I've been an atheist less than a year, and I have to say that it has been one of the loneliest of my life. Even surrounded by people, I have never felt more intellectually alone. The closest thing that I have to spirituality is an awed feeling of the universe, its beauty, and our place in it. But yet I'm not surrounded by anyone that I can physically see or touch to share that feeling of awe with, without invoking a god that I do not believe exists. There is no way that I can, or would, go back to believing in the Christian god, or any other god, but when I did believe, at least in some way I felt that it tied me to those around me. Believing in a god, even a fictional one, gave me hope and the feeling that someone was always there when I needed to talk...Of course, it also helped to intellectually cripple me by providing "God dunnit" as the answer for everything I didn't understand, and caused me so much emotional stress that I was constantly asking for forgiveness for everything that I thought God wouldn't like. I guess it wasn't so much a haven as a prison that I talked myself into trying to love.
I love it that we have online places such as ThinkAtheist that we can go to to interact when we can't with the people around us, but at times like this I still feel really lonely. I go to school in Carrollton, Ga, and I haven't met any other atheists (or other people) that I can genuinely talk to who critically thinks about what they say. One of my roommates is a Christian, and she said a funny thing to me yesterday. While we were watching a Christmas special, she started talking about how her brother (who's in another sect of Christianity) didn't believe in the biblical Christmas story of Jesus, or even that Jesus existed, and by the look she gave me, I could tell that she thought that was ridiculous. Although I didn't say anything but just smiled, I've told her before that I was an atheist, but I don't think that she was listening because then she said that she had to believe in something. She said that even if the story was fictional, she'd rather believe than not because she had to believe in something (and I think that she mentioned that it gave her hope). Then she said the part which bothered me, which was that atheists bothered her (presumably because she doesn't understand how people can live without gods I guess).
Just for once I'd like to meet someone who's open-minded enough to envision a life without any gods, and who has critically thought about what they believe and why. I'm kind of a loner, but I would at least like to meet one person in my area who doesn't make me feel like my life should feel empty without a god hovering over me telling me every little thing I should do. I was a Christian. I rejected it for good reasons, not over some traumatic event in my life or anything. I rejected it using reason, but I feel like I'm being penalized for not buying into believing without evidence.
Does anyone else feel like this, or have a situation like this?