Thank you, Atheism, for:
Causing me to realize my ethics need to come from my own truth, and not from someone’s interpretation of a book or prophetic message.
Challenging me when I was comfortable and complacent in my thoughts and beliefs.
Propelling me into years of self-reflection and change. Nothing showed me I would be okay after asking myself the scary questions like my transition to atheism from faith.
Opening up an entirely new community of friends, online and off.
Giving me the space to make my own choices without worrying about being shunned from a rule-based community, eternal consequences, and punishment.
Showing me I can be bold about who I am in public because I’m just as “okay” and worthy of respect and understanding as anyone else.
Being another example of a label that can shelter bigoted, cruel, abusive, and closed-minded people behind an assumption of “rightness”. I realized that changing labels doesn’t free me from having to confront the same failings of humanity as are found within other social groups. This fact inspires me to focus more on the people and their actions more than the simplistic fact that they don’t believe in a deity.
Helping me find other issues I care about more than religion. As you know, reader, I don’t blog anymore. I don’t get very angry about religion anymore. I don’t consider myself an outlier in society.And there are other causes I care about more than arguing theology. I met social justice warriors I admire through the skeptic and atheist communities. I changed my tune on some social issues through the influence of these bold few who educate and call-out/call-in those who perpetuate socially destructive ideas and all those *isms I didn’t realize had to do with me after all.