It’s funny. I find myself returning to my blog every once in a while. In fact, I re-read through earlier blog posts and some made me cringe a little. I was young though, and thus some “cringey-ness” should be reasonably expected. It was entertaining to read those posts and I appreciate the young me. I was able to put out there the questions that I have and had been asking. It also provided me a timeline. A point in time where I can say, “this is where it all started”.

What a start it was. From questioning my religious beliefs to falling away from the conservatism I was constantly surrounded by in my hometown, I have undergone some evolution’s in ideologies. An evolution that I am proud of. An evolution that has expanded my ability to think critically and question everything.

Let’s stop beating around the bush. I, am an atheist. It has been a long road, a painful road, and an enlightening road, but it is who I am. It is a hard thing to say being from the south. I felt very alone for so long. I am surrounded by family who are deeply religious. I want to tell them, but I simply can’t. Now, this sounds sad and dreary, but I promise you at this very moment, I have never been happier.

Shedding my religious beliefs has been the most liberating things in my life to date. It has enabled me to question things. Enabled me to explore different ideas. Enabled me to really get out there and explore…well, me.

I have told a few close friends that I am an atheist, and they ask the same thing every time, “So you say there is no god?” Nope, not at all. That is not at all what most atheists claim. Lets analyze the word atheism briefly. Theism is “the belief in a god or gods.” The prefix ‘a’ meaning without. Therefore atheism being “without a belief in a god or gods”. Further examination should happen on the word belief as this seems to trip people up. Belief is defined as “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.” Notice that the belief definition does not say acceptance with evidence, merely acceptance and this is the problem for most atheists. Since I see no evidence that is testable and reproducible for the existence of a god, I reject the claim that a god exists. No positive claim is being made and thus the default position is taken. However, that’s enough boring jargon, why am I back?

I see too often budding atheists lost and not knowing where to turn. I was there once. It is a difficult thing to address with yourself when you first are opened up to a different set of beliefs, or disbelief in our case. In my case, I started with anger. I was angry that my parents had indoctrinated me with fear to follow christian values. I was angry that I was forced to live a life with blinders on. I was angrier that my parents condemned my Hindu best friend (who is now also an atheist) to an eternity in hell. Then, the anger subsided and in set confusion.

Confused was I. Confused by the new world I was immersed in. Confused at the thought of the possibility that a god didn’t exist. I was confused, because I was scared. Scared to address the battle raging within. A battle that had me falling back to theism, no matter how illogical. The confusion was overwhelming; an emotional roller-coaster which I was not securely strapped into. I didn’t know what to do. I had no one to talk to. I couldn’t talk to my family, they wouldn’t understand. Worse yet they disconnect from me due to my certain devil worship (in their eyes of course). That was the last thing that I needed. So, I did the worst possible thing, I held it in. I kept it to myself and went through the motions. Then one day almost a year after my last post it happened.

One of my really good friends admitted to a group of us that he was agnostic. All of the sudden my fear and confusion went away and my world changed. I wasn’t alone. Not anymore, not ever again. I immediately started asking questions. “How do you handle your parents? How do you handle church? What if you’re wrong?” I berated him. The responses were all answers I had already answered myself, but never truly confronted nor accepted. Hearing this affirmed my own beliefs. Why though?

See my friend, he too grew up in a similar situation. His situation was exactly mine. He couldn’t tell his parents for they wouldn’t understand. When he told me this, I said. “You’re not alone, your thoughts are the same thoughts I have been dealing with for over a year.” He smiled and we went on with some other conversations.

Then he moved away. No big deal, the battle was over and I was at peace, or so I thought. I began to struggle again, but for a different reason. By this time the Presidential election was in full swing. I was surrounded by images and news clips of the most ignorant that the United States has to offer. It wasn’t their fault, I kept telling myself. Of course, things didn’t get better. Ignorant nonsense spewed from the media on both sides of the aisle. I couldn’t handle it. I felt alone intellectually. So I reached out and found my local Atheist organization. Here, I can converse with people who are also atheists, but come from a spectrum of political ideologies.

This is where I am today. To those reading this going through the same thing I did. Don’t wait. Find your outlet. Reach out to your local atheist organization. Get involved so you can have those discussions you are dying to have.

And for those conversations, Let’s have them here. I am the Budding Atheist, I am back, and as always, Let’s have a conversation.

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