So I am an atheist. Yes, I am and that is that.
It took me a long time to come to this level headed place in my life. But it is not as if the key to my prison wasn’t always in view. I always knew that I probably wasn’t truly devout.
My doubts started as a child. When the teacher told me that my many beloved pets were without soul and would not be waiting for me in heaven. Of course, I was upset. My family talked me out of it. My mother asked me how would my teacher know what was in heaven? Well how would she? She didn’t die and come back. That satisfied me for a bit.
But it opened more wormy cans. Such as, if animals were soul-less, what made us so special. Weren’t we part of the animal world? If I was allowed to question the blind faith of my religion teacher, then what was really left but to keep questioning the whole deal?
But what really started me down my road to freedom was Darwinism. I loved watching public television specials as a child. There were many on early man and evolution. But it was confusing, this went against the belief that god created the world. I asked my grandmother (a devout catholic) if she believed in evolution. In matters of faith, I always trusted her most. So there I stood, a little child, waiting for evolution to flourish or whither in my mind on her say so. She took a long time to answer. She squinted a bit and bit her lip. Then she answered that she did believe in evolution.
And I was happy that she believed so. Because to my childish mind, it was pure reason. I could see the physical resemblances between us and the rest of the primate world. But I would have gone with her if she said no. When I think back, that possibility scares me.
As a teen, I decided that Catholicism wasn’t interesting enough and researched other beliefs. None of them fit and I didn’t believe in any of them.
I proclaimed to be agnostic because proclaiming myself as atheist was unthinkable. What would be left for me? I wanted to hold on to the illusion that something went on after death despite the fact that I didn’t think it would be so.
Maybe it was the fact that I grew up that I was able to acknowledge that I am truly an atheist. I don’t believe in god. Instead of collapsing in fear, it has opened up numerous possibilities. It has made life and everything in it more wonderous. The mystery of evolution. The enormity of the Universe. The sheer luck that I was alive when there will be so many people who will never exist. Some people will use these as examples of there being a god. But that to me is a cop out, trying to put “god in the gaps”. As if fitting “god” in smaller spaces would make it a more viable belief.
I never appreciated being alive more than when I lost blind faith.