Friday, 10 May 2013

[O&AM] - I'm atheist


It's May and the A-to-Z is over, which means I have no excuse for slacking on my usual blogging goals. So here I am to achieve one of said goals, posting for my "Out & About Me" series. This series is one in which I strive to share a little bit more about myself with you guys out in the blogging community. And as I suspected it would be, this thing can be a little nerve-wracking at times, mostly when dealing with topics like this (it's the first really "serious" topic so far). And be warned, it's kind of a long one! I really tried to whittle, but didn't do so well.

Religion is one of those topics that you "just don't go near" on a public platform. People get too riled up about it, and for good reason - it really is a deeply personal matter for many. Just like with politics, feelings are easily hurt when it comes to discussing religion. So, all in all, it's a topic best avoided. Right? Thing is, I've realised lately that I'm almost the only person out there who does avoid it. I don't mean that everyone else is out debating and yelling and shaking fists. No, I mean that many people are on their own blogs, being totally open and honest about their personal beliefs, and getting to express their thoughts on matters that mean a great deal to them. Why, then, aren't I?

That's why I'm here and saying it loud and proud: I'm atheist, dudes!

This is definitely no secret to anyone who knows me in my "offline" life, although I don't really shout it from the rooftops while at my day job, where there is a very strong Catholic bent. In my personal life, I am basically alone in my beliefs, though thankfully not entirely so. I'm almost the only one who doesn't believe in something. And by "something", I mean some higher power who watches over me, and some promise of an afterlife. I certainly believe in other types of "something" - goodness, kindness, hard work and self-sufficiency, friendship, that sort of thing. I thank my parents for raising me to be a decent human being, and for letting me make up my own mind. Even if my Dad is fond of saying, "Trisha, I had nothing to do with it!" like I was born this way or something. ha.

In high school I had a born-again friend who was sad for me that I would be burning in hell someday. Another high school friend once told me, during a particularly interesting period in her life, that she understood exactly why I might not believe that she had really and truly communicated with aliens, but that if I had seen what she'd seen, I'd really know it was true. My response was, "Well, if you had seen what I've seen, you'd know it's not." (In other words, I had seen nothing) This probably makes me sound totally close-minded and stubborn, but honestly, I am actually of the belief that anything is possible - that all the answers are out there, waiting to be found. I'm the sort of person who needs to see it for herself to believe it. Which perfectly explains how I wound up atheist, I suppose. I believe in science, and that as time goes on, scientists will catch up. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see science always at least a few steps ahead of the people who work with it daily. ;)

I believe completely that I don't have all the answers, or even most of them. And I'm totally at ease with that notion.

Being atheist makes me pretty lonely at times, I'll admit. But I never feel empty, aimless, or depressed because of it. I actually feel strangely relieved, even comforted, and I can't really explain why or how. I just do. I also feel proud, because in times of hardship it's me who picks me up and dusts me off and keeps going. I stand on my own two feet, admittedly with support from very lovely friends and an amazing family, and keep on going. I am also glad to be a compassionate human being, a person who is kind to others - people and animals both - not because somebody told me it's right, but because I feel that it's right.

None of the above changes the fact that all my friends and acquaintances who are believers in a higher power are extremely good and awesome people I am very grateful to have in my life. And that includes you all, my blogging friends, of course! So, that's it. Thank you for listening. :)

35 comments:

  1. I, too, am an atheist. I agree that it can be lonely. Religion fosters community. The absence of religion generally doesn't.

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    1. But then again, it is always good when you do find a fellow non-believer - kindred spirits, so to speak. :)

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  2. Hi Trisha .. I just am who I am .. the British have a quiet way of doing things, sometimes ... I fall in that category. All things are possible .. enough of that for me ...

    Re the G+ thing .. I got through ok to the G+ page, but to comment on the blog I hit the post link in G+ and am here ..

    I've just clicked the comment box in G+ - but don't want to use it .. as it'll precipitate Google to go its wondrous way!

    I did join G+ but don't use it ...

    Cheers - hope that reply answered your comment on my blog .. Hilary (PS I'll copy this across in answer)

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    1. Thanks for the feedback re: G+. In many ways I think it was easier just having the Blogger profile, but oh well, I've done it now!

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  3. If you are open to the possibility of God or a higher power (or whatever!) then you are an agnostic. If you flat out deny God then you are an atheist. Either way, I don't care because I believe we are all entitled to our beliefs. What I don't care for is the assumption that God is going to bless me - because I'm still waiting on that. I tend to steer clear of religion and politics as well although I can't resist commenting when someone else brings it up :)

    As for me, I consider myself an agnostic but I'd be thrilled to discover there really is a God - of course that would just bring up a whole boat load of questions...

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    1. Yeah, well I wouldn't say I'm open to it, and yet I do believe that I can't really know for sure. It's just that logically I am pretty well certain there isn't a God. ;) But I wouldn't be a logical being if I didn't know that I can't really know for sure till I die.

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  4. I'm a christian but believe to each his own.

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  5. A person must be true to who they are. Denying or professing means nothing if it isn't honest and sincere. My son is a Christian, my daughter an atheist. I too raised my children to be open minded and approach things from all sides. Funny how doing so led to polar opposite conclusions.

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    1. I think it's great that you let your kids decide! That's how it should be. :)

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  6. Thank you for sharing! I enjoyed the post and can relate to your workplace situation, I've experienced something similar. I've always been a "live and let live" kind of person though so I hate the arguments you can find over politics and religion online. I just can't understand why people get so riled up and act as if they are actively looking for a fight.

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    1. I used to get right into those debates, but soon found there was no point, and it didn't make me happy being part of such heated discussions anyway.

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  7. I had an interesting conversation with a government class one day. I forget the actual topic, but religion came up. A student argued that to have morals one must have religion. I disagreed.

    I pushed her to explain. It sounded like she hadn't really thought the idea all the way through. I hope she learned something that day--that religion does not equal morality. The belief in God is not a prerequisite for kindness. But I can't know for sure.

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    1. It would at least made her question things a little. I think that's the most important thing - to be open to discussion.

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  8. Superb post, Trisha. We all have a fundamental need to believe in something, whether it be in One True God, the sacredness of nature, a pagan pantheon, free will, or nihilism. The whole idea of religious tolerance is condescending. All beliefs (or absence of belief) should be treated with respect. It's not WHAT we believe in this world that matters, but HOW we believe. Labeling ourselves as Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc. means zero if we are self-righteous, intolerant, and judgmental.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks for your comment, and I agree - labelling ourselves and each other isn't really helpful. I hadn't really thought of tolerance as being a condescending notion, but you're right, it does have that element. Like, "I'll just pat you on the head and tell you your ignorance is okay by me - you can't help being that way!" or something. :)

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  9. Hello my fellow atheist blogging friend. Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while. I have been haunting the blogosphere, just haven't had much to say but this was as good as any occasion to say hi! I was also checking to see if any believers were praying for you- although I suspected not. They tend to be silent with a title that bold like that. They pray for you when you're down- try to catch you when you're vulnerable. Well, I'm headed back into hibernation- not sure when I'll come out. I was thinking it would be this month but I am just not sure now. But I'll be checking in on you now and then, for sure! Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for coming out of hibernation to stop by this post, Danette. I'm not surprised it drew you out, but it has been a long time since I saw you post (I think) so it was a pleasant thing to see. :D

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  10. Enjoyed the post Trisha. I'm normally one that avoids religious topics because they always seem to end up with someone taking offense. It's good to see a nice civil discussion here though.

    I think you can't really go wrong with whatever you think as long as you respect the point of view of other people. It seems like the problems always start when people adopt a "my way or the highway" attitude.

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    1. I totally agree with that - and it's something I don't see as much amongst people I interact with nowadays. Which is a great relief, of course. But that stubborn refusal to hear other points of view is definitely still out there!

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  11. I'm hesitant to talk about serious subjects like religion or politics on my blog as well, hence the zombie penguin apocalypses and Catrina. :) But your post is awesome. Civility FTW!
    Also, I'm not an athiest myself, but I'm not going to go all "Shun the nonbeliever" on people who disagree, to quote Charlie the Unicorn. I figure it's something you have to make up your own mind about, one way or the other, and it'll all come right in the end. :)

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    1. Agreed - it should be a personal belief that each of us develops throughout our life, without being unfairly pressured by other people :)

      Meanwhile, back to the zombie penguins! hehe

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  12. If I were to classify myself as anything, it would be Agnostic. But my beliefs (or lack thereof) are my own and I do not try to influence others with them...not even my children. Brave post Trish!

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    1. Yeah, I tend to consider myself Agnostic as well, because I know logically that I don't have all the answers. And yet if I'm being honest about what I logically believe, it's more in the atheist realm. :) And yet if God came and visited me and I saw him with my own eyes, I'd totally be converted. :D

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  13. Being human is pretty cool, huh? We can believe whatever we want to and hope it makes our lives worth living.

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    1. It is great to have the choice. :)

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  14. Religion is linked to the search for truth and makes me think of these words: It is only those who are in constant revolt that discover what is true, not the man who conforms, who follows some tradition. It is only when you are constantly enquiring, constantly observing, constantly learning, that you find truth, God, or love. I'm not too sure who said these words, but they do provide food for thought.

    That being said, I am a Christian. I respect people for who they are. I believe that I'm not here to pass judgement on any human being. That is not my job.

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    1. I think your belief sounds like a great one - respecting people for who they are.

      I consider myself open to learning new things and hearing new perspectives, and yet I wouldn't say I'm actively researching religion or anything. I guess it's just not something that pulls at me.

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  15. You came out! Haha. I'm an atheist too, and haven't come out on the blog (yet) although religion has come up a few times and I've been honest about how I feel. It's true, though--mostly it's us, the non-believers, who feel the pressure of keeping our beliefs (or lack thereof) under wraps, but everyone else, especially on personal blogs, seems to have no problem talking about their god and their beliefs on an almost daily basis. It doesn't make me uncomfortable, but I'd never really thought, "why shouldn't I?" Maybe it's because, as atheists, we don't feel the need to convert anyone or evangelize in any way, whereas most religions (although not necessarily their members) have evangelization as a primary concern. Still, I think you've done well by you yourself in stating this, and taking the time to let your readers into your head a little. Congrats!

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    1. Yep, out of the atheistic closet! hehe. Though it's really only here on my blog that I've been reticent. Elsewhere I'm fairly open about my Godless ways.

      It kind of has made uncomfortable to see everyone else spouting their beliefs, only because my fingers have twitched to spew out what I, too, believe. Admittedly, I have done so in comments on others' blogs, but usually just in one-liners. And I am never trying to be inflammatory. I'm past those days now. ;)

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  16. You're obviously on the wrong side of the desert, I, and most of my friends, are atheists.

    I dated a strongly devout christian for a while (pretty much every fb post is about God or Jesus), but our differing views weren't really the problem.

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  17. I think it is up to each person to figure out what they believe and don't. It makes up who you are and is your choice. No one really knows for sure and one day we will all find out one way or another. I believe in God, but don't believe it is necessary to run to church and proclaim it to a bunch of other people who think they are better than me because they attend. That part of me is really turned off by that. You have to decide for yourself and follow your own path through this life.
    Interesting and gutsy post. I applaud you for you being you.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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  18. I think the important thing is that we can all express ourselves - especially on our own blogs/platforms! It's so much more exciting when everyone's a little bit different and yet we can all get along :-)
    The only thing that makes me twitchy is when I see people from any camp making fun of the non/beliefs of others. Just because one person thinks one thing doesn't make what the other person is thinking silly or stupid! Why do we do this to each other?

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  19. I think its great that you are comfortable with how you feel and where you stand. And I wouldn't take any crap from people about it if your comfortable.

    I tend not to be all that comfortable sometimes with my Catholicism. I have faith but The Church itself is always in such turmoil. It's hard to sit and have people think or say "you belong to THAT church"? As if I did something wrong.

    But you know what?

    If it's going to change I figure why jump ship I think I should stay and the bad people/priests should leave. I'm sticking with the path I've chosen and so should you.

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  20. Sometimes I wonder how much of my personal life I want to put out there, so I applaud your courage to write on such a personal topic.

    From what you've written, it sounds more like you're agnostic rather than atheist. You never denied an existence of a higher power, just knowledge of said existence. And you're open-minded enough to believe in such...just want the proof. Thomas (doubting Thomas) needed the proof, too, so there's nothing wrong in that.

    I am of a scientific mind and realize that some things are beyond man's ability to understand—at the moment. More may/will be revealed.

    Good to get to know you. This was a great post to do that!

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!