Some of this information used to be on my about me page, but my circumstances have changed somewhat since I published it, and I want to keep everything up to date.
When I started this blog, I was partially out to my parents, but not completely. I had admitted to them that I no longer identified as Catholic, and was having serious issues with Christianity too. I never said I didn’t believe in God, even though I knew I didn’t. I did this mostly out of consideration of how they would take the news. I then explained that I had no plans to continue attending mass, and even (politely) gave specific reasons for this. They responded, “Well Nan, regardless of what you believe, you have to set a good example for your siblings.” According to them, “setting a good example” included continuing to attend mass and practicing Catholicism as long as I live under their roof. They argued that it wouldn’t make sense to my younger siblings (aged 14 and 18) if I ceased to attend mass. Which is complete bullshit. They’re teenagers. They can handle it.
Then, after a few months of this, I admitted to my parents that I was an atheist. Not just non-Catholic, and non-Christian, not just questioning God’s existence, but a full blown non-believer. And guess what? They never talked to me about it, but on the next Sunday, I simply didn’t come to church, and they didn’t try to force me. This was a huge deal, since every Sunday before that they had simply expected me to attend, had insisted that I go, and acted as if I was a horrible person any time I managed to evade mass, which didn’t happen often, but still. I still get worried every Sunday that I’m going to be dragged there again, but my parents haven’t asked me if I’m going like they used to. They seem to have accepted that I’m not, and I appreciate that. As a young adult, I believe I have the right to make this decision for myself, and I choose not to waste my time on a being I don’t believe in. There was a lot of shouting when I came out, and I had to take a lot of accusations like “You hate God,” and “You just don’t know Him,” none of which are true. But when the shouting was over, everyone went back to going about their lives, and that’s what I intend to do too.
Now, there is a strong negative reaction to the word “atheist” among believers, and I think that’s partially due to the many rumors that have been spread about us. Growing up, I sometimes heard we’re “of the devil,” or have no morals, both of which are ridiculous claims (most atheists do not believe in the devil any more than we believe in God. Not to mention, morality does not have to come from religion). But here’s the thing: atheist is simply a word for a person who is not a theist. It just means, and I’m quoting a dictionary here, “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” More specifically for me, I am an agnostic atheist. I’m agnostic, because I don’t claim to know for sure whether or not there is a God, but also atheist, because I simultaneously do not believe in one, as I do not think there is valid evidence to support that belief, and suspect there can never be. Wikipedia explains this stance pretty clearly:
I came to this conclusion after a great deal of thought, research, and personal experience in a religion. While there are gentler labels for the position I hold, such as “non-theist,” and “humanist,” I prefer to use the one the general public recognizes. This is partially for purposes of clarity, but also because I think people are more likely to respond to someone who calls him or herself an atheist than to someone who simply identifies as a non-believer. The harshness of the word encourages reaction, discussion, and questions. I like that. I want other people to think, research, and ask questions too. I don’t care what conclusion they come to, but I’d like it if other people were willing to question their faith, because we live in a world where information is constantly at our fingertips. Why shouldn’t we use it? Why shouldn’t we think critically? Why shouldn’t we make sure that whatever we believe to be true is actually true? That’s where I stand on this for now, but I’ll keep this page updated.
As always, happy thinking!