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It’s really not.

When I began this blog, I had this sense of being part of a great discovery, a wondrous  evolution of mind. I felt exhilarated and puffed up. In some ways, I felt like a new convert. My ferocity and passion about my new journey away from religion seemed so important, so radical.

But being an atheist isn’t a big deal. Not believing in one deity or a thousand deities doesn’t make me a revolutionary or unique individual. It’s actually kinda bland. My life isn’t packed with people flocking to hear what I have to say. It’s more or less packed with my everyday activities: I sleep, eat, goof around, work at my job, hang out with friends, talk to my boyfriend, daydream, read, enjoy entertainment and the internet, and sleep some more. Somewhere in there I might have a thought about someone else’s religion or a question about some philosophical idea, but more or less I’m just your average person living life.

Being an atheist isn’t a big deal.  There are heaps of us … everywhere. I’m sure I see more atheists every day than I could ever guess, and these people aren’t any more cool or outstanding than I am. We’re just experiencing life in somewhat unremarkable ways, just like everyone else. We walk right past religious people all the time and no one explodes or runs away in panic. The world doesn’t end because we don’t believe in the supernatural.

Being an atheist isn’t a big deal. In fact, we’re all born this way. I’m not sure why we make such a fuss about it, especially here in the USA. In fact, atheism is so “ok yeah, whatever” that I’m not sure I should even need to blog about it. It’s just your average state of being. Atheism is just another ordinary trait. It’s a shame not everyone sees it that way. That’s why people think we need awareness campaigns and books and slogans and symbols and media icons and organizations and blogs and public speakers and rock stars.

But being an atheist isn’t a big deal.  It’s actually quite… normal.

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25 thoughts on “Atheism Isn’t a Big Deal”

Ahab · November 30, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I’m grateful that we live in a culture that recognizes nonbelief as one way of being normal. In other cultures, nonbelievers are ostracized, but in this culture, we are free to live normal lives. Isn’t it great?

    Godless Girl · November 30, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I think we still have a long way to go in the US. Coming out is very hard for a lot of us atheists because we are not accepted as “normal.” There’s a lot to be improved upon. I’m not denying that in the least.

    I’d like to clarify what I meant to say. Being an atheist isn’t like being a superhero or a freakshow. Atheism is okay. It’s normal. It’s great. It’s just being yourself. It’s not weird or out of the ordinary. I used to think atheists were crackpots when I was a Christian; and when I left religion, I thought atheism was some huge cool revolution-type-thing. It’s neither. That doesn’t make it less worthy of consideration or less attractive to the reasonable mind. It’s simply a state of being. I am content and happy to be an atheist.

      Andrew Hall · November 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      I understood what you were saying about the everyday aspect of non-theism. Yes, the world doesn’t disappear when you become godless. However, I am less sure about people being born god-free. Even though no child born automatically knows about the Trinity our species does seem to “lust for gods” (am I a wanker to quote Dawkins – I hope not). Regardless, I liked the post.

      TheSecretAtheist · November 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      You mean I don’t get superpowers now? Damn.

        ikonografer · May 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm

        exactly. you only get superpowers after we teach you about xenu and ….fuck, that’s not us, it’s scientology, sorry. yeah. no superpowers for us…shit.

    francois · December 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I think your right it isn’t a big deal but the issue isn’t something most people do to seem smarted or feel like they are better. It does become a big deal though when other people make it we are unelectable because we have no faith people think we are immoral or weird and i have been compared to hitler and stalin before because i went to a catholic highschool so your right its not a big deal its just that the faithful and some people who feel intrinsically superior to theists make it a big deal.

Riz S. · November 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm

There was no way I could answer your tweet in 140 characters or less, LOL 🙂

For the record, I like this post a lot, but I still respectfully disagree with the title.. I think atheism is a huge deal and that we should make a huge deal out of it. Atheism is not only the future of the world (it -is-, not it might be, we have to thin positive here ;), but it is a huge change for almost every culture in the entirety of human history to make that shift. It’s big. It’s huge. It’s massive.

I find by saying it’s “no big deal” we almost downplay the sheer importance of atheism, which should never ever be downplayed.

I do agree with you on several points, don’t get me wrong: Yes, there are lots of us. Yes, it’s natural by birth. Yes, -technically- (though not so much in a social/interpersonal opinion way sadly) it is entirely and completely normal.

But.. it’s still a big damn deal, because atheism is the future and atheism is -change-.

Change is always a big deal for me.. small change, big change, change is important, especially when it’s positive, but even when it’s negative.

I’m an anti-theist… and I just can’t help thinking that saying atheism is “no big deal,” you sort of just start to create apathy rather than activism toward the state of being we need this world to be in. We need to get rid of the baloney and start living in reality, and we are a far cry away from doing that on the large-scale.

If atheism really isn’t a big deal? That, for me, is actually a problem, and one we need to rectify asap.

We need to encourage people to stand up -because- it’s a big deal, and in doing so, we bring more people out of the atheist-based closet in solidarity toward a positive change for the entire globe.

Atheism is a big deal.

The day it isn’t any longer is the day we’re all in big, big trouble…

Cheers,
~ Riz the Antitheist (twitter: skepticalriz)

    Godless Girl · November 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to expound, Riz. I do hear where you’re coming from. I—like Travis explains below—hope for a day when spiritual beliefs will be considered odd and unreasonable by society. I hope that atheism isn’t such a big damn deal because it’s just… the way things are. We wouldn’t need to be so aggressive and anti-theistic simply because theism would be long gone. A girl can wish, right?

    Jacob · December 1, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I’m not picking a fight. I just want to say that it’s interesting to hear you say that atheism gets us out of the baloney, and gets us into reality. Is it the reality of celebrities and everchanging philosophy, or the reality of “honest politicians”, is it the reality of believing that the world can change for the better on their own?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying atheist or theists are perfect and both have some huge red marks and gold stars in history. But isn’t it a bit drastic to think that religion is the only thing that holds society back from bettering itself? I would propose instead that theism was people’s solution when they figured out people suck on the whole and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. I think you could wipe everybody’s brain clean of religion, give it 200 years, and religion would pop back up. Religion is a source of hope, stability, and an attempt at moral consistency even if it can be false and at times crazy and damaging.

    Meanwhile, no matter what stance you take, we all have bills, friends, layoffs, promotions, losses and wins in life. The only difference ends up being how you interpret and react and I’d say you get interesting actions on both sides of the theism fence.

    In the mean time, why use your life fighting a battle to make good theists into good atheists or wacky theists into wacky atheists. That’s just my take.

      Jacob · December 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      That was to Riz, by the way, not GG.

Travis Morgan · November 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Exactly! Atheism isn’t a big deal. It is only becomes a big deal because theists make it so. If there were no theists there would be no a-theists because there would be no theism to be without. But in the U.S. at least, there are so many theists that a-theists are the minority and theism is more common, so to be in the less common group is considered to be a bigger deal than being part of the common theist group.

I am always imagining a world where people are without belief and how non-belief isn’t an issue at all, hell, it wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. You would be considered strange TO BELIEVE, to suggest something so outlandish as though it were true without anything to support it. I kind of disappointed in how much time we spend on discussing atheism all the time because there really is nothing to it. I feel it should be the norm in a non-primitive society. It just goes to show, our society as a whole has a long ways to go.

    Tom Armstrong · December 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I already think people are strange to believe, but that’s me. Your point remains valid, of course.

Toxic Paradox · December 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

I think my atheism would only become a big deal if I made it one — for example, by ‘coming out’ to my deeply religious grandmother. As far as I can see, she doesn’t necessarily need to know, because I don’t think it’e ever occurred to her that I DO believe in her god. She knows my parents are agnostic (well, my mother claims spiritualism but even she doesn’t know what she means by that) so it would be unnecessary to upset an old lady who I love.

Everyone else knows I’m atheist. In fact, all of my facebook friends (bear in mind I’ve never even met some of them!) know that I am as strongly atheist as some of them are religious, but frankly in most of the social circles I am involved in, my grandmother’s fervour would be more unusual than mine. I still discuss it when the topic arises, and sometimes I DO make a fuss, especially when people use religion to make a point that could be far more readily explained logically.

So, I agree that atheism isn’t a huge deal to me, but I suggest that I only feel that way because the majority of people I know are supportive of it. Maybe if I was about to be burned as a witch I would disagree.

Andrew MacVicar · December 3, 2010 at 5:30 am

Atheism isn’t a big deal on a micro level; meaning, to any given atheist it isn’t a big deal because it comes so naturally to not believe in the supernatural. However, on a macro level we are at a point in history where atheism is an enormous deal. The 21st century needs to be one of reason and rational thought if this planet is to remain inhabitable. So I agree with Riz. However, to enact the change that Riz speaks so passionately about, the Atheist movement needs both “atom bombs” (the Dawkins of the world) and “pin pricks” (the GG’s of the world), as each approach speaks to different types of people at different levels of belief. What GG has written here might just be the perfect tonic for a skeptical “believer” who just needs that last little nudge to make the “liberating leap”. In the end it will be a combination of atom bombs and pin pricks that brings us to a state of “Atheia” (see http://www.atheistpub.blogspot.com).

    Godless Girl · December 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Atheism isn’t a big deal on a micro level; meaning, to any given atheist it isn’t a big deal because it comes so naturally to not believe in the supernatural. However, on a macro level we are at a point in history where atheism is an enormous deal

    THIS. This is what I meant with this post. I’m talking about the micro level. I hope that both the micro, personal experience of atheism and the macro, societal reality can one day match each other.

Tom Armstrong · December 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

GG, have you read “The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture” by Darrel W. Ray Ed.D.? I have, and found it an interesting way to conceptualize religion (the virus analogy really does work well). As you note, atheism at the micro level is a non-event. We live our lives as people (although we have a bit more time for our activities without having to spend time on church or other prayer-related stuff).

On the macro level, however, you are also right: Atheism is a huge affront to the virus called religion. It challenges religion’s self-perceived viability. It gives potential hosts an alternative to carrying the virus of religion–an inoculation, to carry the metaphor another step.

    Godless Girl · December 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I haven’t read the book, so perhaps I should look into it. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts!

Brandon · March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

What’s interesting to me in this post, and also in the comments below, is the way in which it parallels the way the church can talk to its followers about becoming active (or activists for the Lord if you will).

The church frequently preaches James 2:17 “…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

In my experience this has been preached much more consistently & louder in evangelical denominations I’ve been in but does resound in many flavours of religious society regardless of congregation.

I guess it just helps me see that there are indeed those who claim their non-belief or skepticism in God as an ideology, and then those who claim a particular theological point of view & use it to try and convert believers to non-believers (and vice-versa).

Blessings.

Jedi Mccaps1 · September 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

If being Atheist is not such a big deal, then please tell your fellow “believers” to stop trying to interfere with Christians. Let them do what they please. Yes there are some extreme believers who I think are a little over the top, but then again they twist what Christianity is all about.

fredt · October 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

We do obtain a superpower: the ability to sort fact and crap, followed by a sense of priority. It is pointless to discuss reality with a religious zealot, as they live in a dream world.

confused · September 13, 2012 at 12:33 am

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

If someone choses to be an atheist fine, but I don’t understand the need to publicize it and criticize those who do believe in something. I don’t understand the need to congregate and discuss believing in nothing. “I don’t believe in anything” – “oh, I don’t believe in anything either, we should get together and talk about all the things we don’t believe in” It seems like a waste of time.

Why spend time researching religious topics or discussing them, unless some part of you still has questions. Part of me thinks that someone may be an atheist because they are angry about something in their life or that they prefer not to feel accountable for the things they do, but another part of me suspects that this trend of atheism is about about being trendy, somehow feeling more evolved or educated or as if you are just sooo beyond believing in anything spiritual. Like all the cool kids are doing it. If you didn’t believe that being in atheist made you better than everyone else, why bother telling anyone

I also don’t understand the need that some atheist groups have to prohibit those whom do believe from expressing their belief, what do you care if someone prays or if the word God is used on the dollar bill or if there? I can understand someone that is Jewish objecting to Christianity or Islam, but if you don’t believe in anything how can you object to anything. Should we go to the mall and tell all the little kids standing in line to see Santa that he isn’t real? I don’t believe in the tooth fairy but I don’t care if someone else does.

Rudolph · November 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm

So from previous posts, I can see that you have decided to discontinue pursuing any sort of interaction with Jesus Christ. I was wondering what type of view you have on how the Universe and the world came to be, and what justifies the insane and probably impossible amount of unity in the world, if you don’t believe in a biblical creation and an intelligent designer? For example, do you think its coincidence that the sun provides nutrients for plants to grow and flourish, when combined with the rain that falls from the sky? And also, do you think it’s random that there are both male and female humans? Female and Male humans would have had to both randomly evolve into species that happened to be compatible with each other. And then when they mated, their bodies would have had to randomly react in such a way that they could give birth to a child. And so on. What do you think?

And I’m also curious as to how you handle the evidences that there are for Jesus being here on the earth. There are sources outside the Bible, such as writings from the historians Josephus and Tacticus that mention Jesus, not to mention outside affirmation of the Bible from 1st century people such as Papias, who claimed that the book of Mark lined up extremely accurately from what he had seen of Jesus. What are your thoughts on this?

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