As I came out as being atheist to some of my very christian family members last week, I thought of how they would process this new information. They knew my husband and I have not been attending any church for at least seven or eight years. I know they thought we were just sick of being around mean spirited, hypocritical christians – and to some extent that was the case. However, this change to atheism wasn’t something that was decided overnight.

calendar pagesSo I decided it was time to backtrack to figure out when it was that I rejected the notion of christianity’s god. I remembered writing in one of my columns (I used to write for a national newspaper in South America) about how religion should not play a decisive roll in political decisions. In this column, written in July 2007, I admitted that I was not religious. Truth was, newspaper readers in one South American nation knew about this important information before my family did. But I knew this was not the time of my de-conversion.

I don’t know the exact date that I chose not to believe in god. I do know that it was during the fall before we moved from the Washington DC area (we moved in July of 2006).  I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it hit me – there is no god. Thirty-six years of living and breathing – and yes, preaching – christianity, and in a split second I realized it was all futile.

However, I did not automatically call myself an atheist…or even an agnostic; though, that is exactly what I was. In fact, I did not make this stated decision until a couple of months ago. That’s 3.5 years! What did I do during that time? Well, for a few months I did explore some other religions, including some pagan religions. Truth was, I did not believe in any of those gods either. After that, I did nothing.

I didn’t talk about religions or gods. I didn’t care. It simply was not an important factor in my life anymore. Moreover, I needed space. I needed time to heal from the many, many, many years of living life as a christian. I had to get all those skewed notions of morality out of me. I needed to replace my knee-jerk christian responses to life with rational ones. I had to come to terms with the reality that there is no god, there are no angels, there are no demons, there is no hell – and my life is my own to live.

Free. I was so free.

Earlier this past summer, I finally put a tag on myself again. I was an agnostic. Now I even say I’m an atheist.  I am also a humanist, thus the name of this blog (which is the phonetic pronunciation of human).  Since I no longer believe in a god that can right injustice, feed the hungry or heal the sick; there is so much humans need to do. Starting with this human.

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