I have been an out atheist since my late teens. Not a casual decision; hell, my first crush was on Jesus—that handsome man with long brown hair and a beard as depicted on the little print I received as a prize in Sunday School after memorizing the Lord’s Prayer.
No. I gave religion a lot of thought and ultimately simply could not suspend my disbelief.
Back then I was in the minority, or at least seemingly so. If others questioned their belief in God they kept it to themselves, something I never felt obligated to do.
Through the years there have been both multiple and in at least one case, ongoing campaigns to convert me. And….not gonna happen.
My atheism is not nothing–it is my own well thought out belief system. Although some would argue to the contrary, atheism is not synonymous with amorality. I have a strong moral compass, one that is dictated not by rules but rather by what is right. And being atheist certainly doesn’t mean I ‘hate’ God, something I was recently accused of. I also don’t believe in unicorns, but that doesn’t mean I hate unicorns.
Many if not most of my friends subscribe to one organized religion or another and I have always been respectful of their belief system. Unfortunately, the respect has not always gone both ways.
For the most part I have been extremely tolerant. I understand that when someone is trying to convert me they feel they are doing me a favor. But, you are not. I’m good here; happy atheist if you will.
A week ago a family member sent me a card. They acknowledged how hard I have fought to stay alive: ‘most people would have given up years ago.’ But that was followed with this piece of advice; ‘Perhaps God is waiting for you to choose eternal life with Him.’
I cried. And then I drank too much.
The next morning I made some decisions. No more Ms Nice Guy when I am being blatantly disrespected.
Fortunately, reverse psychology often works for me. Case in point, in junior high my band teacher told me I would never master my instrument (a flute) because I had a cupid’s bow on my upper lip. Well damned if this girl didn’t go on to sit in first chair in both band and orchestra. If you tell me I can’t, I likely will.
But if you try to get me to do something that is in conflict with my personal beliefs, well, don’t even. I am open minded but I am not malleable.
And if there is a God, well they (I simply can’t gender something like God) are going to have to wait. I am in no hurry to find out if I am right or wrong.