Religions tangled web - Or how Atheism made me a better person

Obviously we are Atheists now. But some of us had to shake off the spell of religion before taking a firm grasp on logic and reason. These are the people this post is mostly directed toward. I was one of those people that actually bought in to the superstition in my youth. When you are a follower, you obviously believe in God, but on other issues there is a 'party line' so to speak that followers also have a group consensus toward. For some a differing opinion in these areas may have been part of what planted your seed of doubt, and for others these views may have changed during or after 'loosing the faith'. So I as of thee, has becoming an Atheist changed your views in any other area other than just the existence of a God? I know it has for me, so I'll start:

Homosexuality:

Once upon a time I hated gays. They were vile, dirty, unnatural, etc. It was as if they were sub-human and unworthy of consideration. Gay rights? I would have considered that a laughable notion. But if you were to ask me why I thought these things (I was never vocal of this opinion in public mind you), I wouldn't have bee able to offer any justification, simply that 'that's the way it is'. But why did I hold this opinion? Simple, it was the church. I was young and impressionable when I still believed. And the view the church was selling is the same one I formerly held. A view that I can now clearly see, was one full of hate and oppression. Luckily when I was shedding my former religion, I made the wise 'internal audit' to see where else this fairy tale had clouded my thoughts. I was shocked and appalled at how unjust the opinion the Catholic faith had tried to plant in me. I was ashamed, but at the same time happy that I was able to see the world clearly now. Now I recognize that homosexuals are people just like you and I. Requiring the same basic needs as everyone else and deserving of equal respect and rights as everyone else. I have gay friends now as well and while I am ashamed of my past, and proud that I have shed my past religious influence.

Abortion:

OK, I didn't have much knowledge of this issue before I started forming doubts, but there has been a change still. I briefly held the belief that abortion was 100% wrong, 100% of the time. Why? 'Cause the church said so. But it wasn't long until the life changing aspects of having a child dawned on me. Financial, dedication needed, time needed, etc, etc... And if a woman were raped and became pregnant, wasn't it wrong to force her to have a child she never asked for? Or what if birth control failed? They were never intending for that outcome, so why must they have the child if they actually tried to prevent it? I realize that even Atheists fall on both sides of this issue, but I'm sure some have gone pro-life to pro-choice due to shedding religion. My view now is one that abortion is a hard issue and one that isn't just black and white. I cases of rape or failed birth control, I think it's OK. But only if it is taken care of early. If you wait too long to decide, I feel you pass a threshold where I would no longer be in favor.

Sex:

When I was younger I was pretty shy. This is part of why I was a late bloomer when it came to relationships. I was shy, sure. But I was also terrified by the prospect of sex. In the church teachings, I was given the impression that the body is a dirty sinful thing. And to act on any 'urges' prior to marriage was just plain disgraceful. So for the longest time what was my deterrent from 'temptation'? Simply avoiding relationships entirely! I hid myself away and looked down on anyone who engaged in an premarital 'activities'. Arrogantly judgmental of others. That was my game. But now I have shed that controlling view on a simple, natural and emotional activity. It's actually something that is quite beautiful when done with true feelings, regardless of marriage or not. After I was officially and Atheist I was way behind the 8 ball when it came to dating though. I was years behind. My shyness was getting better, but was still a major deterrent. I tried the online thing and had little luck. Stood up, friends matched me with someone who was seeming someone, tried for a girl that I was unaware was unavailable, talk for a while just for them to disappear, etc. Trouble was, that online I was open about the fact that I'm an Atheist. After that shoe dropped, that's as far as anything went. Then out of the blue this one girl contacts me and actually thinks my Atheism is cool. She, a Wiccan, felt that if anyone would not be instantly judgmental toward her beliefs, it would be an Atheist. lol Well, we talked a good bit, had a first date, a second, third, we made out, made love, and grew closer and closer as time passed. Eventually we were engaged, and this past Dec. were married. :) In my personal story I feel that losing my faith was actually a big part of what open the door to love to me. It's hard to explain why. But, prior to loosing may faith, I never felt I would be good enough for anyone.

There are more areas that I could talk about, but it's getting late and I'd like to hear others stories as well. In short, loosing my religion actually made me a better person. Ineradicably judgmental and close-minded, to open-minded and accepting/understanding. Plus personally, it showed me that I wasn't a dirty sinful speck. I do realize that I am still a speck in the cosmic perspective, but that interpretation fills me with wonder, rather than the former self-loathing. I am worth receiving the love of another, life is worth living the best way we can and everyone is equally entitled to live a happy fulfilled life.

Views: 5

Tags: atheism, better, change, person, personal, religion

Comment by Andrea on March 14, 2010 at 10:36am
This is a great post. When we shed the religious veil, we learn that sex, homosexuality, and abortion are just aspects of our humanness. Religion takes away our basic human dignity and spins our ability to love "outside the box," our right to choose what is best for us, and our right to have a healthy attitude towards sex into actions worthy of damnation. Once we're free of the religious bullshit, we're able to understand how amazing it is that we're here.

Congrats on your wedding!
Comment by James on March 14, 2010 at 3:38pm
Thanks Andrea! :)
Comment by Reggie on March 14, 2010 at 6:08pm

Comment by Reggie on March 14, 2010 at 6:22pm
I was an atheist long before I knew it, but I did harbor more conservative views in my teenage years as well as theistic sympathies.

I didn't have a problem with homosexuals, but I didn't think they deserved the right to marry.

I was against abortion and would get miffed when Eddie Vedder spoke out about pro-choice. Pearl Jam is one of my all time favorite bands.

Sex. I wanted it more than anything ever. I didn't realize at the time that I was surrounded by young girls who wanted it just as bad. I thought I had to trick them into it or something. That delayed my loss of virginity by at least a year and a half, I reckon. If I knew then what I know now....oh baby!

I listened to Rush Limbaugh, too. And agreed with him!


Since then, I have read a lot more, grown up a hell of a lot more, and matured leaps and bound past the embarrassment that I was at the time. I realized I was an theist in my late 20's when I finally had atheism properly explained to me in The God Delusion. I was a struggling Deist turned militant agnostic at that point.

I was about to type that atheism didn't actually change my views or make me a better person, but that is not accurate. I rekindled my love of science once I let go of the last remnants of belief. Since that time, I have felt more responsible for my actions and words, and have been impelled to be a good person. I try to have a level of integrity that I just wasn't aware of before, when I held onto god belief. I still make mistakes and I will never be perfect, but I am not too proud to face those things and deal with them.
Comment by Reggie on March 15, 2010 at 12:13am
I don't take it for granted or assume that I'm getting an eternal life that's even better than the here and now. I try to take in every moment and relish it, even the smallest things, such as the smell of fresh coffee or the sea breeze, hearing a child's laughter, or seeing colorful spring flowers... I respect the earth much more now, and I appreciate life far more and realize how lucky we are to be alive and to experience this at all.

Awww. That is what I wanted to convey! Awesome and right on!

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