I believe in something that not many people approve of. I am atheist. Some people consider this as close to being the devil as any person can get. In fact when I told my parents that this is how I felt about faith, they were very close to being appalled. My dad told me that I better not tell anybody because it will close a lot of doors for me. My mom asked if I really wanted to be associated with the kinds of people who are atheist. The answer is I don’t mind being associated with them because I’m following my heart to believe in what I believe in. And if doors are closed, maybe those aren’t the right opportunities for me anyhow.
For the record, I’d like to demystify some things about my atheism.
I was raised a Christian child who has a mound of bibles with her name on them. Growing up I was taught all the classic Christian values: respect the elders, obey the parents, and don’t steal…that whole bit. These values are things that I still live by. I don’t believe I have to be Christian to find the validity in not killing people. Furthermore, I’m not some devil worshiping, potion making witch with a huge wart. I just don’t believe in God.
I guess I still haven’t said why I don’t believe in God. It’s quite simple really. I don’t find the validity in the idea that some guy created the earth. I also don’t agree with the idea that if you’re inherently bad on earth you go to hell and if you’re good, you go to heaven. Who decides what’s good and bad. There are some people in this world who do extremely bad things, such as honor killing, in order to follow their faith. Are they still considered “good” since they were following their faith?
I like to believe in the science of the world. I believe the world was created by the big bang. I believe that evolution has and still does happen. I believe in survival of the fittest, how could I not growing up in America? I don’t believe that Jesus died for my “sins”. I believe there may have been a Jesus, Mary Magdalene and that whole gang at some point in world history, but I don’t think they are a part of a holy group of people that I need to worship. I believe the Bible is a great work and should be studied by aspiring writers, it is the number one best seller every year, but I don’t think I need to live by it.
The main reason why I am atheist is because I think it opens the world up for me. I have the ability to accept other people, people who maybe do things that I don’t understand, such as homosexuals or republicans. I have the ability to accept others who do believe in God or Allah or the invisible pink unicorn for that matter.
I’m the atheist your pastor warned you about, but that no reason to shun me for what I believe in. I’m willing to co-exist with anyone who is willing to co-exist with me. I just might not agree with you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.