For a long time, I was so unsure of myself. I questioned whether I was good enough. I questioned whether what I wanted was the right thing to want. I questioned whether I was being selfish, whether I was being prideful. I felt if God wasn’t answering my prayers, it was my fault for being jealous, or hateful or secretive.
For a very long time, I thought I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t believing hard enough. I wasn’t singing hard enough. I wasn’t focusing all my energy on God. That’s why I had doubts. That’s why I looked around in church to emulate what others were feeling. That’s why I always went to the altar to recommit myself, to repent. That’s why when the preacher puts his big sweaty hand on my head, I fell down with the rest of them.
I remember the last time. I feinted a blessed swoon and lied still on the floor, only to realize I had lain there too long and was the last one to “wake.” It was the last time I sought what I now consider a very duplicitous act.
I remember loathing myself. I loathed my body. I loathed the body that wanted to be with boys. I hated that I thought all those nasty thoughts the teacher warned about in Sunday classes. I was jealous or other girls. I wanted to kiss boys, and more. I was a bad person. I would surely go to Hell.
I hated being a girl. I was dirty, filthy, unclean. My blood was a curse. And I brought sin onto others for not being clean or virtuous enough.
I was afraid I would burn in hell. That I would be ripped asunder over and over again for all of eternity because I wasn’t good or virtuous or obedient enough.
Now that I am an atheist, I am missing so many things. I am missing the doubt. I’m missing the sense of loneliness. I am missing the self-consciousness. I’m missing the pretense. I’m missing the self-disgust. I’m missing the self-loathing. I’m missing the fear.
I dropped the heavy burden of religion that I was holding onto for dear life and an eternity from hell.
And I don’t miss any of those things.
I am an atheist.
And I am free.
3 thoughts on “What Atheists Are Missing”
I was holding my breath till I came to the end! Beautiful post
I’m missing the waking nightmares.
I was involved with a Christianist youth group back in junior high school. One Saturday night (they had a “rally” every Saturday night), they showed us this horribly-produced, cheesy “rapture” movie. (For a laugh, look up “A Thief in the Night” and “A Distant Thunder”. It was the latter one that they showed us.) They insisted that it was “not meant to scare anyone!” Really, it was only inspirational — meant to strengthen our faith, and encourage us to try to bring others into that faith. Didn’t quite work that way on me, thank… um… goodness.
I was depressed and paranoid for weeks! And I will happily miss that feeling for the rest of my life.
So glad I found your blog! I was referred here through the pro-nuke community, but I’m really digging your posts on other subjects as well, especially this one. Keep it up!
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