I’m an Atheist

In the spirit of my post yesterday — What Are We Waiting For? — it occurred to me that I’ve actually been sitting on something for quite a while, just waiting for the right time to say it. But as I pointed out in that post, there is no right time. Waiting around is worthless, it only means more of my time lost hiding something that deserves to be out in the open.

Let’s not bury the lede. I’m an atheist. That may not come as a shock to you if you’re a regular reader: I’ve never come out and said it, but I’m sure it’s bled out around the edges from time to time. But I’m an atheist, and I’m damned proud of it.

Atheist Symbol

This is a weird thing to sit down and type out, not because it’s something I feel guilty about in any way, but because I fear it might make things weird for me. I live in the southern United States, for one — better known as the Bible Belt. I teach at a school where many if not most of my colleagues are outspokenly religious. My family, while they don’t attend services anymore, brought me and my siblings up in the church. (And I don’t think that reading this will surprise them, but that speaks to the weirdness of all this — we’ve never had a conversation about it.) I’ve got sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and a veritable host of in-laws who believe. Add to that that in recent studies, atheists are the most feared and distrusted of all subgroups of people (even more than Muslims!), and it’s no great surprise that I feel a little bit uneasy on the topic.

Let’s be clear. I’m not here to proselytize. (Though the idea of a proselytizing atheist does give me a chuckle.) I’m not what some might call a militant atheist. I know and accept that the vast majority of people aren’t going to have their minds changed by anything I have to say. And if you do believe, I still welcome you as a reader.

I’m just here to say that in the past, there have been things I was afraid to say for fear of offending another’s point of view. There have been things I haven’t said for fear of making others uncomfortable. There have been things I’ve done strictly to assuage other people’s beliefs.

More and more, though, I realize that while I’m trying like mad to respect other people’s beliefs, I am marginalizing my own. While I’m working to make sure I don’t make others uncomfortable, I’m twisting myself up into knots, or worse, just sitting there like a lump, saying nothing.

No more.

Atheism is the next great coming out. And I am proud to list myself among its members.

I’m here to say that I won’t be hiding this particular aspect of who I am anymore. I’m not going to shove it down your throats, either, but it’s too much a part of me to keep it locked up in a closet. It informs my moral decisions, it informs my interactions with the world, and it damn sure informs my thinking and my writing.

So, yeah.

I’m an atheist.

I just wanted you to know.

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About Pavowski

I am a teacher, runner, father, and husband. I am an author-in-progress. I know just enough about a lot of things to get me into a lot of trouble. View all posts by Pavowski

6 responses to “I’m an Atheist

  • Alex Black

    I used to go out of my way to try to avoid offending people with my atheism, too. Then I realized, there are some people who are going to be offended by my very existence. The only way to completely avoid offending people would involve sitting down and shutting up. And, well, screw that. I’ve got just as much right to exist as anybody else. I shouldn’t have to hide an important part of who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Glen Donaldson

    Just another reason to tune into one of the best writing posts on the net as far as I’m concerned.
    No doubt the ghost worshippers will pray for us but for them I have two words – Richard Dawkins.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Joe Turner

    I was never Christened, and I follow no set religion. People have called me an atheist, as a way of pigeonholing me for their own understanding, but in truth I guess I’m more agnostic; in that the very primative part of me refuses to denounce a higher power, but the objective intellectual part of me, that lives in the twenty first century can not adhere to guidelines from more than two centuries ago. However, I believe thoroughly in evolution, and I’m devoid of superstition. So I must be somewhere in the middle of the two. All I do know, is that I’m free to make my own choices, and perfectly tolerent towards others and their beliefs. I just hope that they grant people like us the same gratuity.

    Liked by 1 person

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