Sent in by Nick M
I like to occasionally visit this site and read testimonials of people who've drifted away from their faiths, and admire the courage of many of them. Still, one thing strikes me every time I hear it, and that is the fear associated with giving up one's faith. I can understand the stigmas associated with it, affecting your family and friends, but I'm talking about the, if I may be so blunt, illogical fears associated, such as the continued belief one might still 'run afoul' of god. Just so you understand where I'm coming from, let me give you a little backstory on myself.
My childhood was as normal as any suburban family. I went to church every Sunday, never asking questions, just listening attentively, and waiting for the reverend to rescind his pulpit so I could go home and play Super Mario BrosAt the age of eight, my life took what some would call a rather startling turn, though I know for a fact it was the best thing that could have happened to me at such a critical time in my childhood development. It was Christmas morning, I’m not entirely sure of the exact year, and I happened down the hallway, excited as ever to see what gifts Santa had left for me under the tree, only to catch my parents in the final stages of putting together the bicycle I had begged for in my lengthy letter to the North Pole. It would be an understatement to say this came as quite a shock, but my parents gave me the classic explanation of how there really is no Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, or Easter Bunny. Though I wasn’t told this specifically, I naturally assumed god was just another imaginary character my parents told me about so I would be good, or something. Just to re-iterate, I was eight years old and much more concerned about Sonic the Hedgehog on my Genesis than any philosophical questions that might naturally arise when someone loses their faith. That's how I became an atheist.
Over the next few years, I continued to learn about atheism, and developed myself as a somewhat outspoken atheist in my small community. I waited until I was 14 to tell my parents that I was an atheist, and although visibly disappointed at first, they still understood that I was serious, and allowed me to go my own way, as it were. For this, I will forever be grateful. Occasionaly, I would be drawn in to debate the reasons behind my beliefs (or lack therof, rather), but those arguments were trounced pretty quicky, as the average 15 year old xian kid isn't very knowledgeable, especially about their own religion, when it comes to arguments for the existence of god. That leads me to this point in my life.
Going back to my original point, though, I can understand some fears that come along with giving up god, such as the idea that there is no afterlife. I can see how that may be hard to cope with at first, and it's long been my idea that that though is what drives many into the 'safety net' of religion, but the idea itself has always brought me comfort. The assurance that I'm not being judged for every little mistake, and that I can live my life and not have to answer to anyone but myself. I don't know... maybe it's just me, but I would still like some feedback either way. Thank You.
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