Five Reasons Why I Identify as Atheist

Last week I posted five reasons I don’t believe in God. By default, that is what an atheist is: a person who, for whatever reason, has serious doubts about the existence of any god. However, doubting deities is one thing. Publicly embracing atheism requires careful thought. The decision must not be made lightly.

Influential people have claimed that to be atheist is the worst thing a person can do. Worse than murder. Bush, Sr. said, “No. I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” He never recanted that. I could rant on over this, but not today.

The bible has many verses regarding killing people who do not believe. All of these do not say to kill them.

Friendships, marriages, jobs, political office, and many other social aspects of life can be negatively affected just by telling the truth. Bush seemed to think it negates US citizenship.

Pat Tillman was a war hero who was shot and killed in Afghanistan. This story gets interesting regarding the fratricide by which Tillman died, the subsequent discovery of coverups and lies by the US Army/Government, and the discovery that Tillman was at least agnostic, if not atheist.

Since this sham occurred on Dubbya’s watch, I wonder who may have questioned Pat Tillman’s patriotism. I have no evidence that Tillman ever identified as atheist or agnostic. Many people do not and should not do so. That’s my point. (Tillman’s Biography by Jon Krakauer)

My reasons:

  1. I had nothing to lose. Back in the day I thought older folks went back to church, religion, and God as they aged, possibly to ensure a pleasant afterlife. That may be true for some, but not for me. Most of my family and friends were either dead or saw things somewhat as I did. Any estrangements had already happened for other reasons. I no longer worked, so I had time to learn.
  1. Someone asked me if I was atheist. I vaguely remember discussions about beliefs and religion during my late teens and twenties. I recall people telling me their thoughts about atheism and atheists. It’s not uncommon for people to ask me about religion, but until this person asked, everyone assumed I believed in God. Answering the questions meant coming out.
  1. Faking it is not making it. If there is a God, she knows who does not believe in his existence. I’m sure many who are wrapped tightly in religious practice do not believe any of it. Is it anyone else’s business? Probably not. But I felt a little guilty about my silence. When asked, I felt the promise of openness and honesty being better paths for me.
  1. During the three days I pondered the question of coming out I began to feel better, even though I never felt the least bit bad about it. I felt a certain freedom. I was not in bondage by religion, but by my own silence. The timing was right. I was ready. It felt great to say I am atheist. It still does. No regrets.
  1. This may not seem like a reason to be atheist, but in hindsight, it was. A world of information opened to me. My world view and philosophies regarding life became more manifest, in my opinion. I could run the race and wear the tee-shirt. While I was never unhappy about any of it, I felt more joy. I realized that I did not have all the answers and I needed none of them. I tried to learn as much as I was able (still do), but it was finally 100% up to me. I felt like I was being honest to myself and to the world. I no longer had to reconcile reality, truth, and facts with some religion or God someone else created.

Regarding using the words atheist, skeptic, agnostic, apostate, nonbeliever, free thinker, and whatever, whatever, whatever; I just don’t care. Atheist is not ideal to many of us because it defines us by what we are not. But it works for me because I have nothing else. I am not “one of the good ones.” We are all good and, in my opinion, better than many religious folks.

For the record, I’ve never murdered or raped anyone. I’ve robbed no banks and I do not lie on my income tax. I believe in love and compassion. I enjoy most of nature. And dogs like me. I like cats, but you know how they can be.

It’s almost December, a month of more US holidays. Happy and Merry everything to everyone. My Thanksgiving poem was published yesterday over on pluviolover.com. But who do you thank when you are atheist?

Bill

 

6 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why I Identify as Atheist

  1. Why am I an atheist? Because it puts all the responsibility for my actions and inactions squarely where it belongs, on my shoulders. It gives me the power to be me, and no one else but me. It allows me to respect who I am, rather than who others think I should be. And above all else,, it allows me to look at the world as it is, not as someone else tells me it is…

    Liked by 1 person

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