I remember during my youth I was pretty “spiritual” and believed in an after life, a higher power, etc. I didn’t affiliate myself with any particular religion. I would take a cursory interest in the main ones, but always being an independent (some would say stubborn) thinker I reveled in figuring things out for myself. Why my starting position was that of a spiritual nature I’m not wholly sure of. I wasn’t raised in a religious home or had anyone close to me during my impressionable youth that was overly religious. Maybe it was simply the general consensus in the environment I grew up in – anyway.
I think that because I was, and still am, such an independent thinker that eventually this brought me to my atheism and current worldview, of which my atheism is a big part. Probably somewhere between my late teens and early twenties It dawned on me that I held a position, or worldview if you like, that I had never investigated like I did with any other claim thrown my way. Dawned makes it seem like it happened instantly, which of course it didn’t. Before this realization I had always held religion in disdain. I think the realization of that, in connection with my own “spiritual” position, really gave me the epiphany. I realized (again not instantly) that perhaps the basic underpinnings of all religion is similar to my lukewarm spiritualism – there HAS to be a higher power, I have a destiny written in the cosmos, some thing gives a shit about me, etc.
Through a not-too-long process I came to realize that my position had absolutely no legs to stand on. Hell, even if it had legs, it lacked any ground to stand on anyway. In a nutshell, you could say that I am an atheist because I tend to care about my convictions, and I long to know the truth, or as close to the truth as I can get.
My life as an atheist
I can admit that atheism is not the most sunny disposition in contrast to what religion can offer in regards to death – arguments against the ridiculousness and illogical notions of being immortal and in bliss aside – but not as much as religious people might have you think. Instead of seeking help from a big daddy in the sky in times of being distraught, depressed, etc. , I reach out to my fellow man (friends, family, professional help, etc.). If this life is all we have, and I am quite convinced of this, I will not waste my time reaching out to something that doesn’t answer at all, and offers nothing more than what simple introspection can achieve. No, I will reach out to something tangible, my fellow human beings, and I hope that those who surround me will do the same when they need help. I’m here, I’m real, and I may be able to help.
Accepting reality as I do, as an atheist, I find that I hit life’s little speed bumps no harder than any person who has found religion. I just do it with all of my doubts and fears laid bare. I find it analogous to accepting an apology for an atrocious act. Once you accept it you can move on, much like once you accept that there is no God, you can shed the shackles and face what you may fear the most, conquer it, and be liberated.