On Atheism

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I was brought up Catholic. I went to a Catholic school for ten years of my life. I made some really good friends there --some I still talk to, to this day. My school wasn't one of the stricter ones that deny evolution, claim dinosaurs and humans lived together. It was a perfectly normal school that tried to instill the Christian ways of life: love everyone, help those less fortunate, don't judge. Rules and morals that everyone should live by.

According to this my parents could have just sent me to a ranch.

Do I wish my parents had never sent me there? No, not really. I understand why they did. They put me in private school to help me on my way to becoming a moral, kind person. Do I wish I would have gone to public school sooner than I did? (I started public school in high school when we moved to a new neighborhood.) Not really. I definitely wouldn't have been so naïve and sheltered but that was the intention. I don't hate them for trying to keep me a child as long as possible especially considering all the kids now who don't have that privilege.

I think that is one of the common misconceptions when it comes to atheists and atheism. That if you are one, you HATE all religions and the things they teach. That to not believe in god means you must worship the devil; you must be immoral, be a horrible person because you have nothing to lose.

All of these are stereotypes. They are gross misconceptions of what atheism really means.

If you are an atheist you do not believe in a god but that also means that you don't believe in anything, including the devil. But just because you are not living your life according to some holy book does not mean you are a bad person. It does not mean you are immoral or that you just want to watch the world burn.

I am an atheist and I feel bad for the homeless, the child militants in war torn nations, all those innocent people on death row.

I think that I am a moral and kind person because my parents raised me right. I think I am a good person because I can empathize with other human beings. I do not need a commandment to tell me that stealing is wrong. Why? Because I can feel what the other person would feel if I was to go and take their car. That would be a shitty thing to do and I don't need someone to spell it out for me to know that.

I think the golden rule -the one taught in religions and philosophies throughout the world- is sufficient enough to encompass all the bad things I would never do.

Killing, stealing, cheating? Hell, even being a bully is horrible. I wouldn't want any of these things done to me and that is the only thing I need to understand to know that to do it to someone else would leave me no better off, and leave me feeling like a complete dick.

Studies show that more people are becoming less religious, even if not completely atheist. With this trend I wonder when the stigma associated with being godless will wear off. There are many different kinds of non-religious people. It's a complicated dance between us and the things we do not fully understand. However, it is no one else's choice but our own. For most people, the decision did not come early or easily. To be able to respect the person's own decision without thinking the worst of them is the best we can do.

Most of the people I hang out with know I am an atheist. But when people ask me or question me, I have to second guess what my answer should be. I shouldn't be afraid to speak my beliefs, just as those who are religious do not hesitate to answer when asked. But I do, because of the faces I get; the pity I can feel from people who think that I am a soulless, bad person, bound for a life full of sadness and depravity.

But that is simply not true. I believe that is the only life I will get to live. I believe that when I die, that's it. So I am trying to be the best person I can be. I am trying to live the fullest life I can. I am trying to do things that will not leave me regretting anything. That doesn't mean I get a free-for-all pass to cheat, steal, or cause any sort of harm.

According to CNN there are actually six different types of atheists. From confrontational to non-theists who couldn't care less one way or the other. Click the link for more information.

Here are some famous atheists or non-theists who have contributed greatness to this world.

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie 

Andy Rooney

Sir Richard Branson

Richard Dawkins

Morgan Freeman

Katharine Hepburn

This slideshow from CNN should be checked out as they quote each person with a little tidbit of their non-religious wisdom.

I know that religion can be a sore topic for some and an inspiration for others. But for me, I want to do good because it feels good to do it. I want to be able to know that I did the best I could to help people who needed it. The mark I want to leave on this world, however fleeting, is one of kindness.

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