I’m an atheist, but I rarely discuss it. For the most part, I don’t think about it. It only comes to mind when religion is brought up. I make a new friend, and she wants to know what church I belong to. I go through something, and an acquaintance suggests that we pray about it.
I don’t mind being asked about my religious beliefs because I’m confident in my beliefs (or lack thereof) and proud of them. But for some reason, being an atheist is still taboo.
I don’t think it should be. Let’s change that. It’s my understanding that there are some things about atheists that bother (some) theists. I want to talk about those things.
Before I proceed, I have to say that I do not represent all atheists. The beauty of being an atheist is its simplicity. Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. That’s the only thing that we atheist will most certainly have in common.
With that being said, this is what atheism means to my life.
How do I know right from wrong?
Well, here’s the thing, there is no book that prescribes how an atheist should behave or think. It is up to each atheist to decide how to live his or her life.
To me, right and wrong is largely subjective. The spectrum of right and wrong is vast and depends on the situation.
Is it okay to steal? No… unless you have a two-year-old at home who’s starving.
Is it okay to kill? No… unless it’s in self-defense.
Like everyone, when I decide what’s right and wrong, I have to know all the facts. When the decision is too close to home, I ask someone with an objective view to step in.
Where does morality come from?
To me, morality doesn’t come from religion. Humans need to coexist to survive. Even if you consider yourself a loner, did you make your clothes, hunt your own food, or create the power grid that powers your laptop. NO. The answer is no. Even if you did all of those things, you had an easier go at it because of the knowledge passed down from generations of coexisting.
Since humans had to coexist to survive, we established rules to keep the peace thus justice and morality was born.
Where do I find answers to life’s big questions?
The things people get from religion, I get elsewhere. So if religion gives people:
– Peace of mind
– Spiritual fulfillment
I would meet those needs in another way.
– When I want purpose, I look within.
– When I want direction, I map out the most logical course of action then follow it.
– When I want peace of mind, I remember that I only live once so I need to make the most of this life.
– When I want spiritual fulfillment, I do something kind for myself or someone else.
Aren’t you worried about hell?
First of all, I’d have to believe in hell for it to worry me. Questions about an afterlife don’t faze me. This is an area that I accept my ignorance. There is no way for me to know what happens when I die. And, if I’m honest, religious notions of heaven and hell scare me. I don’t want to go to either of those places. I’d rather not exist.
Do you hate God?
I’d have to believe in God to hate Him so no I don’t hate God. I’d like to add that I don’t even hate religion. I’m not always happy with religion, but I contend that most of the religious people I know are kind-hearted. I grew up in a very religious household. I respect everyone’s right to believe or not believe in any god.
Are you lost?
Hmm… interesting question. You know what, I don’t know. Sometimes you don’t know you’re lost until you’ve walked passed the same tree three times. I can’t have all the answers all the time, and that’s okay. However, I don’t feel lost in purpose or apathetic toward life. I approach each new day knowing that uncertainty awaits me. I’ll wade through it until I find a way to the end.
Is atheism so scary?
If you’ve gotten this far, I hope you don’t think it’s so bad to be an atheist. If you think it’s terrible then oh well. Can’t win them all. I’m sure you didn’t like all of my answers. If you’re theist, I assure you, some of your answers would disconcert me as well. It’s okay.
I don’t think that everyone has to look like me, think like me, and act like me for us to get along. That kind of thinking is behind some of the worse atrocities against humanity.
If you’re an atheist (and it’s safe for you to talk about it), please share your beliefs and disbeliefs. It’s not a bad thing.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say on it.
See you next week!
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