Atheism has made me a better person

Sent in by M. L.

It has been a long and often emotionally turbulent journey, but I can now state, without fear eternal damnation, that I am an Atheist.

I am not angry. I do not feel “done in” by Christianity. I do not even feel that my years as a Christian were wasted. In fact, I believe that I am who I am today due to the sum of my experiences. And Christianity played a big part in that.

That said, becoming an Atheist has had a greater impact on my life than all those years of Theism ever had.

I now go through life with eyes wide open.

My relationship with my husband has reached an all time high. I can be adventurous without feeling guilty. I can unequivocally state that he is the true love of my life without the nagging voice in the back of my mind reminding me that Jesus should actually hold that position. I can be the woman he loves, completely rebellious and devoid of all notions of submission - my true self!

But it is not just my marriage that has benefited.

I can now ask questions that I would never have dreamed possible asking. Imagine the joy of investigating without fear of being influenced by evil. I have even gone as far as checking out the official Satanic website, just to see what these guys are really all about! Interesting stuff. Not for me, but interesting none the less.

My point is, I do not need to believe anything anymore because church dogma dictates it. I do not have to mold my sense of morality and of ‘what is right’ based on what was preached from the pulpit last Sunday.

I can make my own rules based on what I believe is right and just. Just because I can.

My opinions have changed. I am more tolerant of other’s differences. I can look at other religions without judgment. Who cares what other people believe. As long as they do not try to impose their belief structures on me, what difference does it make? I am not threatened anymore. I am empowered by knowledge and reason.

Life has new meaning. When we die, that is it. So I love truly, live life fully. No more storing up treasures in Heaven. No more living to die so that I can live forever. I now enjoy the here and now and have peace with the fact that this is all the time we will ever get.

People ask the question, if there is no God, what is the point to our lives? In the greater scheme of things, what difference do we really make? My answer would be that without God, my life has more meaning. I take charge of my own destiny. I am responsible for all my actions. No devil to blame, no magical wiping clean of the slate whenever I stuff up. I bare the consequences, good and bad. My children and their children will bare the fruit of choices I make now. The impact is greater than I could ever imagine, and that makes me more aware.

Pre-destiny is such a dangerous thing. It robs people of the ability to think for themselves and take charge of their own lives. It cultivates a tendency to mediocrity and complacency.

Atheism has given me the courage to be who I am, without qualification, without excuses.

Thank Nature for Reason!

26 comments:

Mike said...

Nice testimony! I can totally relate as I didn't deconvert in anger either.

Spirula said...

Who cares what other people believe. As long as they do not try to impose their belief structures on me, what difference does it make?

Would only the believers adopt this stance (I know, I know...spread the good news and all pretty much rules that out) we would all be able to get along better.

*sigh*

Mike said...

Spirula, to me it's kind of like shopping at Best Buy on a slow day. Everybody in the store will approach you , sometimes multiples times asking if you need help. The first time it's not too annoying, especially if you are looking for help, eventually it gets really annoying. They are all trying to be sincerely helpful, but they don't know that 50 people before them have already offered help.

Maybe we should all wear, "No thanks, I already tried Jesus" hats or something similar reflecting our individual experience.

Spirula said...

Mike,

"No thanks, I already tried Jesus", unfortunately they are also a perfect example of someone who does not get "No means no."

The phrase "impose their beleif structure" on me is what I was really driving at. Much of the contention and conflict in the world exists solely because of that.

Mike said...

Spirula,

Well, it would deter a few of them, but I agree with you, probably not most. I have had a few friends act like I told them I just joined NAMBLA when I came out as an Atheist.

Their belief structure can't handle any concept but friend or enemy of the cross.

ou812 said...

M.L., I feel the same way and thank you for your testimony. I have friends and family members who are Christian. When I look back on things I said as a "C" I can't believe that I actually believed that stuff, let alone tried to make others believe it too. I'm sure they think I'm like a wave tossed to and fro. Not anymore... I'm more solid not believing the bible and sticking to the facts. I've found that not saying anything about religion leaves many other, more interesting topics open to discussion. Good for You!

jimearl said...

Thanks for your post, M.L.

I believe that being an atheist has made me a better person as well. I'm not afraid of using that term because I know it only means one who has seen no reason to believe in gods.

I know that Christians cannot sit back and enjoy themselves without trying to win over as many others as possible. But now that I have found the real truth, neither can I. I don't try to convert others to my way of life as much as just showing them why I am who I am. Besides, I am a little different that most non-believers in that I am still living with a cretin. Oh well, I keep hope alive that one day she will see the "light". Cheers, Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

TEST

Anonymous said...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

resonate11 said...

What beautiful wisdom you share in your testimony, M.L.
Thanks. Congratulations on finding your way to all the good things you discovered when you let go of god. Welcome to the good news--we are god free--and the wise side.

Anonymous said...

Well, I feel a great deal of resentment towards Christianity and the wasted years. I deconverted 27 years ago and I still feel this way.

I might have been able to get over it if it weren't for all these Christians constantly trying to save me. My email inbox is inundated with preachy Christian emails everyday from people doing "God's will". (Apparently, several Christian groups have an email ministry going, and they've been passing around my email address.)

Their condescending self-righteousness and piety really irk me. I used to take it lying down but now I'm fighting back with anti-Christian emails. I now have my own atheist email ministry, and I find it quite satisfying.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting, M.L. I enjoyed reading about your life experiences.

When you and other commenters on this post insist they that Christianity is a false dogma and a farce, you all insist that your own path or road of life is correct. If you claim you hold the key to your own life, you are even more self-appointed and arrogant than most Christians- at least they believe that life is not just about themselves.

Further, when one fully claims their destiny, they become god- god of their own lives. But the god of what control? What little control you have over your lives! Look at the car crashes, cancer, the numerous debilitating diseases, the frequent disasters. Can the power of science control one of these? Life is fragile, and futile. What hapiness you have, may last for a minute; what joy you have may turn into death. You have financial success and many friends? What are these? One bad moment and they are gone forever.
M.L., I do not question your reasoning to abandon Christianity as a religion. However, I would wonder if you believe there is a definitive right or wrong (moral relativism)- for even you, I imagine, do not desire to live a life without meaning.

.:webmaster:. said...

flamingiguana08 wrote, "You all insist that your own path or road of life is correct."

Huh? I for one think that Islam, Buddhism, and every one of the 10,000+ religions on the planet are ridiculous. That opinion, however, in no way implies I think I have all the answers to life. You, however, by making claims of holding ultimate truth take that arrogant stance.

"Further, when one fully claims their destiny, they become god- god of their own lives. But the god of what control? What little control you have over your lives! Look at the car crashes, cancer, the numerous debilitating diseases, the frequent disasters."

Says who? I don't pray to myself, offer myself burnt sacrifices, crucify myself to myself to appease my own anger, or threaten to eternally torture anyone for anything. However, you are right, no one has any real control over the circumstances in life -- not even Christians. Regardless of a person's religion, everyone is subject to the random happenings of life.

Now, as far as your implication that only YOU have meaning in your life and all those who don't adopt your religion are without meaning... How insulting! What possible "meaning" could anyone get from slavering over a pretend deity who is so shallow as to promise to torture most of humanity for not having the right ideas about the correct god? How hideous!

Who knows what you mean by the word "meaning," If you can find no meaning in the real mortal life you are living now... well, I pity you. It must be tough having a miserable life.

boomSLANG said...

'iguana08...at least they[Christians] believe that life is not just about themselves.

When you say "life" in this context, I'm 99.999 % sure you mean this temporal, physical "life".

So, if I'm right, and you want to assume the Christian perspective, then fine.

So then, continuing---they[Christians] believe that they are the Crowning Jewel at the center of 125 billion known galaxies, otherwise known as the entire "Universe", and that the "Creator" of this Universe has bequeathed - to them - the answers to ALL of life's questions. It has bequeathed to them, all the knowledge they'll ever need to know... and, if they believe this as Universal Truth, they will inherit a ticket to eternal bliss, where there, they can live happily ever after, while the majority of humankind are being tortured in everlasting hellfire.

Draw your own conclusion(s) as to who is more "arrogant", and who thinks they hold the "key to life".

iguana08...What little control you have over your lives! Look at the car crashes, cancer, the numerous debilitating diseases, the frequent disasters. Can the power of science control one of these?

The "power of science" cannot fully control or irradicate car crashes, disease, and natural disasters. No.

Now, I'd like to ask you some questions:

- Are you willing to, from now on, walk or take a horse-drawn covered wagon every time you need to go somewhere?

- Are you willing to forego medical treatment if you should become ill?

- Are you willing to live in a tent or log cabin without electricity and the modern conveniences that run on electricity, such as radios and TV sets, in which case, you could not be forewarned if a hurricane or lightning storm was approaching?

- Lastly, are you implying that if "science doesn't have control" over such things as car crashes, disease, natural disasters, etc., that some "thing", or "somebody", does have "control" of those things? If so, then evidently there's no difference at all, because ALL of those things still persist, DIP-WAD.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for coming out as arrogant. I would call myself one who follows the God of the Christian Bible, but truly, I do not claim to know the answers.

I love technology. I don't hate science. Obviously, it has been used for great good, but also great evil (deadlier weapons, etc.) Yes, I would seek a hospital if ill, and would prefer to live in a modern home with modern, scientifically advanced equipment.

I'm suppose I'm talking to an audience which would not associate itself with a religion. Thus, with intent of pure curiosity, I would like to ask a question,

"Why do you want to live?"

I also ask this question to myself. Is your answer so obvious, "Just live life," ? Or do you not try to think about it, because maybe there isn't a deeper meaning to living. Do you desire to do as much as you can, make as much money as you can, see the world, raise a family, experience what the fickle world has to offer.

I'm not seeking an arguement. A friendly opinion would be warmly accepted. I respect you for using your mind as the tool and gift that it is.

yours sincerely,

brad

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Hi Brad,

You asked:
"Why do you want to live?"

Have you looked outside recently? Despite the problems in the world, life is a beautiful thing! I want to live life because there is so much of it to live! Think of all the wonderful people you have met in your life! There are many more where they came from! Ever smile at someone who looked like they were having a bad day and see their face light up? Ever hike to the top of a mountain and see the view? Ever give a cold person clothing or a hungry person food? Ever give or receive a much needed hug? Ever hear a piece of music that moved you? Maybe a movie, book or painting? Ever watch children playing or hear them laughing and just be unable to keep yourself from smiling?

What's not to live? Life is precious, especially if you share it with those you love.

Astreja said...

Why do I want to live?

To listen to music.
To write.
To build things.
To solve problems.
To do interesting work.
To pet pussycats.
To help when I can.
To wonder at absurdity.
To feel love, hate, fear, awe and confusion.

And, generally, to simply experience life. That's it in a nutshell.

boomSLANG said...

'iguana08...I would call myself one who follows the God of the Christian Bible...

Right..i.e..a Christian. And being so, I take it you've read the bible from cover-to-cover. After all, we're presumably talking about the intentions and desires of the "Creator of the Universe", so I would think you've investigated its "Written Word" as thoroughly as possible.....am I right on this?

'iguana08.....but truly, I do not claim to know the answers.

Yet, oddly, you seem to know enough about those who don't subscribe to your worldview to make blanketed judgements about them..i.e.."arrogant". Apology accepted, BTW.

'iguana08...I love technology. I don't hate science. Obviously, it has been used for great good, but also great evil (deadlier weapons, etc.)

A shovel cannot dig a ditch; only a person with a shovel can dig a ditch. While that might not be the best analogy inthe world - simply because we're talking about weapons that can annihilate huge populations - the point is, it's ultimately the person, or persons, who wield such weapons that is the issue. And to the best of my knowledge, there is currently not one single war being fought in the name of "no God".

'iguana08...Yes, I would seek a hospital if ill, and would prefer to live in a modern home with modern, scientifically advanced equipment.

Thanks for your honesty on that.

I'm suppose I'm talking to an audience which would not associate itself with a religion.

Yes, that's correct...although, not all exchristians are Atheists; many have adopted some other form of spiritual belief.

'iguana08...Thus, with intent of pure curiosity, I would like to ask a question,

"Why do you want to live?"


Personally - and at a bare minimum - I "want to live", because to do so is a rare privilege---that is, when you consider the infinite potential for human beings to come into existence, but yet, "most" of which never will---simply because the earth will not sustain human life infinitely. And of course, this raises some serious conflicts if, presumably, all "souls" were "created" in one instant and "they" are waiting around somewhere(?) in "limbo", to later be conceived in human form. For those who believe in a dualistic existence, this is just one of many philosophical problems to overcome. Another is to "exist", or to have "self-awareness", where time does not exist.

'iguana08...Is your answer so obvious, "Just live life," ? Or do you not try to think about it, because maybe there isn't a deeper meaning to living.

You'd have to first qualify what your mean by "deeper meaning". "Deeper" than what?....deeper than to simply "live"? Am I missing something here? Is to "live" an infinite "amount" of time somehow "deeper" than to live a limited amount of time? Isn't it what you do with the time, that makes the difference? I'm curious.

'iguana08...Do you desire to do as much as you can, make as much money as you can, see the world, raise a family, experience what the fickle world has to offer.

Those who subscribe to a materialistic/naturalistic worldview aren't necessarily materialist in an economic sense. Beyond that, "meaning" differs from person-to-person.

'iguana08...I respect you for using your mind as the tool and gift that it is.

Yes, using our minds. Is there a better way for determining truth?

SamiB said...

Great question, I want to live because...

I want to be around the people and animals that I love and who love me.

I want to laugh every single day I possibly can and make other people laugh.

I want to start stories and even finish some of them.

I want to experience more of this world and discover and read and question.

I want to live because this is my only shot (at life) and I want to make the most of it while I am here.

I want to live beacuse there is no alternative except ceasing to exist on any level.

SamiB said...

Oh and I also want to live to see Westham (my football team) come top of the first division....but I also realise that is a dream I might never live to see.

Searching said...

Flamingiguana08,
Thanx for commenting on my post.

I do not see myself as a god, and if holding the key to my own life means that I take full responsibility for who I am and what I do, then yes, I hold the key to my own life.

Like I said before, my life has new meaning. I always thought that my life was worth while because of God's blessing and presence. I cannot say that I had no identity of my own, because that would be a lie, but a large part of my identity was that of 'bride of Christ'. I was defined by my Christianity. Since my deconversion I have found a "new life".

As far as I know the answer to the "meaning of life, the universe and everyting" is 42.
Other than that, I am discovering new things on a daily basis. My life is not meaningless. Far from it. I do not live to make money, raise a family or any of the other materialistic things you mentioned. Those things are important, even to Christians, but they do not define me.
Right now I am trying to change my mindset from 'getting through every day' to 'living every day to its fullest capacity'.

I would like to make a lasting impression on the people whose lives I touch.
If I can be a blessing and encouragement to them, fantastic. However, I do not feel guilty anymore if I loose my rag and through my toys.
I still stand in amazement and awe when I see the beauty of nature.
I still say thank you for the rain. It is something I cannot help. Even if, as I suspect, there is no actual, physical, personal God, I still feel intensly small against the vastness of the universe and the absolute wonder of my baby's giggle.

Maybe I am a confused Atheist. I have not abandoned the core values that I held for so many years, I just added freedom to them. Of course I believe in right and wrong. I just do not believe that I will burn in Hell for sinning anymore. Now I must face the music here and now, and make right when I stuff up.

I am really tired. If I completely misunderstood your remarks, my appologies. I hope, however, that this post answers some of your questions. I also want to thank you, as you have chalanged me to sit down and think about the real meaning of my life. I really need to take some stock and redefine my goals and priorities.

Ta
ML

stronger now said...

"Since my deconversion I have found a 'new life'."

That's just how I feel!

I'm really starting to have a great time with living this life now. It's like I was trying to conform to someone else's "standards".

I never put much thought into what my own standards were. Since I don't have the pressure to conform as much now I can be free to examine what it is that really like and what I do not. I listen to different kinds of music, I let my hair get long, I'm even thinking about getting a kilt to wear.

But it's more meaningfull than just fashion and non-conformity for non-conformity's sake, it's a sense of self worth.

flamingiguana08:"Why do you want to live?"

Because everything anyone really knows about the alternative, makes it seem far less interesting than what I'm experiencing now.

And think I might look good in a kilt.

boomSLANG said...

*tumbleweeds*

That's too bad....I was really looking forward to iguana/Brad adding some perspective on the very issue that he, himself, raised....


"Why do you want to live?"

Anonymous said...

I really don't know if there is a God, but if there isn't, I'm not going to delude myself into believing that there is a right or wrong, or even that it is somehow better to be "intellectually honest" or "freethinking". I can't buy the comic book infinite possibilities outlook, and even if I could we would be no more in control of our fates then in a determined, closed world. As often as the religious seem to abandon rationality when defending their faiths, atheists go out of their way to maintain a world view that still allows the choices they make to matter. If I was so sure there was no God, I'd hope I'd just do whatever I felt like, let others do whatever they wanted, and not see myself as a "better" person simply because random chance or nature led me to a realization that they could not attain.

Dave8 said...

M.L., thanks for the article, I have had many of the same experiences, and feel truly liberated from religious tyranny.

However, I can't say "atheism" has made me a better person, because Atheism has no doctrine or belief structure in "general". While the "general" linchpin that links all atheists is a lack of belief in a God or gods, we come to arrive at our lack of belief in a myriad of ways.

I'd say, I became a better person, when I allowed myself to think with reason and embrace autonomous freedom; being free to take care of myself and others without doctrinal restriction.

As a result of taking care of myself - my world view changed. I became categorically aligned with atheism/naturalism, no different than a person becomes categorically aligned with those who do not believe in Santa.

What I find "distinctly" important when comparing my categorical affiliation to atheism/naturalism and doctrinally based religion... is that "atheism" as a categorical & non-doctrinal noun... can't "make" me a worse person, any more than calling me Caucasian can make me a worse person – doctrinal religion however, has the unlimited potential to create hatred.

Again, thanks for the article, it's refreshing to see more and more free thinkers in life.

Dave8 said...

dzzycicero: "I really don't know if there is a God, but if there isn't, I'm not going to delude myself into believing that there is a right or wrong,..."

So, you’re agnostic, but seem to suggest that because you're agnostic you don't "choose" to embrace values, that establish a moral code.

So, you are an agnostic-nihilist, well... can we get a demonstration of you demonstrating your nihilism on your self?

dzzycicero: "...or even that it is somehow better to be "intellectually honest" or "freethinking"."

Nihilist.

dzzycicero: "I can't buy the comic book infinite possibilities outlook,..."

Your "values" are limited to "your" personal acceptance and knowledge, you are not omnipotent, therefore, there are no "infinite" possibilities, regarding "right" and "wrong". If you look really close to the comic book, you may see a family resemblance.

dzzycicero: "...and even if I could we would be no more in control of our fates then in a determined, closed world."

So, if an entity is "Omnipotent" (all-powerful), with "infinite" opportunity - they become "stunned" mullets, and infinitely "indecisive". Well, I suppose we should be glad we are not "Omnipotent" - however, Christians may want to come to terms with an Impotent God, because of Omnipotence - per you.

Regarding, a deterministic world, that is "Fated"; only an "Omniscient" Entity would have such "Knowledge" - good thing we aren't Omniscient - however, Christians may want to come to terms with a "Fated" (Impotent) God, because of Self "Omniscience" - per you.

dzzycicero: "As often as the religious seem to abandon rationality when defending their faiths, atheists go out of their way to maintain a world view that still allows the choices they make to matter."

Yes, I care about my choices, because I have values like "life", that require I become involved in my decisions.

Only, an Agnostic Nihilist would not comprehend people who make decisions that matter to them.

Good thing, that the term "Nihilist" is not synonymous with "Atheism” or “Agnosticism” for that matter.

dzzycicero: "If I was so sure there was no God, I'd hope I'd just do whatever I felt like,..."

Well, it doesn't work that way, the U.S. isn't a Nihilist Nation. There are these things called "laws” that "protect" citizens, based on "values"; like, life, civil freedoms, and opportunity.

While you hoped to do whatever you wanted, I would report you to law-enforcement instantly - because as an atheist, I have values; and do not have any "religion" that doctrinally requires me to "not" report you to law-enforcement.

1 Corinthians 6:1 - "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?"

A Christian, per the Bible, seems untouchable by civil law. They only have to "answer" to fellow Christians, who consider everyone sinful, and repentance a legal solution - for rape, etc.

dzzycicero: "...let others do whatever they wanted, and not see myself as a "better" person simply because random chance or nature led me to a realization that they could not attain."

Well, your formula suggests that you "want" and "desire" to be an "Agnostic Nihilist", so that it openly enables the "Anarchy" of your dreams. All I can say to that is; you need to be in prison, so that you can live your dreams.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days