minded about everything and allowing the slight possibility for whatever, but I really prefer proof. I agree with your sentiments about death; is it really that big a deal when it's just "over"? So what? We're not gonna know the difference I'm guessing.
    Strange how so many of these religious types who are supposed to be tolerant are anything but. Talking to them can be a real misadventure.

  • L
    Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 10:04:00 PM CDT  

    it felt sort of shocking the first time I said it too!

  • Dikkii
    Monday, April 16, 2007 at 11:16:00 AM CDT  

    That was a great series, OG.

    Sadly, I never got to have a de-conversion, because I never really believed in the first place.

    I thought you expressed yourself well enough. Again, great series.


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