I’m sorry I haven’t been writing actively as of late. I sit here in my chair after a weekend of relaxation, escape, and nature only to find myself back in the machinery of life—the mechanical nature of my habits, my job, and my schedules.
And it makes me ponder a bit. I’ve found myself falling into an apathy related to my atheism lately that I’m not sure should be there. I’ve attempted to explain why atheism isn’t a big deal. Even with the mentality that our non-belief is just fine, normal, and not worth a huge stink, I still feel a smoldering passion within my gut when I consider my own story, my past, and the plight of other non-believers who truly are struggling in their current situations. For instance, I received an email this week from a distressed reader:
Over the past year I have began to question my beliefs that I have had since childhood and I’m down right confused and ridden with guilt mainly… Waiting to be “struck” down I suppose. I am working through it slowly, but being married to a “minister” doesnt help.. again.. riddled with guilt… and fear.
It breaks my heart that the search for truth leaves anyone feeling this way, but it especially pains me to hear it from someone who is afraid to leave religion and faith behind. I know just how conditioned Christians (like my past self) are to fear doubt and deviation from the faith. The guilt is tremendous, and it feels like failure to be going against something you’ve been accepting as an authority all your life. I remember hearing that small voice in my head that told me I was “just rebelling” or “going through a doubting phase” or that I shouldn’t make any certain decisions based on my doubts because I could be punished (for lack of a better word) by God for straying and not being strong enough in my devotion. I recall those emotions with a shudder and a sigh.
No one should feel this way.
It’s becoming more clear to me that I may not care as much about debating theology or commenting about other beliefs I find ridiculous (as fun as that may be—especially on the internet when the quick jab and the snarky wit are king) as others do. Instead, I am coming to deeply care about the journeys and stories of others in the atheist community. Where have we come from, and where are we going? Do we have enough support and friendship to spare for those who are not quite strong enough to go it alone? Can we move forward together? Is my dream of atheist community just a silly, romantic, and futile idea in this period of individualistic living?
So I may not be writing much, but I’m still figuring this whole atheism thing out… day by day. As we all are.