On Losing My Religion

Saipanhayden
4 min readJan 10, 2019
Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an Atheist — about why it seems such a scary word to so many. It’s easier to say “I’m not religious” or “well, who knows what’s out there?” But to proclaim oneself an Atheist is to cross some invisible line. It came to me yesterday that the reason for that has to do with how Atheists are viewed culturally. That is, that Atheism is perceived as an act of defiance against an existing God, rather than a simple statement of belief. Even in my own journey into atheism, I found it hard to say “I don’t believe in God.” This wasn’t because I secretly did believe. It was more because I thought it would be such a scary pronouncement, like standing before a king and saying, “oh, yeah? well, I don’t accept your authority!”

Atheists in media are often portrayed as angry or damaged in some way — raging against a God they find unjust or hiding behind the statement “there is no God” because they can’t believe that God could allow…. fill in the blank. But that’s not what it means to be an Atheist at all. It is just coming to a personal understanding that there is no God. That life is precious because I am living it now, and what I do today matters — not because of heaven or hell — but because I am surrounded by human beings whom my actions affect. It is a pronouncement that is meaningful, and honest, and carefully processed, but seldom defiant.

My journey towards atheism was slow and painful. To say I was a Jesus girl would be a massive understatement. I was the kind of Christian that never had a drop to drink, didn’t believe in sex before marriage, never swore, read the Bible all the way through — twice, and always listened to Christain music. I was absolutely insulated in that world. At the age of 22, I married a man whom I perceived to be a good, Christian man. But the marriage was traumatic and abusive. The community I had formed in my church was fractured. There was a split in the church and people were leaving in the droves. Hardly any of my remaining friends there knew what I was going through. I was taught to not complain about your husband, and besides, I barely knew what to make of it myself. However, after eight years, I made the decision to leave. I walked away from it with the judgment of some of the people I valued most. With a daughter to support and a life to recreate, I went back to school to try and…

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Saipanhayden

I am an assistant principal at a small middle school. I care deeply about people and I like to find solutions if I can. Life is hard. Let's be kind