Live and Let: Atheism Part 1

Life:  Still insomniac.

Mood: Not too shabby.

Mind:  Thinking about this:

If you have been following my blog for a bit, you already know that I’m an Atheist.  How I got here? Well, it goes something like this:

I was born with no religious beliefs obviously.  Fast forward to the age of three months and I was officially a Catholic.  How? Somebody poured water on my head when I was trying to take a nap while sucking on my thumb and a bunch of adults around me were really happy for some reason.  I cried.

So nothing changed much; as I was growing up, it was part of life.  People get a shower and get dressed everyday, eat something called breakfast and go to school.  It’s what people do.  Oh, they also pray in school… it just happens.  EVERYWHERE.  You don’t talk about it because you don’t even know it’s there.  Sundays at church = a nice visit to grandma while looking at a rather impressive building with lots of shiny things to get distracted with.  After a session of sitting, standing and kneeling (kind of a dance, but much much slower and quieter), adults ate something that seemed to be made of sugar. I always wanted this but I couldn’t get it.  They said I didn’t need it.  I shrugged.

As consciousness increased, questions arose slowly and randomly.  Part of exploration of a mind in the making of course.   Some questions had interesting answers:  “Are we inside Earth?” – “No we’re on the surface.” – “Wow!”.    But some questions made adults produce answers that sounded like they had no idea about anything:

Why am I supposed to pray out loud? If God knows everything then he can read my mind and know what I want and if I’m really sorry and if I’m up to something…  And he can stop it.  So I really, really don’t have to do anything!” – I said happily.  “You have to pray.” – They said.  “Why?” – I kept pushing my luck. “Well” – they said, kind of irritated – “You don’t really ask why.  It just is.  We all do it and so should you.”

It just is…

It just is…

Okay… well.  I was not a confrontational person.  But a seed was planted.  Soon more seeds were planted too.  And once they started growing, there was no way back.  I did this in secret while telling the other side of my mind that I wasn’t really serious, that this was just me being a scientist.  But the deluded part of my mind kept getting weaker until one day I looked down and saw it – very small, green and insecure – and realized I didn’t have to justify myself to it anymore.

Getting to this point took years.  After all, a deep sea of delusion was surrounding me.  But I was already used to be the weird one, so what the hell, this is just something else.  During high school it became stronger, and I felt more comfortable in my unique world, and as a young teenager I even had fun with it.  Eating a good meaty hamburger in front of the most catholic classmates during lent on a Friday made them nuts.  Asking lots of questions I already knew would bother them, using of course my very innocent face.  Being told I was going to hell if I didn’t change my ways.  Hm, okay.

This rather fun way went on for years too.  I was an atheist, but it was my own fun and free world that most people had no access to.  It removed the limits for my curiosity about everything which was an advantage.  It spared me from many fears people seemed to have about seemingly harmless things.  Perfect.  I wouldn’t get in their way unless it was for my own amusement.

So I admit it: It was not too hard for me to become an Atheist.  At least I don’t remember it like that. It sort of happened.  Despite the high levels of religious beliefs in Latin American countries like Colombia, I never had problems with my parents (they easily gave in to the idea of atheism like it had been something that just hadn’t crossed their minds before), I kept it from my grandmother with no effort, and I was already weird enough in school on my own; I didn’t blame atheism for it.

I love the Internet.  This is the first time I discovered I wasn’t the only weird one.  Turns out, many intelligent people had asked similar questions.  I found people who went through hell to get out of the delusion and were now all over the place, discussing it, trying to make people see what they see and the whole subject made a big part of their lives.  I also found people who had it easy because they never had religion imposed on them, they didn’t think much about religious people and if they did they soon shrugged and went back to their business.  I found real agnostics.  I wondered whether I was one.  I reasoned that the natural degree of passion about atheism was somewhat related to how hard was it for you to get there.  So yes, some people are religious, I’m not.  That’s all.  Live and let live right?  If I’m asking people not to impose ideas on me, then the least I can do is not do it myself.

To be continued…

Live and Let: Atheism part 2.

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14 thoughts on “Live and Let: Atheism Part 1

  1. Perhaps the fact that you were some sort of Pariah made it easier for you to escape peer pressure for being more religious. I became an atheist way after high school – but that’s because they don’t expose you to alternative worldviews like atheism in Israel and I basically went through my de-conversion through the internet. After that, a mountain of sciencebooks did the rest. Who needs fables when reality is so much more exciting?

  2. I basically went through my de-conversion through the internet.

    The internet definitely consolidated my thougths. After all, I still float in a world of mainly religious people, and it is still the “default” option. If it wasn’t for the internet, my incipient atheism could have suffered, or worse, reverted. I was in my late teens when my depression got worse and I started to feel bad about everything that made me different to the average. It was then when got told that I was down because I was “away from God”, and many offered to “enlighten” me (ha), but I was a little stronger by then. On the internet I found people who thought like me, I found books that otherwise I wouldn’t have had contact with. I could for example never dream of finding atheist people who come from other religious lands. It is always an interesting experience.

    I still have lots to say, I’m working on part two.

  3. Awww i like this blog entry
    even though you have told me this storey many of times.
    You know my views on things.
    Sometimes my views on them can be very strong other times i will be meh im athiest…

    Man i haev been athiest since being in the womb

  4. Yes, I agree with you. While sometimes Aetheists tend to blame non-Aetheists for thinking that they do not have moral values just because they don’t have a religion, I feel that as long as we Aetheists leave the religion-ed folks alone, they will eventually leave us alone.
    I like this post too, yay.

  5. I feel that as long as we Aetheists leave the religion-ed folks alone, they will eventually leave us alone.

    Nope nope. That’s not exactly where I’m going… it is actually kind of the opposite idea.

  6. I used to hate being made to pray in school. I come from a family of devout atheists and I’ve followed in those footsteps. I’ve always had an interest in religion in terms of psychology, but I’ve never been a believer. At one point in school, I just refused to bow my head and repeat the words. A teacher shouted at me. My 15 year old self explained very calmly that I didn’t want to trivialise the beliefs of people who genuinely followed a religious lifestyle by saying their sacred words without meaning them. It didn’t go down too well.

  7. My 15 year old self explained very calmly that I didn’t want to trivialise the beliefs of people who genuinely followed a religious lifestyle by saying their sacred words without meaning them.

    Haha, very good response. If the teacher made you pray anyway, he or she would be trivialising their own beliefs on purpose. If they let you go your way, they would be accepting a non religious point of view. I can’t imagine the anger inside them. I hope they didn’t hurt you.

  8. You talk like you are right, in fact none of religious and atheist people know about this world. We are only human in planet earth, being an atheist doesn’t means that you should act like a jerk, being a religious doesn’t means that you should judge others. Live in peace, that what we should be. Thanks.

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