I believe in nothing. Some – most – people look at me strangely when I tell them this, but it’s true. I believe that there’s nothing after death and nothing supernatural controlling the universe. I am an atheist, yet have not always been.
I was brought up in a nonreligious household, and up to age eight, I didn’t care, or didn’t know, about religion. Then, I entered the maze of life. Within the first month of third grade, our teacher took a survey, on our religion. About half of the class didn’t know, so the teacher told us to find out. When I asked my parents, all I got was a shrug and a “nothing”. I walked into class the next day, confused. When the teacher asked the same question, I responded, “Nothing”. The rest of the class gave their answers, and the teacher wrote them on the board. Aside from one Judaist, all were Christian. Through recess, lunch, and gym, everyone looked at me strangely. I began to think. What if everyone was right? What if Christianity was the right way for life?
For the rest of the school year, I tried to fit in. I tried to pray, to believe in Christ, to read as much of the bible as my eight-year-old mind could hold. However every time I prayed, the words felt like they crumbled in my mouth; every time I tried to believe, my head ached; every time I read more than a few lines of the Bible, I started to wonder about its internal contradictions. I remember someone telling me that I was thinking too hard about it. It was then that I realized that Christianity was wrong. To follow it, you were required to stop thinking and blind yourself. In two words: I stopped. I tried a few other things, none of them worked out.
Thus, I became an atheist. Aside from not believing in a God myself, I would try to explain my beliefs to some curious onlookers, only to be branded a Satanist by a particularly devout Christian. For the record, a Satanist supports the Devil, and I am just against the concept of a God.
After several years, several readings of the Bible, and a few sermons, later, I am still an Atheist. The world has shown me no true deity to believe in, so I believe. I believe in some humanity, in some sanity, but above all, I believe in Nothing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.