I don’t believe in god.
If you are wondering what’s the big deal? I couldn’t agree more. I love religious conversation, but the mere fact that one might not believe in god seems incredibly uninteresting on its own.
Unfortunately not everyone shares our idea that we are all free to believe whatever we want to believe. Or that it is even possible to be unsure of an unknown god. Today I want to clarify a few things that I have probably clarified plenty in the past. This is for new visitors who may not search that far. Because in an effort to feel more freedom with what I like and discuss on Facebook, I’m going to be honest about my lost faith there. No grand announcement; that’s what this post is for. In case any of them care, I assume they might end up here.
I know. I’m going to lose some friends.
This topic isn’t for everyone. Many of my friends find the topic of faith to be about as intriguing as I find the latest soccer stats to be. I’m not going to read a blog about that. I’m going to skim right past soccer photos in my news feed. And if friends are discussing it at dinner? I am definitely tuned out. So feel free to respond to my religion talk the same way. I get it. This isn’t for you.
Other friends have a strong interest in religion but we do not see eye to eye. I’m like the Republican who turned Democrat….only I have never been a Republican, and religion steps up the betrayal level to “enemy of god.” Being a former person of faith, I know this makes me as good as Judas himself. Of course, some of my friends will actually have to Google that reference. And to them I say: this is probably all your fault.
One question I get asked the most is, “Why call yourself an atheist? Why be against god?” I’m not against god. I simply do not believe a god exists. I tried. I understand why others believe because I was once in that boat. Who am I to judge your faith? If you are a horrible Christian (and some of you might be) I will only try to persuade you to become a better Christian. It was a long road to disbelief and it is a journey you will have to take for yourself. If what I have to say here helps you, I am happy to be of assistance.
The difference between an atheist and a person who is simply “nonreligious” is that atheists have looked for the answers and have determined that current knowledge about god is not compelling enough for them. My interest in searching for god is what led me to Christianity, too. Christianity claims to have all the answers and I don’t believe having all the answers is possible. Upon deeper research (in a desperate effort to believe) I found Christianity to have no answers at all.
Atheism is a statement that I lack a belief in god. That doesn’t make it a belief system, it just means I am not arrogant enough to claim I know the truth about the secrets of the universe. Only religion would make such a claim. I feel confident about “known” versions of god being false, but beyond that? I came to my conclusion through lack of evidence (meaning: things I do not know), but I can change my mind as new evidence unfolds. I’ve certainly already proven that. I’m just not holding my breath. Because, you know…. atheist.
You may be asking yourself why I would jeopardize friendships just to clarify my lack of belief. That’s fair. After all, I came to this decision several years ago and I only started writing about it this year. That’s when I figured out how much it mattered to me. So here are five reasons why I have chosen to share my lack of faith:
1. Some of my relationships are god-conditional. Which ones? Let’s go ahead and find out now.
2. I have always been interested in the unknown and god was part of my life for a very long time. When I lost faith in god I lost a lot. I lost not only my identity and promise of immortality, but I lost my community and spirituality. To say this left behind a spiritual hole would be an understatement. Sharing my thoughts and experiences about religion with others who are on the same page has filled that hole. Losing faith is hard. There are organizations that help and people who are willing to share their own stories. I want to be one of those people.
3. I’m a writer. This isn’t my first blog. How can I not write about something that is such a big part of my world? I also have an autism parenting blog and a genealogy blog so I think everyone can connect the dots on how I got started here. Occasionally I share journal entries from when I was a missionary. Imagine if THAT girl had her own blog….
4. Many of my posts are focused on connecting atheists and Christians. For ex-Christians this is crucial because most of us have Christians in our lives who are important to us. We know they don’t understand what atheism really means and how it happened to us. Not being able to hold on to faith does not make us bad people, no matter what the bible says. I want to explain that better. There are also many atheists out there who have never understood Christianity and I attempt to bridge that gap where I can. I’m sharing this with strangers, but shouldn’t I be sharing it with the people who matter in my personal life?
5. Most people make incorrect assumptions about atheism and the atheist community. A large number of us have left faith behind and are looking for ways to hold onto those things we loved about church life, like community and charity. The atheist community is filled with wonderful people doing wonderful things. I’m not trying to change anyone’s faith. I’m trying to bring more understanding between two sides who couldn’t be further apart. I want to change the way people look at me when I say I am no longer a Christian.
If you’re new here and got this far, I encourage you to read my other posts. Some are ridiculous. Some are philosophical. Many are extremely personal and embarrassing. Have something to say about religion? Consider writing a guest post. All viewpoints and topics related to religion are welcome, and you can remain anonymous if you wish.
Atheists are people like me. Take me or leave me. But there it is….and I hope you guys will stick around.