And you may ask yourself “Well… how did I get here?”

October 14, 2009 § 18 Comments

You may not know it, but I’m an atheist.

For some it’s a label that has certain negative conotations in society, particularly in areas where religion is prevalient. It’s a label that people bandy about in some spheres the way they used to use the term “communist”, as the word “terrorist” or “traitor” is used today. Some people see the word “atheist” as a threat to their daily lives, using the label as a way to demonise individuals. To some, the simple word “atheist” causes fear, distrust and a sense of mortal danger, like the “boogeyman” of old.

Pretty scary huh? But what does it really mean to be an atheist?

It’s pretty simple really. It means “it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.” This doesn’t mean just the Christian God, Allah or Yaweh. This means an absence in belief of ALL gods, including Shiva, Thor, Baiame, Venus, and any other name a god may go by. As a general rule it means atheists also will dismiss all organised religious and dogmatic rules and regulations as spelt by  The Bible, The Koran or any other religious text. But not exclusively.

In fact, the only single thing that ties atheists together, is their lack of belief in God or gods. The definition says nothing about what choices individual atheists make. Just like in every walk of life there are good and bad people, no matter what their backgrounds, religious, moral, ethical belief systems, or lack thereof.

I am an atheist, and this means that in order to operate on a daily basis, I make my own decisions about right and wrong, about my duties and rights, about the way i choose to act in any given situation. I am free from the need to be told by others how to operate in a caring, loving, moral and conscientious way. I know in myself what is right and wrong, and I am not swayed by the antiquated beliefs of fictitious characters to make these decisions.

I arrived at atheism through simply looking around me. I was taught by my parents that the world and nature are to be revered, and that natural processes reign in all situations. This applies to everything from the smallest chemical reaction, to the exploding of a far off galaxy, these processes, though not completely understood, are the set of rules that all things exist by. The further I looking onto this, the less room for a god there is. Evolution, entropy, decomposition, particle physics, astronomical happenings, gravity, osmosis. All things obey these rules.

The people I know who are atheist are smart, kind, caring humanists, who know how to live even if it is under the scrutinous eye of and elitist religious community at large. Each of them has arrived at atheism through a different path. In my next blog, I will attempt to expand upon this, as well as introducing you to the stories of those who surround me in my life, and how some of them arrived at the atheist conclusion.

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§ 18 Responses to And you may ask yourself “Well… how did I get here?”

  • carycollett says:

    I’ve become very curious to hear how others arrived at their athesim lately, thanks for sharing!

    For my part, I don’t ever recall really believing. I think I was always at least agnostic and then later atheistic, so I don’t have a full conception of what it’s like to deconvert. I just trudged along keeping my mouth shut because, well, even at a young age, equating believe in Jesus with belief with Thor (always had a thing for the Norse mythos) was something I new not to do is rural Ohio.

    -Cary/Qaphsiel

  • Doug S. says:

    I have to say I define my atheism differently than the traditional definition based on belief or lack of belief in divinity.

    It’s not that I don’t believe that there isn’t divinity, it’s that I reject the premise that allows for divinity. In order for there to be divinity we must live in a universe that allows for the supernatural. In other words, a universe where the laws can be broken.

    I reject the assertion that we live in such a universe. I believe the universe operates according to strict laws that cannot be subverted. When we observe something that challenges our understanding of the universe it is not the universe bending the rules, it is us who doesn’t fully understand those rules. That’s not supernatural phenomena, it’s ignorance.

    Thus the premise I reject the premise that allows for divinity in the first place and so find myself an Atheist.

  • Wayne aka Sainter says:

    Bravo! Yours like many others is the voice of reason made manifest through a lack of fear of being persecuted for not believing in what they, the indoctrinated ,would shove down your throat. Religious belief is in fact very PC. It’s a privelege to be in the company of those who don’t conform because they think they have to. Many people are religious because they think it’s the right thing to do. Some are religious for emotional reasons. Not too many are religious on rational grounds.

    I’ve been meaning to write a blog on why I am an atheist and this , your blog, has motivated me. Well written, mate.

    • Thank you Wayne, I hope I can keep this up. It’s difficult to write clearly all the time, my head gets coulded with ideas sometimes, so any time I can write clearly and with meaning it is a triumph over my own brain.
      Thanks again.

  • Ben Sales says:

    Nice post, I like (and agree with the sentiment)

    Not believing is totally natural choice for me, I couldn’t believe in a creator if I tried. Along with carycollet, I don’t remember ever really believing. I feel totally a peace with this choice and it’s a great feeling.

    I have a massive appreciation for nature and science and whilst I can’t begin to comprehend some of the science behind the earth and universe I have the hugest respect for those that are striving to do so.

    Ben

  • FlamingAtheist says:

    I made it through to atheism/non-belief after spending time as a full blown tongue talkin’ born-again. It took a while but a little bit of religion chipped away each day or each time I got filled with ‘guilt’ courtesy of the ‘good book’ (sorry, rampant quotes). Eventually I lost Jesus and realized that it all was a sham.

    My mantra now is more “Be good, do good, help others”.

  • Rox1SMF says:

    I never had a real deconversion either, despite having been a “member” of several religions throughout my lifetime. In the end, education and intellect won out over conformity and faith.

    9/11, and shortly thereafter the death of a childhood friend (a devoted fundy Christian) were a turning point for me in that I started publicly identifying as atheist and became much more actively anti-theist.

    In the same 30 years that Islamic extremists were gaining popularity and power, Christian extremists in our own country have done the same. “Live and Let Live” only goes so far, especially when some people’s “beliefs” lead them to oppress, imprison and even KILL their fellow citizens. Planes being flown into buildings, abortion providers being terrorized and killed, American citizens being denied equality… all because of an invisible, unprovable deity, and society’s refusal to criticize such insane ideas because they fall under the guise of “religion.”

    Christians may not be executing non-believers… yet. But having studied Scripture for most of my life, I know full well there’s more than enough in the Bible to justify their doing so. Therefore, the “mission” WE have before us is to make it clear that we will not tolerate laws created based upon religious texts, no matter how “offensive” it may be to believers in those books. To me, accomodation of the irrational beliefs that drive public policy such as abstinence-only sex ed or same sex marriage remaining illegal is no different than telling these people it’s ok to believe that gays or people who work in abortion clinics ought to be executed. It’s long past time ridiculous claims be exposed to the public ridicule they deserve. No more appeasement born of a desire not to offend; I don’t care if I offend those who’d sooner kill me than look at me.

  • Doug S. says:

    One thing I’m curious about is how many atheists were just going through the motions as children and it wasn’t until later that they sort of woke up to the fact?

    When I was little I “believed” in God the same way I believed in Santa. But one cruel, cruel day the jolly fat man was ripped from my life and it all went down hill from there.

  • andrewrowlands says:

    Hello Marty,
    i like the way you take pride in your atheism. The ability to be able to voice your opinion is not a god given right, its your fundamental right.
    Here i will pose a question for you to ponder.
    Do you beleive there is an invisible force that binds or joins people to each other? let me give you an example…..you and me. is it just coincidence that after dinning with you recently and discussing your climbing adventures and me massaging you and Hayley(howd that climb climb go by the way) you told me to start my own blog. i have done so and whilst picking my sites clour theme i came upon the one i now use….same as yours…is this a coincidence or are we linked via invisible whisps of electrical energy that has an influence on ourselves and our actions….

  • Karly says:

    Good post. I’m always amazed at how people react who seem to have never met an atheist. Some people seem scared at the mention of the word. To quote myself from a reply to a chain e-mail I received from a “christian” joking about the death of an atheist:

    “I assure you that atheists are easily among the best human beings I’ve encountered in my life. Honest, sincere, intelligent, strong, loving, and genuinely interested in the greater good – all without a mythical deity to magically force them into behaving that way. They are that way because they want to be that way.”

  • Levi says:

    Nice post-any chance that first line from the Talking Heads? Love that band!

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