One of the hardest thins in my life was coming to grips that I might be an atheist. If you know my background then it’s easy to see why. I was deeply involved in the church. I was a minister, and a youth evangelist. I went on mission trips, and even worked as a Christian counselor. The one thing that was present was the fact that deep inside I just didn’t believe.
What was wrong with me? Am I broken? Am I evil?
I find that in talking to many atheist and agnostic people that this is a common event. Not believing. Unlike most I am open to the idea of God, of something. I just think it would be nice. I’ve seem some very wondrous miracles, but I’ve also stood awestruck by the vast amount of human suffering. Where is God when women and children are being raped and how is it for the greater good? There is no answer. It’s a great abyss. We are simply a mathematical abstract.
So where does this leave me? A full blown atheist who doesn’t believe in god or anything? Let’s look at this. Dictionary.com says
a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist] noun
A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Hmm… That’s… not… really… me.
I believe, or at least want to believe. Does that count? The idea of God is fascinating to me, but I just can’t see it. So maybe that definition is me, but am I defined by the definition in the dictionary? Am I am atheist?
Because I was wronged by the church or people and lost all faith in blah blah blah…
No. I just can’t follow the logic. (and I’m not going into all that here. Now anyway)
For me I really think it started when my parents split up. It started me on a lifetime of questions. If my folks can split up after all those years then how can anything else in life be held together. I mean, let’s face it. As kids our entire belief structure is based on our parents. How our parents act and the people they are directly effect who we become.
And there I sat, watching my Dad walk away. Crying in that big window, angry at my mother because she wouldn’t stop him.
Why? Why? Why, indeed…
I started looking for answers from there. I was involved in the church for years, after a near death experience at 19 I started looking into all sorts of other religions.
but wait, I’m getting off topic a little.
Am I an atheist? If I look honestly at myself I have to say yes. As frightening is the idea is to me, it’s true. I don’t see any other answer. I really and truly want to believe. All my life I prayed to give me the strength to believe. I just don’t.
Now I guess the obvious question is do I feel empty? No. I think more than anything I am even more full of wanderlust. The more I see the less I believe. The less I believe the more I think and become open minded.
Humans are probably the most wondrous and tragic results of the big bang.
Why all of a sudden though did I come to this conclusion?
I have two sons, one has autism. We are always looking for interests to bring him out of his shell. We’ve been monster hunting TV show fans for a long time. (another thing that actually springs from my childhood. Thanks Uncle Gary). Ian, my oldest, has really taken to shows like Destination Truth and Chasing UFOs. He wanted to become a monster hunter, so… we are a family of monster hunters now. How did this point me towards atheism?
We were sitting next to the river eating dinner last night. After over hearing the boys talk about Bigfoot hunting we were approached by a man and woman who told us that our boys should be in church, not chasing imaginary monsters. I replied I would rather the chase the fairytale that has the bigger possibility to be real…
It didn’t really fully hit me until that moment. That was the defining second in the story where the hero decides that he’s has enough and he’s going to kick some ass. It had nothing to do with the church, with people, with anything else other than I just don’t believe. It was just a matter of admitting it, out loud.
I waited for the lightening; I was next to water after all. Double whammy. It didn’t come.
But do I not believe in God? The thing is I still kinda want to. I like the idea of hope that believing in a god brings. It’s just one reason that I don’t put down people’s religion. I don’t agree with them, and I personally think many of them are crazy. It is their right to be crazy though. It’s my right to think.
So I think that even though I don’t fall into the mold of the true atheist it’s the mold I fall closest to.
It doesn’t define me, it’s not who I am. It’s just how I believe.