May 8, 2009

Coming to Terms with One's Atheism

moreImage by Napalm filled tires via Flickr
Now that you have learned what atheism means, it may be time to come to terms with your own atheism. Do you believe in any sort of god(s)? If your response was anything other than an affirmative one, you are an atheist. Yes, you.

I know how difficult it can be to take the final step and apply this label to oneself. No matter what you have been taught about atheism, it is fairly likely that you have been told that atheists are evil, immoral, and otherwise flawed. So yes, it makes sense that you might be reluctant to join our ranks. Perhaps you feel comfortable calling yourself an agnostic, a humanist, or a freethinker. But an atheist?

The good news is that there is no hurry, and you do not need to rush. Take your time. Some of us require a few years to transition from doubting the faith in which we were raised to taking on the atheist label. I certainly did.

In a recent post titled "Just Accept That You're An Atheist," Sisyphus Fragment wrote,
Freethinker, Non-theist, Non-Religious, Heathen, Infidel, Naturalist, Bright..

While I think that some of these terms are “cute”, I personally feel that these names are nothing more than an intentional obfuscation of one’s religious inclination.
I agree. I prefer the atheist label for myself. There are some benefits involved in standing up to be counted as atheists. But that does not mean you should do so before you are ready. 

Doing a bit of reading may help you gain some confidence, and I encourage you to interact with other atheists online to dispel some of the remaining misconceptions. And by all means, feel free to reach out to those you meet online and ask for help. I cannot speak for everyone, but I know that you are one of the main reasons I am writing. I remember how alone I felt as I first considered atheism, and I want to do what I can to ease that burden on others.

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