I don’t know about everyone else, but I am actually tired of people believing that because I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in anything. That’s right, I must be some morose person that doesn’t[t have any positive outlook on life simply because I don’t believe in some omniscient, omnipresent, infinitely benevolent God.
I tend to want to believe in people themselves, although there are times I have a hard time looking positively at humanity in general, I do see the goodness in people before I see anything else.
I’m not naive, I’ve spent a major portion of my adulthood in and around some pretty awful people and am witness to the inhumanity we can inflict upon one another. But those that allow the sometime realities of the evil in our midst to affect their overall outlook on life. Even though I’ve witnessed what I consider the worst in some, it doesn’t change the fact in my mind that there are many more in this world that are not in that category.
Of course, none of us are in complete control of our lives, and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. In fact, many times it’s based on our own decisions. We learn and move on from there. none of it however, has anything to do with any god of any religion. I believe those mistakes I’ve made in my life are my own and also with the good that has happened. Destiny, if it exists (nope) we make for ourselves.
We all, believers and non-believers have times of doubt in our lives. Those doubts don’t come from some evil, supernatural being, but from ourselves and how we attend to them will often determine the outcome. We’re not directed by some being and no matter how much many would like to believe, there is no god to place anyone back on the right track.
8 thoughts on “Believe in Yourself”
Wow I can’t believe the timing of your article this morning. I have been a conservative fundamentalist christian from Texas for 30 years (now 45 yrs old) and de-converted the last couple of years and admitted to my wife the past year. Just this morning we had a political disagreement (I am Libertarian now and that can draw more angst from left and right dems and repubs). Won’t go in to the topic but basically I was proposing a solution that draws from both parties beliefs, a compassionate compromise that could yield the long term objective both parties had.
Anyway during this disagreement she told me “since I no longer believed in god that I must be a democrat now” because according to her “democrats don’t believe in god and are for abortion” (I am not for abortion BTW but I wanted to bring up bible verses that tell you to kill your children AFTER they are born and credit it as demonstration of faith BUT I didn’t to avoid elevating the argument because I knew she would get mad me bringing it up, it’s easier for her to ignore it).
She then told me that she didn’t know who I was any more and “that I had no values anymore”. I have been married to her for 18 years, faithful husband, faithful provider always having a job and paying for everything as she hasn’t worked in years. It is extremely hurtful to know my wife thinks I have zero values now when actually “one of the reasons” besides lack of evidence that I left Christianity was because of moral conflicts with the god of scripture. I feel less hate toward others now, I have more empathy for others and their plights. I believe in everyone’s individual liberty to believe or not believe. I never understood the plight of those who were openly agnostic/atheist until I de-converted. I am not far left, not far right and quite frankly can find issues from both parties to support and oppose.
While this is the toughest journey of my life and can continue to lead to more pain I feel I must stay on the path and I BELIEVE that to help others normalize skepticism/agnosticism/atheism in society I must continue to be open about this. I BELIEVE in the cause of free-thought!
It’s sometimes difficult to try and explain to friends and loved ones as to a deconversion. Some will just think that it’s a momentary lapse and that you’ll be back in the fold soon. Others, even after years of having known that you’re an atheist, will suddenly decide you’re no longer worth their time (I had a very longtime friend do this, earlier this year). But it’s okay for me, overall. I know I still have values, and those values are not dictated to me by some ancient text, or someone in the pulpit every Sunday that thinks they know better how I should lead my life.
Oh yes, we are in a phase..just a phase, Consskep. I would be willing to bet that you have, as have I, been essentially the same person, ethically speaking, whether theist or atheist, young or old.
My values came from my parents and grandparents and from their experiences and my experiences, from my reading, from my public school teachers and from my early church experiences. But I retain my ethics because of something inside me that is very important to me, yet often ridiculed by others to whom I reveal this very important thing to me…my honor.
If there is one thing I hope to pass on from my parents through me to my children and grandchildren, it is the concept of honor.
That is the light that guides me. That is the little voice that whispers to remind me. That is worth more than any archaic scribblings or any supplication to an unsubstantiated supernatural entity.
If there is something I consider “greater than me” it is all of Humanity or Terra or The Universe. When my body dies, Jeanne will no longer exist, except that the matter will truly become one with the Universe. What more could be or should be expected?
Dude, I am very sorry that you are in such conflict with your wife. That is the roughest situation for any atheist or agnostic to be in. The jump to the Leftist category, in which your wife placed you, is remarkably common, but I know it must hurt that she suddenly doesn’t know you… and only because you no longer believe in or question the existence of the Christian god.
How is that possible? I have never understood that. It is similar, yet nowhere near as hurtful, as when other atheists, who knew you and thought you were fairly intelligent, suddenly, upon finding out that you are not a Leftist, believe you are an ignorant fool.
Libertarian Conservative is what I would name myself politically.
You know what is funny (not ha-ha) is that Christians believe that Free Thought is how they found God and that it is atheists who deny Free Thought and reason, which is why they can not find God. We have the blinders on. We are closed-minded. We are being fooled by whispers that cloud our minds and hearts, so that we keep missing God when he reaches out to us.
Again, I am terribly sorry that your relationship with your wife is on the rocks because you have been truthful with her.
Pretty amazing when that lightbulb of the real you flickers on for the first time. Many of your comments fit me to a tee. The key to understanding the mystery of god is unbelief. Nothing quite like faith to flatten a good mind. Welcome aboard!
Thanks for what you are doing to contribute to normalizing skepticism AND that you can still be a conservative while doing so.