As with any new thing in one's life, there is a honeymoon period where everything is perfect and life is better than it has ever been. Now consider that I came to Atheism on my own and with little or no persuasion. It took me years of becoming displeased with Christian morality, or the lack there of, before I was willing to accept foreign ideas. My family and identity was so entangled with faith that I feared I would be set outside the fold. To date, I have had very mixed reactions. I first told my new friends at the West Alabama Free Thought Association. I told a couple friends who are not religious and that went well. I spoke with a very few others until later in the week. I called a very very close friend, Christian, and was surprised with his answer. He understood my points and accepted my decision. Feeling particularly proud of his acceptance I then spoke with my brother. We are very close and we talk about just about everything. I love my brother and felt he should know the truth. Honeymoon was over. I was accused of being possessed with a demon and that when I was a Christian I simply wasn't doing it right. He is now telling me to read passages within the Bible in order to reaffirm my faith. He believes that this is simply a phase of my life. Honeymoon is definitely over. Another friend threatened to punch me because my discussion of Atheism led to my liberal political views which challenge his personal views. In stark contrast I meet this amazing friend that accepts me and my flaws. Quite frankly I'm starting to meet a lot of new people who think the way I think.
This is a community that accepts me. For years I felt like an outcast, the one person that thinks differently. And it is true. Coming from such a small southern town, if you are not a red neck, you are not accepted. But there are beautiful people out there who feel like I do. Who can hold an intelligent conversation other than hunting, guns and cars/trucks.
I find that some of these people I've met are willing to not just look past the ugly parts of myself, but accept them as a part of a whole person. This week was a roller-coaster. I felt more good than not. Even though family members are shunning me. I feel loved and I am still not ashamed!