I had never really realized, until just a month ago, that I was an atheist. I had heard the term before, and I knew what it meant, but I never really stopped to ask myself if I really believed in God or not - which I guess is probably I sign that I didn't in the first place. I thought about my "religion" a lot in the past few years, trying to figure out where I fit. Mostly if someone asked me what religion I was, I would answer "technically Christian, but I have my own view of the universe", which meant that my philosophy was my own, or what I had gathered and thought was the most valid.
But to be honest, I very regularly challenge my own views, and I recently had the chance to do so with a book. My girlfriend is an atheist herself, and I had not even really taken attention to this fact until she purchased a book online, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. This book was, without going as far as saying a revelation, at least an eye opener. What did Richard Dawkins do? In his book, the only thing that really caught my attention was the fact that, on the contrary of what we are lead to believe, there is such a thing as saying "I renounce my religion" or "I change my religion". Richard Dawkins told me it was OK to become an atheist, and I heard him.
But since I'm now a self-avowed atheist, I have to face a fact that probably is the show-stopper for most people who would like to renounce on their own religion, whatever it may be: How can I continue living if there is no God, no heaven, where I know that when I die I just cease to exist and I do not continue my existence in any way, shape or form, where there is seemingly no point to my insignificant life?
First, I considered that if there is no heaven, there's no hell either. There is no purgatory, eternal damnation, demons, there is no evil forces (or good forces) at work in the world other than what we create for ourselves. There is no God, meaning no one to strike me down with thunder if he doesn't like me, and the only authority that is over me is Laws. The laws of gravity, the laws of nature, and the laws of humans.
I find that oddly, I feel no sense of loss from a lack of God, even if he is supposed to be the most powerful and important being in the universe. I still have my life to look forward to, and on the contrary I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders - I can stop looking for some "greater truth" or the "meaning" of my life as given to me before I was born - I have my own dreams to attain, that's it.
What about morality, what I see as good or bad, does that change? Well my morality didn't come from religion in the first place, it came from my family, my friends, my experiences in life, my knowledge and interpretation of laws, and a lot from common sense. "Don't do unto others what you would not have done unto yourself" (or however it's said in the bible) didn't have to be said by Jesus to be truth and morality - it's just logical.
And if my morality had come from my religion and from the bible... well just read The God Delusion and you'll see what that really means. In terms of morality, the bible is just about the worst place you can look, it's values of 2000 years old do not fit in today's world. In this blog, which I created specifically as a discussion place about what it means to be an atheist, what that implies, and the journey through life as an atheist, I will post things that I read about religion and just how impossibly useless it is, by giving examples of bible quotes, journal and web articles, videos and such.
I have created a new blog to talk about this, as well as potentially other subjects of interest, called The Atheist's Blog. Of course I am not "the" atheist, just one of many...