Labels strangle us. Words liberate us. Sometimes labels are words that liberate us.
Several decades ago, during a conversation with my all-knowing Mother, she looked me straight in the eyes and said: ” You are an atheist.” No frowns or other signs of anything. Just those words. Truly, until that very moment, I had no idea. I just had never given this any thought. Yes, I do have a strong sense of independence and individuality but I never ever noticed my lack of interest in subjects of faith and religion. I did know that I didn’t feel anything faith related but never dwelled on it. Once my mother blew the lid and disclosed her opinion I inventoried myself and came back with the prognosis that indeed I am an atheist, down to the bone.
Prayer is foreign to me. It’s meaningless to me. Religious stories bore me and seem made up. For me all of religion is lumped up with Santa Claus. Fun and lovely and total fiction. Don’t get angry, I am an atheist. This is how we feel. I am an atheist and happy about it.
Many times, if the subject comes up with friends they would adamantly correct me, as if I was child, and instruct me that I am not an atheist. It’s actually funny to watch them try to fix me. They are always met with the large wall that clearly states ” Never tell me what to think or feel.” Sadly, they sometimes look equally broken to me.
Atheism has given me wings and a sincere fearless love of life. I live without fear of death, fires, punishments, ribs and patriarchy. Atheism has allowed me to embrace my womanhood with sheer joy and no shame.
My religious friends accept my atheism, maybe because I accept their faith. To my minds eye faith is like a lovely poem that inspires comfort during dark times. A true friend would never seek to deprive you of all that gives you some comfort. I just don’t happen to need that comfort or the million rules that come attached to religion. I am the breeze that the wind carries here and there traveling through time until the earth reclaims me and we meet again. I know that my death will be fearless. I have been anticipating and preparing for this momentous event since the day I was born.
There can be peace between the faithful and the atheist. I am a living example that it can be done. Merry Christmas.