How much of my life has suffered because of being an Atheist? Almost all aspects of it within the last decade.
I have lost family because of religion. I have been the victim of discrimination because of religion. I have been the recipient of hate and threats. My workplace is often hostile towards me and people don't want anything to do with me because of I have not concealed who I am. I have lost friends and absorbed the scorn of society. It has outcast me to a lonely existence. I abhor religion and its hypocritical views that it tries to impose on people.
Yet I must try to look towards what I have gained as well.
I chose not to let anyone or anything define me. I decide what to believe, based on evidence, and not just fairy tales or someone's statement. I am skeptic of information until I can verify it myself. I make my own rules instead of following some absolute morality that makes no sense. I face down anyone who dares to cast scorn upon me because I have never run away from anything, knowing no "god" is going to protect me... I have my mind and body to do that. I choose to act the way I do because it is my right and no ancient book or flawed belief system is going to tell me otherwise.
I am the enemy of foolish ignorance. My mind has evolved through countless generations to give me this gift of intellect and I shall not waste it. I could have chosen to just fit in. Instead I have sought the truth. I have chosen to be an Atheist because of reason, logic, and evidence. No one has, nor will they, ever force me believe something I have not decided for myself. It is a lonely and difficult journey.
When I die, I know that I have suffered greatly but never compromised my beliefs, taking some comfort in that I have never "sold out" to anyone or anything. Knowledge and integrity will always be my power.
Therefore, it always is a good day to die, because I have earned the sleep of peace, and I have no regrets.
Thank you for posting this inspiration.
Many of the same things apply to my life experience.
Your post is defiant. Be strong.
From Robert Green Ingersoll:
Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
* A fellow called me at home and threatened to rape me with a blowtorch after reading my atheist comments.
* A relative told me I could have no morals or ethics.
* Lots of curses for me to go to hell on the Internet.
I just count these as silly responses of people who give me no valid evidence of why I should be raped, or can’t be moral and ethical, and curses say more about the curser than about me.
Now, as to benefits, There are so many I can’t even begin to count. First of all, I am able to do the research to understand where the Abrahamic faiths originated and realize they were an Iron Age or Bronze Age, preliterate, warlike group that came out of dessert sheep herding cultures with war lords. They had many people and cultures who disagreed with them, and Abrahamic beliefs succeeded because they killing off all and any who would not go along with their tyranny. The history of Abrahamic faiths is so easy to trace, their scriptures even tell their own stories of slaughters, destruction of villages, decimation of other cultures. There is nothing in their tradition for which to be proud. I am so very grateful I got out from under the mindbinding of Christianity. I, and countless other women suffer, even today, because of their beliefs in Christianity.
It took some looking around, finding mindbinding in every other tradition I explored, until I found a group of people who do not believe there is a superhuman god who created all the universe and recognize that each individual has within him or her a moral and ethical base. Our bodies and minds and emotions work together to create a mentally healthy, mature, adult functioning human. During my Master’s Degree research I discovered a huge group of people who unlearned dominion and learned self-awareness, the necessity for meaningful work, the value of others in community, and the power to think, reason, explore, experiment, and invent new ways of being fully human, fully involved in life, able to think and act in ways that bring about living a life worth living.
Thirty-eight + years ago I made a choice between committing suicide or creating a healthy life for my children and myself. I am so grateful I chose to live.
I'm sure many atheists have gone through their own personal experiences. Thank you Joan and John for inspiring me and also other fellow atheists out there.