True Friends Aren't Bothered
By My Atheism
Hey, how's it going? I was referred to your fine site by my Forensics Coach, and let me just say, that it truly, truly tells what it means to be an atheist.
I'm a freshman in High School, 15 years old, and an Atheist. I've been an Atheist for as long as I can remember. Every time I think about it, it seems impossible that I am because of my environment.
My father is (or was) Roman Catholic (I'm not really sure anymore). He went to a parochial school and whatnot. To my knowledge he hasn't been to a church for at least 20 years.
My mother came from a Jewish family, but never attended a Jewish service in her life, as far as I know.
Although my family never went to church on Sundays, I live in a town of about 15 thousand people that seems to be approximately 99 percent Christian of one denomination or another.
This town has more churches per either capita or square mile -- not that it really matters. There's a church in my backyard, a church less than a block from that one, a church across the street from that one, and so on, and so forth. I looked it up. It holds the record in the Guiness Book of World Records.
To my knowledge, I am the only proclaimed Atheist in the entire town, and people often talk to me about it. They try to sell their religion to me, trying desperately. Of course, being the incredibly patient and nice person that I am, I politely listen and then quickly dissect their sales pitch with a smile. This happens on a daily basis. Usually they say to me, "James, why don't you believe in God?" To this I usually reply, "It's not that I don't believe in God, saying that I don't believe in God would suggest that there is a God capable of being believed in. Rather, I merely lack any theistic belief."
Why, just this Friday in my English class we had a rousing debate on religion, which sprang from absolutely nowhere, due to my rather unconventional teacher. No one in my town wants to question their own belief, though I encourage them to. I questioned their beliefs. I've read the Bible, and done a lot of thinking and questioning. Why can't they indulge me with just a simple question about their own beliefs? It really isn't that hard.
I've even had the old "Not believing in God makes you a bad person" pulled on me, which is completely untrue. While I may not have the sickening American Bravado the rest of the people I know, I like to think that I'm what would be percieved as a good person by most. I mean, I make good grades, I stay out of trouble, and I'm generally nice to everyone. Of course, there will always be those who don't like me based merely on my lack of belief in their God.
This is what I get for being a nice person? In order to be accepted by people I have to believe in some ridiculously archaic doctrine? Thanks, but no thanks! The people who don't like me based merely on the lack of a belief aren't worth being friends with in any case.
Now if only I had some money so I could subscribe to the magazine!