Originally posted here. I love the Crommunist. He writes a lot of interesting articles about the intersection of race and atheism. Go check him out.
Because I am an atheist…
..I am no longer burdened with acquiescence to the moral superiority of an entity created by men from an era that loathed my gender, my orientation, and most of all, my autonomy. I can now understand my feelings for what they really are. They are not bogeymen or sinful desires of the flesh that seek to draw me away from anyone’s true purpose or plan for me. My feelings for women are no more or less supernatural than my friends’ feelings for the opposite sex. I am free to pursue relationships, love, and sex with whomever I wish so long as I treat them well. My heart and my bedroom are now happy, restful, pleasurable places instead of battlegrounds. I can now experience the kind of love and ecstasy my friends always have without guilt or fear of having disappointed my Father.
I have learned that I’m a better, more powerful person than I thought I was. Each accomplishment, talent, and triumph for which I previously felt unworthy and attributed to the graciousness of a higher power were in fact my own. When I have overcome poverty, depression, and severe anxiety, it wasn’t because a higher power finally saw fit to have mercy on me. It was because I fought valiantly and won. With my new confidence, I feel better equipped to handle the difficult situations such as the inevitable divorce and subsequent poverty that life has thrown at me since coming out. I don’t have to wonder whether a god will see fit to help me through this one or accept bad situations as my just desserts for straying from its path. I knew I would get through these things just like I got through everything else. And I have. I’m quite capable.
I can mourn. What a relief it is to mourn. I don’t have to fight against “selfish” sadness and find a way to be grateful for what I’ve been given. When my 19 month old nephew died slowly and painfully of leukemia, I struggled to accept the idea that this might have been a test of faith. I feared that if I failed, the same god who allowed what happened to my nephew would allow it to happen to my sons. I believed, and some of my relatives’ pastors stated, that if we could impress god, he surely would not allow it to happen again. In fact it was the cruelty and absurdity of this notion that finally brought me to the end of my faith. Now when people I love die, I can simply miss them. I can think of all of the beautiful ways they have touched my life and then I can let them go.
I no longer worry about the dead, or about my death. I concentrate on my life now, and because of this, it has become more beautiful and fulfilling. I can write my own destiny and make my own choices without fear of supernatural retribution. Sometimes, when I’m alone or scared, I feel more lonely or scared than I once did. I know I am truly alone and there is no warm, invisible hand to hold mine. It took some getting used to. But it is also comforting to know that the same hand was powerless all along, and that I no longer have to fear its letting go of mine when I fail to impress.