I am an atheist in the most basic sense of the word. I do not believe in a god nor do I believe any god exists. I willingly concede that I cannot know for certain that there is no God at all, but I maintain that the probability of God’s existence, especially as most people conceive of him/her/it, is vanishingly small.
Also, I am NOT an atheist activist. I am NOT on a mission to convert anyone. I do NOT belong to any atheist group or organization. I am NOT like Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher. I am NOT interested in mocking or belittling the beliefs of others.
I’m just an atheist now. I was a Mormon, now I’m an atheist.
This probably raises some questions for many of you – the how’s and why’s of my unbelief. I may get into that stuff later, but not now. For now, I just want to admit it to someone that doesn’t already know.
I confess I get a little nervous talking about this stuff openly. If I imagine myself 5 years ago, faced with a friend who had stopped believing, I can see myself feeling betrayal, disappointment, anger or pity. I can see myself trying to change my friend’s mind, wondering about his personal worthiness, questioning his motivations. I hope I wouldn’t have actually been that way but my point is that I completely understand the reasoning behind those emotions and behaviors and I wouldn’t be surprised if my old friends and acquaintances felt some combination of them upon learning this about me.
The truth is, I haven’t changed that much. I still enjoy the same kinds of things. My lifestyle and habits are still nearly identical to what they were when I was at my most active in the church. I still want to be a good person and my definition of a good person is still probably very similar to anyone else’s. For most intents and purposes, I am much the same person as a non-believer as I was as a believer. There are certainly some important differences but being an atheist does not influence my behavior any more or less than my religiosity did previously.
Please know that this is a place I arrived at only after lots of time and careful thought. It has been a big deal for a variety of reasons and I definitely took the transition seriously. I hope my readers take it seriously as well.
Has atheism changed me and the way I see the world? Yep. But not as much as you might think.
Do I think my beliefs are superior to other belief systems? Of course. Else why believe it? You, too, probably think your beliefs are superior to mine, even if you wouldn’t say it. And that’s okay.
Do I think I am superior to other people? Definitely not. I am just as flawed as any other human on earth. I am finding my way the best I know how, as are all of us.
Do I still consider myself a moral person? Absolutely.
Do I want my life to be filled with people of all backgrounds and faiths? Most definitely. (That means you, dear reader!)