Approximately six years ago, after a lot of reading and reflection, I came to the realization that there is no god. I am an atheist, a humanist, a secularist, a person of no religion. I am well read and consider myself to be intelligent – my decision was not rash, nor was there a dramatic event that brought me to my decision. It was a process. And since that decision, I have a peace and calm that I never experienced while I was a believer.
I have strong relationships with my family (they are all believers), friends of many faiths and nonbelievers, and my co-workers. I am a very happy and satisfied atheist. :~) Many believers find this so hard to believe. When I tell someone who I consider to be a friend and with whom I share confidence, they often look as though a light bulb has gone off in their heads – almost as if they wished they had the courage to do the same as I.
Atheists are not liked by most people in our own country, and one couldn’t win an election unless the other guy was a child molester. We are regarded as threatening, unethical and downright evil. We are rarely even invited to the table when discussions among different religions (or beliefs) are held. We have no representation, and we get very little respect. It was troubling that no atheist was invited to speak at the national memorial service to honor those who died as a result of 911. One must not be speaking to a god when they honor someone and I will bet dimes to dollars that atheists died at the World Trade Centers. Although I know all belief in the supernatural world to be frivolous, I hold no animus towards believers.
People often ask me, What s going to happen when you die? and I calmly respond, Nothing”. That s it. I do not live for another world. I accept that. Everyday I take an inventory of my thoughts and actions to determine if I have been a good person. As a gauge, I consider all my actions for that day if they bring happiness and/or good feeling to the people I have encountered, they are good; if they bring sadness, suffering, or any negative consequence, they are bad and I try not do them again. In the words of Thomas Paine, “My religion is to do good.” There is nothing spiritual about it at all.
This is the most I have ever revealed on this forum about my philosophy on life. Please do not quote scripture to me. Please do not tell me that I have to find the way . Please do not tell me that you will pray for me. If you feel that, please keep it to yourself.
You sound like an excellent example of atheism. Although you and I disagree about the existence of deities (I am not willing to make the statement that there is no god because I can’t demonstrate that fact), we agree on a great deal. I certainly agree that atheism is not well accepted in the United States.
Personally, I don’t mind people quoting scripture, saying I am lost, or offering to pray for me. These are, in my eyes, invitations for discussion or signs that the person is concerned for my welfare. That’s okay with me. But I also recognize that many atheists don’t feel this way — they are tired of feeling like religion is being pushed on them or that their conclusions about deities are somehow lacking.
I hope I live to see the day when these problems no longer exist.