1. Spending Time in Europe as a Teenager
At sixteen years old I became an exchange student and spent a year in Denmark. That was over 20 years ago and it still affects my life to this day. My exchange year dramatically shaped my values and how I view politics, social issues, and religion. It was the first time I had met anyone that was openly atheist. Back home in Northwest Ohio, I was surrounded by conservative Christians, but in Denmark, conservative Christians were a small minority. I felt inner turmoil questioning spirituality back home, but meeting other atheists calmed my fears. It’s okay. There are other people like me.
2. Other Atheists – Even Though We’re Sometimes Few and Far Between
So after moving around a bit in my early twenties, I came back home to Northwest Ohio where I now live with my husband and daughter. My family has lived here for several generations and I have no plans on leaving. However, living here as an atheist can feel isolating, so when I meet someone I can connect with, it feels really special.
3. Online Communities and Social Media
I share the hell out of atheist memes on Facebook. Sometimes social media feels like the only safe place for me to really express how I feel. It’s also a way to feel less isolated. Online communities provide a safe haven for learning from like-minded people.
4. The Constitution or At Least Fighting for It
My husband and I get pretty involved in politics. Separation of church and state is a key issue for me. I love that the US is a technically a secular nation – now if it could just be enforced.
5. Feeling Grounded in Common Sense
I love being an atheist. Everything makes sense and is backed up with evidence. I don’t live with guilt or shame and I make my own decisions. Common sense conquers, empathy rules, and love wins.