7/25/2011 | Share this article:By BethM ~
I've been on the site for a while now, and I see so many people here struggling...combing through the scriptures of what they once thought was the one true word of the one true god, hoping to find some kind of real meaning to hold on to; trying desparately to maintain the belief they once had. People trying so hard to understand what brought them to the doubts and fears and the realization that they have been lied to their entire lives. I read the stories of people in shock; reading words that could have come straight from my own mind, about what happens when a person finally gets up the courage to explore those doubts.
There is a day in particluar that comes to mind when I was going through it myself. My husband took the kids to church, while I sat at home feeling guilty that I didn't go with them. Feeling guilty about visiting this site and about all the things I had dared to learn. I sat at my desk crying. Balling. Here I was, becoming (even though I didn't want to admit it to myself at the time) that which I had always been so afraid of becoming - an atheist. I was angry, I was hurt, I was in shock. It was like all that had never made sense about what I had always been taught and spent so much time trying to understand suddenly became crystal clear in that particular moment.
None of what I had believed in for so long was real. The love and adoration I felt in my heart for what I once thought was something I could not possibly live without wasn't real. The book that I read daily and kept close at night was nothing more than a book of stories. There was suddenly a perfect answer for all the questions I had: Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why doesn't god give me some sort of sign when I ask for it? Why was it so hard for me to understand what god was trying to tell me, and what my purpose was? Why couldn't I be like all those other people who seemed to be so in touch with god, a feeling that I so desparately wanted to feel? I finally had my answer... It's because there is no god.
I've come such a long way since then. Once I knew Christianity for what it really was, I didn't feel the need to try on any other religion. Learning to accept that this life may be all there is was something that came fairly easily, once I realized that life will happen and keep on going regardless of what goes on inside my head. For me, it was very simple - no religion can be the truth. Why? Because no religion offers anything that is real.
I may never know how the universe came to be, but I can go outside at night and look up at the stars and know where I came from. I can grab my telescope and peer at other worlds, see them with my very own eyes. I can feel the heat of the sun during the day and know how that heat is created, feel it on my skin and know how it sustains all life on this planet that I call home. I can reach out and touch the leaf from a tree which provides the oxygen I need to breathe. I can swim in the ocean and feel the sand beneath my toes and know that this is where earthly life began. When my little one asks why the sky is blue and why the clouds turn grey, or what makes a rainbow, I can tell her the answer. It's all real. It's right there in front of me. It surrounds me every moment of every day. Knowing that I am somehow connected to everything in the entire universe is more wonderful than any feeling I've ever experienced.
I've never appreciated life as much as I do now, as an atheist. With so much confusion about what that term means, for me, it just means this: I believe in what is real.
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