I don’t have the date written down, but sometime in the middle of January two years ago I officially decided I was an Atheist. It’s been a very interesting and difficult two years.
Before I realized I was an Atheist, religion didn’t take up much of my daily thought process, now it’s something I think about almost constantly. It’s been a stressor for the most part. The constant feelings of being a second class citizen, distrusted by the majority, hated by a good block of people, it’s difficult when you think about it and see it all the time.
I think this is were a religious person might suggest that I lie to myself, to feel better. How typical. Trying to fake something I’m not isn’t going to make me feel any better, in fact, knowing that I’m lying to myself would make me feel worse.
No, on the whole, I’m actually much happier as an Atheist. As a teenager, the same time I was extremely depressed was the same time I was extremely religious. Coincidentally, now that I’ve let go of the idea of god, I’ve been all and all happier. I know I’m responsible for my own actions and I can influence what path my life takes. It’s true freedom and control.
In the past two years I’ve also had a redistribution of my energies. Right before I became an Atheist I was extremely political. Unable to vote, yet I followed politics avidly. I went to the local democrats meetings, volunteered in campaigns, waged yard sign wars, the works. It was good fun and I met some interesting people.
My first year of college I almost became a political science major instead of a history major because I was toying with the idea of pursuing a career in politics. Perhaps not running, but working on campaigns. That whole house of cards came crashing down when after the 2006 elections nothing big changed. The democrats were still spineless and unwilling to stand up to Bush. I was really devastated and disillusioned about politics.
Luckily, at the same time I was learning about Atheism, and my energy shifted. I guess I have a thing for picking seemingly hopeless causes. I guess I like the underdog. Any who is the most distrusted minority for no good reason in the world? Atheists.
In those two years I’ve lost friends and made friends because of Atheism. I’ve gotten into multiple fights with family members and proselytizers over Atheism. I’ve joined online secular communities, printed various bumper stickers, and accumulated a nice little Atheist bookshelf. I was also lucky enough to meet a beautiful woman who happened to be an Atheist, though of a lighter, happier flavor than I.
The hardest part about the two years has got to be the feeling of alienation. Yes, the online communities help, but they can only do so much. Religion is still everywhere I go. I literally can’t get through the day without hearing about it or seeing it, and being reminded that I’m an infidel, an outsider, different. I’m trying to get over the rage I’ve developed but it’s hard. Just constantly having that in my face makes me so angry. Just all the ridiculousness, credulity, ignorance, stupidity, it makes me gag.
Despite all this, I guess it’s been a good two years. I have a much better appreciation for life and my fellow human beings than I did when I was a believer. I can also take pride in knowing that I have scientific, repeatable, provable evidence to support my beliefs, something no believer can claim.