Becoming Atheist


It seems to me people think it’s a choice, being atheist.  Like, I wake up one day and think, “today I’m going to become atheist.”  That’s not what happens!

For many it’s not about “becoming” atheist at all.  They simply are atheist.  They’ve heard all the bible verses before–all the arguments, always the same cherry picked verses people quote.   They’ve perhaps tried various faiths or religions, or at least looked into them, but none are backed up by fact or evidence, and so they can’t believe.  Not everyone can have magical thinking, and that’s what it takes to be a believer–any kind of believer.  The same quality children have to be able to believe in a Santa Claus.  Magical thinking.  The ability to suspend disbelief or put aside the questions and just have FAITH, trust that what a million or more people say is real–if so many people believe, it must be real.

But for others like myself, we did believe once.  We were able to set aside the doubts and nagging questions.  Like, having a little pebble in your shoe; rather than stop and shake it out, you keep walking, hoping it will slide to the side where it can’t be felt and you can walk normally for awhile, without limping, forgetting the pebble is there…up until it finds its way back under your foot again where it hurts.

No Christian wants to lose their faith.  That’s the thing.  Every Christian really loves the idea of seeing Jesus when they die, and not having to cross the valley of the shadow of death alone.  To see loved ones you miss.  To be young again if you’re old, or strong and whole again if you’ve been hurt, blinded, or crippled by some disease.   We all like to think we’re special, too special for us to deserve to just…cease to exist after we die.   There must be a reason we were made.  Certainly this isn’t all there is!

Belief is like a teddy bear.  Once you have it, it comforts you.  You don’t want to let it go.  In the storm, in the dark, it’s what you reach for to clutch tight against you.  The idea of having that taken away…what a scary thing!   So you block your ears whenever anyone says anything that stirs up that doubt again, brings the pebble back under your foot inside your shoe.   You don’t want to hear.  You don’t want to risk losing something you treasure, something so much a part of you for so long.

No born again Christian (or any kind of Christian) asked to become an atheist.  We were all Christians once, desperate to keep the faith alive, the hope of seeing our loved ones again, of living forever in some paradise.  But then something happened.

Does it make us evil that this something…happened?  Do we deserve contempt and to be branded as demonic or worse…because this something happened?   I have been an atheist now for three years.  I was a Christian for over 30.  Has anything changed for me?  I don’t think so.  I still FEEL all the things I did before.  I still feel in tune with that little voice inside, that I now realize is really myself, my rational self that comes and comforts my animal, frightened, instinctive self.   I love the same, care the same, still possess what I once called “the fruits of the spirit.”  I feel guilty when I make someone feel sad.  I feel the same strong desire to not cause hurt or harm.

Nothing has changed.  And because nothing has changed in me, this has reinforced for me that what I had before was just a different explanation for what I’ve had all along.  I haven’t lost it.  What it is simply isn’t what I thought.  It’s not a supernatural being or a eye in the sky or imaginary friend.  It’s not a teddy bear.  It’s my strength I have within me, that I didn’t believe in–thought I needed this crutch instead, to be strong.  But I don’t because…it’s all still there inside me, making me strong.

All on my own.

I didn’t ask to become an atheist.  But I’m really glad I did.  I like living with the perspective I will cease to exist when I die.  Perhaps it will make me try a little harder to make a difference in this life, while I live.  Then if I’m wrong and I do find something after death, it will be a happy surprise.  And if I don’t, I won’t be here anymore to feel regret–but I also will not have wasted my life on something false, either.

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7 comments on “Becoming Atheist

  1. I’m not trying to disrespectful but I just want you to know that my belief in God really doesn’t have any magical quality. I have faith in many things, such as a chair. I believe that a chair is going to hold me and place my trust in it. Jesus is historically accurate based not only by the bible but also the romans. We can know that Jesus was real and rose again because the day of the sabbath changed from saturday to sunday. We can also see the attitude in Peter changing for a coward to confident in Jesus after Jesus’ resurrection. The Romans even knew that Jesus rose again because it is written that they tried to lie by saying that his disciples moved his body.

    What I believe isn’t based on any just random person just telling me what to believe or even a bunch of people. I believe it because I know it is true.

    In my opinion, and you can disagree, think anything you feel or do is a choice. I’ve come to an understand that any choice I have comes down to choosing what I want or what God wants. Galatians 5:16-18 are some great verses that talk about the flesh and the spirit. 🙂 I just found your post in the Christianity tags. I hope I haven’t offended you in anyway, I just hope my words come as encouragement. You are in my prayers. 🙂

    • I was a Christian for 30+ years and have heard all of this and more. And no you’re not disrespectful, nor have you offended me. I too had all the same assumptions as you are expressing now. Sorry to say it but actually no, they aren’t true. I went years just assuming someone had researched the bible and determined it’s authenticity and historical accuracy. No. There were a lot of very prolific historians during the time these events (having to do with Jesus) took place, and not a single one of them wrote about Jesus or some prophet who did the things described in the bible. Even the early Christians believed their “Christ” was a spirit only, not a physical person. It was the Roman Church, when it started losing it’s tyrannical power, that hired anonymous authors to write the gospels in an attempt to make it seem like historical fact. There were something like 30 gospels submitted for consideration, some of them very far out–only the four were selected. If you read the four and compare them, they are all contradicting each other, and some even put people or events in the wrong places at the wrong times–or even cities in the wrong countries. Proving the authors of these books number one, never actually had been to the lands they wrote about, but also had never known the so-called real person they were describing.

      There is not one single shred of evidence to show a real Jesus walked around as a man. Only the bible account, which is of very suspicious and questionable origin (to say the least–what hasn’t been plagerized from more ancient pagan faiths (Mithraism), is pure fiction dreamed up by the Roman church. The four gospels that were produced came to exist in the early second century after Christ supposedly lived. The only person in the New Testament that very likely existed at all was Paul, and he lived after Jesus alleged death. Funny thing that he never writes in any of his books about Jesus as a person, nor does he ever show an interest in any letter he writes, of going to see these holy places where his Lord was born, taught, and/or was crucified. Think of how many Christians go to the holy land every year. How odd that Paul had no desire to walk where his “Lord” supposedly walked.

      Sorry, but your last comment “you are in my prayers”IS offensive and patronizing. It is not a respectful thing to say to someone who has already made it clear she is an ATHEIST.

    • By the way. You’re quoting bible verses at me as your source of “proof” is about as effective as if I started quoting sentences from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” as proof a Middle Earth really existed.

  2. totally agree with what you’re saying! 🙂

    I don’t think it’s a choice at all, I don’t see how it can be a choice. If I really really really wanted to believe, I’m still incapable of just turning belief on. It’s not that I choose NOT to believe, it’s that I CAN’T. Knowing what I know, experiencing what i have, and having a mind that works the way it does… I can’t. That might possibly change if what i know, and what I experience changes with time, but it’s definitely not a choice. No one says ‘I know god is truth, but I choose to reject him.’

    • And sadly, because you were not designed by your creator to be able to believe, you’re going to be tossed into a lake of fire to burn and writhe in agony for all eternity. Isn’t that special? Why does god knowingly make people who he knows ahead of time are destined for hell? Does he get his jollies torturing small animals? Should I create on purpose three legged mice and then punish them for being three legged by slowly immersing them in acid? Why this makes sense to Christians is beyond me. God deliberately makes Lucifer knowing he’ll become Satan. God deliberately makes hell for Satan and all his other deliberately made flawed creations to suffer forever. Then god makes humans flawed deliberately and deliberately puts them in close proximity to a deliberately made flawed fallen angel knowing ahead of time this clueless innocent ignorant creation will be tricked by Satan–all so man is forced into this situation where he must grovel and beg and sacrifice to appease the wrath of this god who made him flawed in the first place? I’m sorry, but I would not praise the mad scientist slowly dipping me in acid for making me three legged. It is absurd that Christians think this god is good.

      Anyway, I’m having a good rant here. I reject god because 1. he doens’t exist and there’s no reason for him to and 2., if the deity described in the bible does exist, he has done nothing to inspire approval from me. I do not agree with genocide or the butchering of pregnant women and the dashing to pieces of babies and children. I do not approve of setting aside little girls as spoils of war to Israel soldiers. I do not agree with human sacrifice or stoning children for being insulent to their parents. I do not agree with sending bears to rip children apart for taunting a priest. This is not a nice god. This is not a god I would want to follow. God has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the bible and Satan has killed 10. Which one is evil again? Hard to keep that straight! 🙂

      • haha XD
        exactly! all good, all knowing and all loving? Not possible. how can you say god wants all to go to heaven? he’s all powerful, if it wants it, it’s done! oh, because he’s also all holy and righteous, so in our sin we need to be punished. Why are we in sin?? Oh, because of free will. Why do we have free will? oh, it’s the best way we can have a meaningful relationship with god. So… we have free will, which is good, except that it’s also bad…more bad then good since it means EVERYONE is covered in sin and all going to hell? oh wait, god thought of a loophole: he’ll take our punishment on our behalf! but only if we worship him.
        ….and this is the best plan he could come up with for having a meaningful relationship with his creation??? where ‘meaningful’ means worshipping him. don’t really see how meaningful that is. some all loving god, even humans are capable of more unconditional love than that…

        in my angrier days, i’d say: if i’m going to hell for living my life the way i’ve lived it, then i say BRING IT ON because I’m living my life in the best way i know how. and i have no regrets.

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