Sunday, March 24, 2013

Me and Atheism.. a perfect match!

It has been a long time since I've written anything on one of the core aspects which makes me who I am, which is Atheism.  I've recently joined quite a few groups on Facebook, all centered on Atheism, and I wrote an introduction about myself last night on one of these group's pages.  I'm going to use what I put in that post here, being that I feel I did a very good job at stating many aspects of how I view things there.
"Believing" was making me feel icky inside, for lack of a better word.  No matter what I said or did, I could never be good enough for that god.  I could ask and beg for forgiveness, which I did every damn day, but nothing ever changed.  It was a never ending, torturous existence which led me to a deep depression and suicidal thoughts and actions, more times than I wish to remember.  Having jesus' death on MY hands is a terrible thing to have thrust on you!  It wasn't until I really took a look at my life and what it had become, and realized how religion had no rational thought behind it, that I was able to breathe, for maybe the first time in my life.  And this is coming from a very irrational woman!  But to place my life in the hands of a god, it needed to make some sort of rational sense, and it was no longer there for me.  I was finally free to be myself.  AND, I could finally love myself for who I am, which I was never able to do at any point in my life before.  This is what Atheism means to me.  Being able to love who I am, without fear of any sort of retribution or punishment in life or after death.
I grew up in a catholic household, went to catholic school for 12 years, and never thought to question anything until I was around 20 years old, when I became Agnostic.  I embraced my Atheist self around five years ago and, surprisingly to most, my parents have never tried to change my mind.  Both my brothers are also non-theists and I've often told my parents to not take our lack of xtian belief as an insult to them, but rather as a compliment to how they brought us up.  None of us were ever afraid to tell them our doubts and subsequent rejection of what they feel is the "truth," knowing they would love us just the same.  My parents rock, they really do!  My mom will always be one of my best friends and I'll forever be Dad's princesita.
I think the first time I openly told my parents I was an Atheist was after my dad had had a heart attack and he, my mom and I were in my home during the summer a few years back.  Dad stubbornly announced he'd be outside doing some yard work for me, even though the temperature was well over 100° and humid as could be.  Mom and I kept insisting he stay inside, which he, of course, ignored.  Moments later, he came back inside as it was too deathly hot to do anything in such weather.  I asked him to please listen to what I had to say.  I told him that back when I had been diagnosed with MS at the age of 21, he (and Mom) would have done anything to protect me from a life with this disease because HE is my father and that's what a loving father would do for his child.  In the same way, Mom and I were trying to protect him from himself by asking, no, pleading with him to not overdo things in such hot weather so soon after a heart attack.  We were trying to protect him.  I told him I would give my life to protect him because I am his daughter and love him more than any other man in the entire world.  And then I added something to the extent of, "Dad, would god protect you from dying if you were out there having another heart attack the way Mom and I are doing right now?  No, he wouldn't.  This is why I can't believe in that god.  he's not real, but we are.  If you call on us, we'll respond.  Can you say for certain that your god will?"  I already knew I was an Atheist but had never voiced this to my parents until that moment.. and have never looked back since.  My parents know I'm an Atheist and accept me as I am, as I do them, and for this I am eternally grateful.
I've chosen not to do any reading on Atheism, which may not be the best choice, yet I arrived to this point without the influence of science or other books on the subject.  If I were to read anything on the subject of Atheism, I'd be afraid to gain an actual hatred towards religion (which I have no love for, anyway), since I'm around my parents quite often.  Without having good arguments to use on them, I'm better able to bite my tongue and just roll my eyes at their chosen ignorance on so many things.  Luckily, my parents attend catholic services, yet are definitely more straight xtian (as they concluded after being questioned by both my brother and me), so they are much more open minded.  They fully support gay rights and equality for all, a woman's right to choose (although this one was very difficult for them to embrace as easily), and other issues one would hardly assume any xtian would support.
I have become a much better person since walking away from all things religious.  I've been able to embrace myself, the good and the not so good, and accept that it all makes me the woman I am.  MS is horrible, losing my Emmi Sue still haunts me and knowing I will never see her again is painful beyond belief, but it's all a part of life.. MY life.  And the truth is, life is grand.