Posts tagged ‘Introspection’

June 4, 2012

My Atheist Perspective

An Elaboration of Religious Thought

I posted this on an atheist forum:

I have been an atheist for quite a while, and feel compelled to summarize my experiences thus far. As a christian, knowledge of Atheism was scant. It was only recently that I met and acknowledged that atheists existed, before which I only assumed that a lack of belief was impossible. My initial reaction to the atheist that I met was one of anger at the supposed arrogance of the atheist that I had met(I do not mention his name because I do not know it. Our time together was brief). And yet, I think I understand why I held such a malevolent position towards him.

To be christian is to be right and correct. Any other belief that was not christian could have been tolerated, because the Catholic church teaches that all religions have the same light of truth, though to a lesser degree. The position of an atheist, however, is not a meek acceptance of inferiority, but a blatant violation of the Catholic’s supposed right to feel superior. The Catholic christian calls the Atheist arrogant, not because of any true arrogance on the part of the Atheist(in fact, the Atheist/Agnostic profession of doubt is probably the most humble theoretical standpoint to begin one’s search for truth), but because the Catholic can no longer be arrogant in the face of the Atheist.

It was probably just as well. My meeting with this atheist developed into a downward spiral that led to myself becoming cynical, and somewhat paradoxically, progressively more open minded. It was only through joining this forum, and conversing with other Atheists, that I dared to admit to myself that there was no god. And then, a strangely peculiar thing happened. I had expected, under the auspices of “coming out”, to be barraged by Christians and other Religious personalities. I had expected to be shouted at, or cornered, or spat upon, but so far the only guilt trips that I’ve had to endure are those that come from my mother.

I currently live in a relatively isolated part of Texas, very near the desert. My geographic location might have some influence towards my lack of ostracism. Still, there is the church standing about six miles from my house. There is the wal-mart where I work. And truthfully, I find that I have to introduce my being an atheist in order for people to discuss religion. In fact, there seems to be a strange phenomenon within the rank-and-file of the clients that I serve. Most people act with a complete disregard for religion, until I mention that I am an atheist, at which point a kind of mechanism seems to activate in their mind. It is as if they are angry at me not for being an atheist, but for reminding them that they are Christian.

Of course, there remains the Posadas and Rosaries, and all of the festive trappings of the Catholic culture. And yet, at almost all of these events, the popular culture has seeped into the festivities, almost to the horror of the priests and religious authorities. It is almost as if the vibrancy of the Catholic church depends upon the cultural dissonance generated by forcing Catholic tradition onto new cultures! And far from this causing the decay and rebellion that I would expect, this actually has the opposite effect. It serves to ever more tightly bind the locals to their padres and their prayer beads.

I do not know what to make of this. I feel like he who crawled out of the cave, only to be blinded by the harshness of the sun. I have come to enjoy a life unfettered by religion and abundant with peace and love and the wonders of the world. But, upon returning to the cave to share my joy with my friends and family, I find that they not only do not wish to leave the cave, but that they would probably not survive the trip to its mouth. The sunlight that so refreshed me would burn their skin, and the warmth of the air would be to them, the fires of hell.

What is to become of myself, who has become happy, and yet alone?

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