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I Am An Atheist

I am an Atheist. While I do not hate Christians, I am certainly beginning to fear them as they insist more and more vociferously that I do not belong here.

I knew from an early age that I wasn’t welcome. I said the Pledge, god and all, because I knew instinctively that it was better to blend. I protested a little as I got older, but I was a good kid living in a liberal state, so I didn’t catch the trouble that so many of my fellow Atheists did.

When it came to matters of principle, I did insist. I had to ask twice to affirm rather than swear to a god when I took my oath of office as a federal employee. I think my Chief was taken aback that anyone could seriously be without a belief in some diety.

Being an Atheist doesn’t mean I’m without morals or hope; it means I have the deepest faith, not in a god, but in humanity and its potential. Lately that hope has been damaged some, but I know I’ll bounce back and continue to do whatever good work is within my reach.

I’ve decided it’s time to stop blending. I’m here to tell you that, contrary to some opinions, I am a citizen and a patriot. I love this country, and you can’t get rid of me so easily. Atheists, by their very nature, don’t organize well. It’s time we did. Today I registered with American Atheists, and you can see their newsfeed to the right. I urge all my fellow Atheists in the States to make it official. Stand up and be counted.

I am an Atheist, and I belong here.

20 Responses to I Am An Atheist

  1. Tracee says:

    I know how you feel. I am not an atheist, I am more or less a pagan, thoguh I still do not believei n the God so many refer to. I usually never said the under god part of the pledge, and caught hell for it. So I understand completely. And well said!

  2. Bill says:

    Are you sure you don’t want to move here instead? Australians are too lazy to be zealots.

  3. Jenn says:

    Amen, sister!!!! I’m right there wit’ ya!

  4. Jim says:

    Good for you.

    It’s a common belief in this country that you cannot be an atheist and a patriot. The good news is there is no way a national pledge endorsing a god (just one god, of course!) can stand up in the courts. For once us hell-bound non-believers will get our way.

  5. Cat says:

    I wish that were true. I fully expect this to be overturned by SCOTUS in the current judiciary climate.

    This is because they interpret the establishment clause as making no law establishing a specific religion, but to specify that there must be religion of some sort is fine.

    People need to read their Jefferson.

  6. christopher says:

    Right on. I’m appalled by any American that judges another’s patriotism through the litmus test of fundamentalism.

    Although I consider myself to line up with Jefferson in terms of faith (historians agree that he was a deist), it doesn’t matter what your faith is. Time and time again, history shows that we are strong because we are so different.

  7. Bill says:

    to specify that there must be religion of some sort is fine

    I’ve been wondering about this argument. Don’t the words “under God” imply a single god (leaving, say, Hindus and pagans none too happy)? Moreover, doesn’t the capitalised word “God” strongly suggest the Christian God, given the culture and history of the US? I wonder whether the SCOTUS will acknowledge those questions, and if it does, how will it then justify overturning the decision?

  8. Cat says:

    Yes, I believe “under God” obviously implies one Christian god. I’ve been getting the feeling lately that most Christians do not see this as wrong at all.

  9. Brigitte says:

    Right you are!
    Hallelujah or not – where’s the difference!?
    I’d really like to put in my own two bits on this issue, even though I may not really be entitled to have an opinion here…
    In fact this is an aspect of the American self-image that has often surprised, confused and -well – annoyed me a little as well. Politics and Religion are completely separate things and should absolutely be kept apart! (… which would spare us many – if not most problems around the world…) Especially as religious zeolotry seems so inscrutable / incalculable / inevitable… (?!?)
    It’s nice and reassuring to see you guys broach the subject and express exactly what I know many of us Germans are thinking, too.

  10. Erynn says:

    Initially all I could find were people supporting the use of the phrase “under god” in the pledge, but as I’ve kept reading I’ve found more and more people who share my opinion that the founding fathers would have been appalled to see the state used as an apparatus for ramming the church down our throats.

    Unfortunately, the people who react most quickly and strongly are the idealogues and those who can’t be bothered thinking the whole situation through. The day after the verdict 75% of both CNN.com and MSNBC.com poll voters thought the judge should be flayed alive and we should all have to march around loudly proclaiming our allegiance to god. I was intensely depressed by the numbers.

    But I am coming to belive that those who vote are a certaint type: the sort who is so sure they’re right they are past evaluating their own correctness and now are busy trying to figure out how *I* might have wandered so far astray. Fortunately for me, their intrinsic rightness will keep me safe, whether I like it or not.

    You have your own beliefs and respect the right of others to disagree. Of course you belong.

  11. Jade says:

    Ah yes. This issue is one of the many reasons that I’m a Libertarian and will be long after the party fails and fades away. I read the Constitution a few times. It’s a document that I can proudly stand up for. It’s a shame that our country decided to discard it for taxes, socialism, and religious zealotism. Almost every law passed since 1913 has been another corner ripped off the document our founding fathers wrote. God damn those who would trade my rights for their religious moral whips and god damn those who would steal my money to be spent on the things I don’t believe in.

  12. Salt says:

    This is a true story, about me and my friend N_. N_ was born in Yugoslavia, married a man from Northern Ireland, and was later naturalized as a Norwegian citizen.

    I met her in Norway, when she was still rather young and her English was limited to textbook + Brit-slang. Americans were a new and exotic species to her, and oilfield expats were the American subculture she first encountered.

    “Why do American men act like idiots at the beach?” she opened one day’s conversation.

    “Um…cold water they’re not used to?” I speculated.

    “No, it has nothing to do with bathing,” she replied. “I mean how they act when a woman takes off her shirt. They are like a little boy who has just discovered farting.”

    In Norway, as in much of Europe, it is commonplace and unremarkable for women of all ages to sunbathe or swim topless in public places.

    So I set out to explain how Americans equate nudity with sex, and took a few side trips into fundamentalism, regional cultural differences, and…”So what you are telling me is that Americans are religious bigots,” she interrupted with a dismissive incisiveness I came to value considerably as we got to know each other.

    I was a little taken aback as to how we had gotten from A to B just that quickly, but you know, over the subsequent 17 years we have remained friends, I never have managed to refute her analysis.

  13. Ralf says:

    Given that you presumably (I’m working on some assumptions about Bill here I guess. 🙂 ) pride yourself on clear rational thought, I’m really interested in what argument(s) you have to declare yourself atheist rather than agnostic?

    🙂

    Ralf

  14. Cat says:

    What argument is necessary? It’s not an either/or proposition to me. Why does the fact that there are no purple sockmonsters that steal our socks and create unmatched pairs necessarily require the argument that there might be purple sockmonsters?

    There are no purple sockmonsters.

  15. Jim says:

    You have a purple sockmonsters shaped hole in your heart. You cannot know love and peace until you give your life to the purple sockmonsters.

    Remember, the purple sockmonsters love you no matter what.

  16. Ralf says:

    Isn’t there a difference between belief and knowledge? The latter demands proof (hence jobs for people like Bill 🙂 while the former is free for anyone to hold.

    Agnosticism admits that we do not have proof for or against the existence of god(s), and that we can’t therefore ‘know’.

    I’m more than happy for you to believe in no god(s) of course 🙂 I was just wondering if you were going on more than faith…

    Ralf

  17. Cat says:

    There is no burden of proof on atheism. As I said, it’s not an either/or proposition. I also do not need to disprove the existence of sockmonsters.

  18. Ralf says:

    I don’t think I quite understand the either/or comment, but I agree that atheism doesn’t need proof. Happy to hear that you’re actively embracing your faith ;-P

    Say hi to Bill for us. Hope he didn’t have to exhausting a flight, given the short time he has with you this trip…

    Ralf

  19. Nick says:

    Atheism and agnosticism are two different things. It’s possible to be both. It’s also possible to be a Christian agnostic. Agnosticism concerns knowledge, (a)theism concerns belief.

    I’m an atheist like Cat, and I can’t really explain how I ended up one. I was doing some reading and thinking and it just kind of hit me that it’s all a big sh….AHHH, I’m being attacked by a purple sockmonster!

  20. Bill says:

    See, this is why I don’t like to describe myself as an atheist: people assume that I take the non-existence of god(s) on faith. That’s one way to be an atheist; another is to conclude that there is no evidence for or against and to apply Occam’s Razor (or begin with the Null Hypothesis, if you prefer that way of saying it). This is usually referred to as “weak atheism”, as opposed to the faith-based “strong atheism”, but calling myself a “weak atheist” generates even more misunderstanding. I usually say agnostic humanist, as that term is commonly misunderstood in such a way as to give a reasonable approximation of my actual position.