Today’s contribution is courtesy of fellow FTBorg Zinnia Jones, who can be found at her eponymous blog.
…I’m able to pursue my own chosen path in life, free from the fear of displeased deities and controlling religions that would tell me what I must do with myself. Most religions have little of any value to say to a woman who was raised as a man, assuming they have even the most basic grasp of such a concept. And when going through a process of self-discovery and change that’s so intensely personal, the hostility from a world that views you with suspicion and doubt is challenging enough without having to guess at the desires of a god and whether you’re in compliance with them – desires which the religions of the world still can’t come to an agreement on.
Because I’m an atheist, I’m free to explore who I am and decide what’s best for myself, and that’s exactly what I need for this to work. It is necessary for me to be someone who’s truly happy with herself, and this is too important to let a god get in the way. Because I’m an atheist, I’m unattached to any religion which would try to push me into a conservative, hetero-normative, gender-typical life that would never fit me.
I’m also free to consider ethical questions without having to factor in religious doctrine, or how my answers will satisfy or enrage a certain god. There is nowhere I can’t go, no line of reasoning I’m forbidden from following, because a certain faith may deem such thoughts off-limits. I never have to stop thinking for fear of cosmic consequences. Wherever my mind takes me, I can regard its destinations unflinchingly, and there is no structure of belief I must remain within the confines of. And no matter how difficult the puzzle, I can at least be assured that it will not be exacerbated by uncertainty about the nature of a god.
But casting aside the shackles of religion also requires abandoning its use as a crutch. For that reason, any decisions I make are mine and mine alone. I am fully accountable for what I do, with no refuge in the claim that a god is on my side. And in any argument I make, I am the one who must ultimately stand behind it and take responsibility for supporting what I’ve said. There can be no self-assured certainty that I must be right because I’ve acted in accordance with a certain article of faith; there is no godly stamp of approval to excuse any dishonesty or laziness on my part. There is nothing that I am entitled to take “on faith” and expect everyone else to accept.
Because I’m an atheist, my intellectual and personal integrity has been liberated and elevated, and I’m able to engage with the world in a way that’s vastly more freeing and fulfilling. Because I am an atheist, I can be myself – the best me that I can be.
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