MLMM Sunday Confessionals: I’m an Atheist

There is a new (to me, anyway) Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie prompt called Sunday Confessionals. I suppose, like confessions, it’s meant to be an opportunity for us to get something off our chests. For this week, we’ve been asked to share something that we have felt like yelling into a hole; a secret, an unpopular opinion.

I am an atheist. That’s not a secret. But being an atheist makes me misunderstood by many and reviled by some. So consider this VERY LONG POST (for me) to be me yelling into a hole about my unpopular opinion. If you don’t feel like reading my atheist rant or will take offense at my rejection of your religious beliefs, you may want to stop here.

So let’s do this.

You were a natural-born atheist. You did not come out of the womb believing in God. Religion is something you were taught. Your religious instruction was dictated by your parents. You learned about religion and about God from your parents and from the pastor, priest, rabbi, or imam at the church or temple you and your parents attended. Your religious beliefs as a child were your parents’ religious beliefs. As with just about everything else, you did what your parents told you. You followed their lead.

But like all children, you were naturally curious. You were always asking the “why” questions. So much so, that sometimes your parents, tired of hearing you ask why over and over, would say, out of frustration, “Because I’m your father [or mother] and I said so.”

An unanswered question is better than an unquestioned answer

When you asked the really tough questions, the ones even your parents didn’t know how to answer, it was just so much easier for them to say to you, “Because it says so in the Bible,” or “Because God made it that way.”

As you began to grow a little older and to think for yourself, you discovered that Santa Claus was not real. The Easter Bunny was not real. The Tooth Fairy was not real. Monsters hiding under your bed or in your closet were not real.

But God? Yes, God is real. Of course God is real.

Wait…what?

And then you got to high school and took some science, math, biology, chemistry, and physics classes. You thought about all of the things your parents taught you about your religion, about God. You thought about the Bible stories you were taught. And then you thought about what your science teachers were teaching you. And it dawned on you that something wasn’t right.

How can the earth be less than 10,000 years old when geologists, archaeologists, and paleontologists have uncovered rocks and fossils and bones that are millions of years old? Was Eve really created as a full-grown woman out of one of Adam’s ribs? Did she really succumb to the evil will of a talking snake?

Did God really instruct a 480 year old Noah to build an ark that took him 120 years to construct? Did Noah really collect one pair of every living animal on Earth while God flooded the entire planet and destroyed every other living creature besides those on Noah’s ark?

Did Jonah really live for three days and three nights inside the belly of a big fish? Did Moses really climb a mountain and come down from that mountain carrying two stone tablets with ten commandments etched by the hand of God? Was Jesus really born of a virgin mother? Could Jesus really walk on water?

Did all those things in the Bible really happen, or are they fairy tales and fables? Why do we give any more credence to our one God and to the Bible stories than we do the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman gods and their stories? Why is the God my parents believed in and the religion they practiced any better or more “right” than the gods and religions of others around the globe? Talk about a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

Pity the Poor Atheist

A lot of people believe that atheism is borne out of suffering or some traumatic event — some tragic, horrific experience — that caused these poor souls to lose faith in God. There must have had an abusive parent or relative who emotionally or physically tortured or sexually abused them.

These poor atheists must have thought that God can’t exist because, if he did exist, he wouldn’t have allowed them to suffer that way. “How can I believe in a God who would let this happen to me, who would abandon me?”

But I’ve found that not to be the case when it comes to any of the atheists I know. We ask questions and seek evidence. Answers like, “Because it says so in the Bible,” or “You just have to have faith, you just have to believe,” don’t cut it with us.

We weigh all of the available evidence and, having done so, choose to not believe in any supernatural deity or supreme being. We tend to be pragmatists who think deeply, rationally, and logically. Most of us were raised in the religion of our parents, but became skeptical by the inconsistencies, and in some cases, the outright hypocrisies, of our religions.

Many Christians seem to believe that atheists are a bad, sad, miserable, immoral, lost lot. They feel sorry for or pity us because we have lost our way; we have strayed from the path of righteousness. They can’t understand how we can be moral individuals if we don’t believe in God or an afterlife. It’s so sad that we can’t or won’t allow ourselves to bask in the glory that is God, or to accept Jesus as our savior. Which is why they want to “save” us. How magnanimous of them.

Or if they don’t feel sorry for us, they are angry at us. How dare we question their beliefs? How do we have the audacity to suggest that the Bible isn’t “The Truth,” and that God didn’t create us in his image, or that we evolved from monkeys?

We, as atheists, are, therefore, condemned to eternal damnation unless we change our evil, secular ways and embrace God and Jesus. Only then will we be saved. Only then will the light of God’s truth reveal itself to us.

We are not people you should feel sorry for or be angry at. We just don’t live our lives built around your myths.

36 thoughts on “MLMM Sunday Confessionals: I’m an Atheist

  1. Lou Carreras July 31, 2022 / 4:33 pm

    I personally believe there is room for a multitude of belief systems…I’m a cultural anthropologist, of course so it kind of goes with the turf. I just get upset when people start attacking the beliefs of others, or worse start pogroms because the other person is not only wrong, but evil.
    Good people, regardless of their faith or lack of it, shine as examples by their actions and how they treat others. The faith they belong to is irrelevant. check your prejudices at the door.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 31, 2022 / 4:40 pm

      I wholeheartedly endorse what you said. My mantra is “Whatever floats your boat,” even when it comes to religion. Maybe especially when it comes to religion.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nope, Not Pam July 31, 2022 / 5:10 pm

    Respect others opinions. You don’t have to agree with them

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Paula Light July 31, 2022 / 5:18 pm

    I’ve always been an atheist. There was no time that I ever believed in anything supernatural, so I had nothing to reject. My parents didn’t care what I believed about religion, nor did they ever attend any religious service, which is good in some ways, as I always respected science over faith (not that they HAVE to conflict, I learned later), but not all. I think it might have been nice to feel I “belonged” somewhere, even if it was only for the music and company. I gave that to my children and one is an atheist too (far as I know) while the other is very religious. I like to think this is a success for me: they grew up with a foundation but not a demand to believe anything, so they each felt free to take their individual path.

    I would like to believe that being an atheist isn’t so “weird” these days, but maybe I’ve lived in California too long…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marleen July 31, 2022 / 5:32 pm

      People who are willing to say they are atheist have grown over the years (I first started seeing this in the eighties and the very tail end of the seventies from people born in the forties and fifties). I think you pretty much can’t get a way with it if you want to be in politics, but that might be it. Or maybe working for a particular company that is explicitly political and Christian (like ho*by lob*y) might not go great, especially had one wanted to protest the Bible section. 🤣

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marleen July 31, 2022 / 10:45 pm

        The near requirement for politics is waning, I believe. But some don’t realize that. It might be why they boosted Biden, in the end, and didn’t think they could go with Bernie.* Bernie, meanwhile, walked a fine line. I don’t know if he’s agnostic, atheist but respectful, of faith but not very traditional, of traditional rigorous intellect but not quote-unquote observant, or who knows.

        *I don’t believe that; the real reasons are far more cynical.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen August 1, 2022 / 11:16 am

        2016: Leaked E-mails Show DNC CFO and
        [other] Officials Trying to Undercut Sanders

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen August 1, 2022 / 11:30 am

          I feel it to be important to add that the quotation floating at the top is misleading. That combination of quotations was the banner below the whole YouTube screen for cnn, too, but I selected something else. His outrage was not some shade over being atheist. His outrage was over the tampering (rather than neutrality and fairness per the candidates) with the caucus and election seasons. It was the Democrats in leadership who were making “a thing” of Bernie sanders possibly being an atheist.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. cagedunn July 31, 2022 / 5:26 pm

    I may not be an atheist, but I do not believe in religions.
    Religion and belief in God/s are/is not the same thing. Religions were written by men, adapted over time to suit the dogma, and to confine people. I’m a free believer, though I don’t mind people who have their own opinions, as long as they respect the opinions/lives of others and Do No Harm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 31, 2022 / 6:46 pm

      Respect and do no harm are important. Too bad so many American Christian conservatives refuse to embrace that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • cagedunn July 31, 2022 / 7:55 pm

        They, and others like them, still live in small group (tribal) protection mode, not humanity mode.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marilyn Armstrong July 31, 2022 / 6:15 pm

    My mother was very determinedly atheist. Any time she thought I might be displaying any sign of religious inclinaton, she slowly but surely made sure I didn’t REALLY believe. The thing is, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve never been able to have faith in any belief system, but I don’t deny to anyone that they may be right and I might be wrong. Unlike my mother, I believe that anything is possible and my lack of belief isn’t a system. It’s just me. I’ve just never been able to make the leap into faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 31, 2022 / 8:19 pm

      I have not tried to deter my children from pursuing whatever beliefs they chose. Neither is at all religious, so I guess I influenced them to some degree.

      Like

  6. Lisa July 31, 2022 / 7:54 pm

    Hear, Hear! I wasn’t always an atheist. I was raised with no religion. As an adult I was a baptized member of a religion many consider to be a cult. I spent many years studying the bible, so know what it says and what it doesn’t say. And I know many/most don’t do what it says, but what they’ve decided it to mean. As an American I dislike being forced to give up my freedoms for other’s religious beliefs. My daughter does say it must be nice to have faith in something bigger than you when things in the world are so bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 31, 2022 / 8:23 pm

      But if that something bigger that one has faith in is either powerless to make things not so bad or complicit in why things are so bad, what good does that faith do?

      Like

      • Marleen July 31, 2022 / 10:10 pm

        Aren’t we back to being hurt by “God” not doing something for us? Like somebody “must have thought that God can’t exist because, if he did exist, he wouldn’t have allowed them to suffer that way.”

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Carol anne August 1, 2022 / 1:20 am

    I believe everyone should be allowed to think, and believe in whatever they want to believe in, as for me, I’m unsure, if god exists, but well, I don’t voice my opinions much. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lolsy's Library August 1, 2022 / 5:00 am

    When I first started to become more vocal about trans rights. My ‘well-intentioned’ religious Aunt sent me book about Bible quotes. The one that really annoyed me was something along the lines of “You can do good work for others, but without doing with God, it means nothing.” I was laughing until that point. So basically, if I solve world peace, it means nothing, because I’m more Spiritualist than Religion. I don’t believe in a “God” persay, but I believe in things like spirits, ghosts, guardians etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gradmama2011 August 1, 2022 / 6:26 am

    When it comes to logic, I always admire the pantheon of gods that humankind has always insisted on giving A Name. The Sun God is visible and impressive, provides warmth and light. The Rain God obviously contributed the means to life itself. The Fire God brings its gifts in practical ways. Yes…these gods also hold the means to punish us with storms and floods and various disasters. Many cultures over the eons have worshipped these givers of practical benefits. But these in turn are considered heathens or “atheist” when truth be told when we give thanks to “God” it is really the sun, or the rain, or fire, or Nature in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jay August 1, 2022 / 8:09 am

    I’ll start this off by saying I’m not an atheist. And now to my true comment: it’s funny that I (being raised Christian) don’t believe in Allah, Shiva or Odin and nobody bats an eye. But then when someone doesn’t believe in one particular God, people act like they’re morally bankrupt. I’ve met good and bad people of all walks of life, so that doesn’t make sense to me. I guess people who are fanatically entrenched into their faith must believe anyone who believes differently is evil, lest their beliefs stop making sense to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 1, 2022 / 2:28 pm

      You’re right. Those who are deeply entrenched in their own beliefs see anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs as “the other,” and as a threat.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rugby843 August 1, 2022 / 12:55 pm

    Well written👍🏻

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  12. leigha66 August 3, 2022 / 1:28 pm

    A very interesting post! I believe in… something greater than me. May be a “God” or science or we are all just dolls in someone’s rather large doll house or just simply nature. All I know is I do not agree with organized religion. It is all just a social situation with rules if you ask me. (and many rule breakers involved too)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. mindlovemisery August 5, 2022 / 4:51 am

    Very well-articulated! I grew up in the deep South so I have had my share of condemnation. I don’t really identify as an atheist because I do believe there are things beyond our current understanding, things which given our current understanding might seem miraculous or bizarre or nonsensical. Basically I don’t know everything. I am glad there are still mysteries out there. I think questions are very important. Curiosity. Self-awareness. I do not think that in order to be moral you need religion. I think humans are innately good. I think a lot of what we perceive as bad is trauma, lack of self-awareness, fear. The universe isn’t really good or bad. Change is the only absolute as far as I can tell. I don’t think there is a one-size fits all belief system. We each have our truth and we have to seek the truth in every moment. I could never live someone else’s life or replace them. It takes all kinds to make a functional society. A world of just lawyers wouldn’t work. Yet I am still connected to everyone and what I do to them, I do to myself in a sense. We need each other because we can’t be everyone and everything. So I think just understanding the connection between ourselves and others and our connection to the planet motivates us to be kind and loving and to work together. Only most of us feel separate sadly and that in part comes from to trying to define ourselves so concretely and to prove that our beliefs and way of being is the only way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Eugenia August 7, 2022 / 7:10 am

    I feel people should believe in what makes them feel comfortable and respect that others don’t share the same beliefs. I’m not an atheist. I don’t like organized religion. I feel I am more of a spiritualist and not religious. I believe in what makes me feel comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 7, 2022 / 7:32 am

      We should all be comforted by our own beliefs, whatever they are. But too many people try to make those who don’t share THEIR beliefs feel uncomfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eugenia August 7, 2022 / 6:22 pm

        Yes, you’re right! It’s unfortunate.

        Liked by 1 person

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