Lately, I've been reading different stories about how people became atheists. As personal stories about internal conflicts and realization usually are, some of them were emotional, sad and some even downright enraging.
After a while, after each such story I finished, I started getting this annoying feeling, this sense that something was missing. Eventually, I realized, I was jealous. Yes, jealous! Why don't I have this sort of story? Where was my heroic struggle to get to the truth? These people I was reading about, they've struggled, lost and sacrificed, they've gone through ordeals of self-doubt, denial and defiance. Why was I so lacking in internal conflict? These people were ordinary people who achieved a form of heroism. I wanted that too.
Maybe everyone wants to be a hero, maybe it's just me and my love of epic fantasy and science fiction that engendered this feeling. I'll never be a sword wielding warrior or a powerful wizard or a Jedi, but couldn't I just have a real story of my own where I'm the hero discovering the truth about myself and the world around me? Apparently not.
So despite this lack of a personal triumph, or, rather because of it, what I'm trying to say is this:
A great big freaking thank you!
To my parents who never forced any dogma upon me, be it political, religious or otherwise. Thank you.
To my sister, who loves me despite having been an obnoxious brat. Thank you.
To my friends who never once spoke a word of judgment (and still don't) against me despite some of them having entirely conflicting perspectives on life from my own. Thank you.
And lastly, to my wife, who is probably a deist but didn't let that stop her from being with me. Thank you.
Maybe I had a boring life without any stories in it with me as the hero overcoming self-doubt and sacrificing connections to family and friends, but you've got to give credit where it's due when you have it so easy.