I have labeled myself an atheist for the past two years.
Two years of denying the gods of the people around me, two years of abandoning religion. Two years of arguments and tears and explanations.
Still, I find amazing peace in being godless.
"So when you look in the sky you see nothing..."
Someone once tried defining my lack of faith as a lack of wonder. Because I don't see gods I don't see joy or goodness. I tried explaining that they were wrong, but explaining the good in the world to someone who sees sin in a newborn is a challenge that I certainly haven't mastered yet.
It seems so obvious to me.
We get one shot at this life. One chance at doing the things we love, loving the people in our lives, living the breaths that we take. I try explaining to the religious that it is only the things that happen here that matter. Gods and angels, spirits, fairies...these are things I write about in my fiction, they aren't things that I place true value in. Hugs from my son, smiles from friends, tears shed over real loss... these are real, these are beautiful. Reality doesn't need the same plot devices as fiction to make it valuable.
I'm not as angry as I was when I believed.
Faith has a way of tainting all the things I find beautiful. Sinners, hell, damnation, living in fear that we are being judged. In faith you are pressed down by this paranoia that renders so many people useless to the human condition. How can you try and move forward when your god is constantly telling you "no?" How can you love someone when you assume they are sinners, unworthy of love, you are unworthy of love, because love is perfect, love is the almighty.
Love is many things, and as an atheist the idea of love being perfect is about as true of perfection in anything. There are always flaws, little pits in the otherwise perfect spheres of beautiful things. These pits and marks and dents don't render love untrue, but reveal the nature of the human existence. Flaws are natural. I don't need a god to smooth over the pits.
When I look in the sky, I don't see "nothing," I see this amazing, grand, overwhelmingly BIG universe. I stare at it long and hard. It's there, I can see parts of it, I am part of it.
It makes me smile.