Because I am an atheist: Heather McNamara

Today’s contribution comes from Heather McNamara, who blogs at “The McNamara Report

Because I am an atheist…

…I am no longer burdened with acquiescence to the moral superiority of an entity created by men from an era that loathed my gender, my orientation, and most of all, my autonomy. I can now understand my feelings for what they really are. They are not bogeymen or sinful desires of the flesh that seek to draw me away from anyone’s true purpose or plan for me. My feelings for women are no more or less supernatural than my friends’ feelings for the opposite sex. I am free to pursue relationships, love, and sex with whomever I wish so long as I treat them well. My heart and my bedroom are now happy, restful, pleasurable places instead of battlegrounds. I can now experience the kind of love and ecstasy my friends always have without guilt or fear of having disappointed my Father.

I have learned that I’m a better, more powerful person than I thought I was. Each accomplishment, talent, and triumph for which I previously felt unworthy and attributed to the graciousness of a higher power were in fact my own. When I have overcome poverty, depression, and severe anxiety, it wasn’t because a higher power finally saw fit to have mercy on me. It was because I fought valiantly and won. With my new confidence, I feel better equipped to handle the difficult situations such as the inevitable divorce and subsequent poverty that life has thrown at me since coming out. I don’t have to wonder whether a god will see fit to help me through this one or accept bad situations as my just desserts for straying from its path. I knew I would get through these things just like I got through everything else. And I have. I’m quite capable.

I can mourn. What a relief it is to mourn. I don’t have to fight against “selfish” sadness and find a way to be grateful for what I’ve been given. When my 19 month old nephew died slowly and painfully of leukemia, I struggled to accept the idea that this might have been a test of faith. I feared that if I failed, the same god who allowed what happened to my nephew would allow it to happen to my sons. I believed, and some of my relatives’ pastors stated, that if we could impress god, he surely would not allow it to happen again. In fact it was the cruelty and absurdity of this notion that finally brought me to the end of my faith. Now when people I love die, I can simply miss them. I can think of all of the beautiful ways they have touched my life and then I can let them go.

I no longer worry about the dead, or about my death. I concentrate on my life now, and because of this, it has become more beautiful and fulfilling. I can write my own destiny and make my own choices without fear of supernatural retribution. Sometimes, when I’m alone or scared, I feel more lonely or scared than I once did. I know I am truly alone and there is no warm, invisible hand to hold mine. It took some getting used to. But it is also comforting to know that the same hand was powerless all along, and that I no longer have to fear its letting go of mine when I fail to impress.

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  1. Makoto says

    An excellent piece! Thanks for sharing.

    To me, the knowledge that there is no life after death means that this is my one shot. This is when I get to make a difference. This is when I can help people, do good things, and (someday) be remembered by those still around for what I did while I was here.

    There are no save points, no continues, no new game+. I don’t worry about my death, either, I just make sure to make the most of each day, since I never know when the ride will be over.

  2. believeinme2 says

    AMEN! I mean…You go girl! You ARE capable of anything!!! Don’t worry about the make beieve friend(s) anymore. You have REAL ones!

  3. Greg says

    You can’t have sons if you are a lesbian. Not biological ones. Other than that this whole blog/article was nothing more than an eighth grader’s attempt to make themselves feel better by choosing not to believe in God. Towards the end of this article it turned to an all out “I feel sorry for myself” rant. I can’t see anyone taking inspiration from this at all.

  4. says

    Greg fails at both science and human decency (and noticing the number of people who ‘took inspiration’ from it in the comments. Oh, and English)

  5. Axel Grude says

    Greg, you must know really intelligent eight-graders, to come up with sentences like: “I am no longer burdened with acquiescence to the moral superiority of an entity created by men from an era that loathed my gender, my orientation, and most of all, my autonomy”

    “You can’t have sons if you are a lesbian.” And I take it you can’t have morals if you’re an atheist either? You’re certainly very capable of being narrow-minded.

    “..choosing not to believe in God..” you really think it is a choice?

    “if we could impress god, he surely would not allow it to happen again” do you like that notion?

    “… end of this article it turned to an … “I feel sorry for myself” rant” – read it again, I do not detect such a notion here. Instead it says that you will experience emotions more clearly once you start to be honest with yourself.

  6. StevoR says

    Cheers Heather McNamara & Zinnia Jones for the direct here.

    Well said.

    Thanks. (Raised beer salute.)


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