I Am Openly Secular

openlysecular.orgI’ve been struggling for several months to write one or more posts on the fact that I have determined that I am an atheist. In fact, I have probably at least five drafts of posts saved that I began but was never able to complete satisfactorily. However, I also feel that the fact that I have not declared the fact that I am now an atheist and a humanist is hindering me from posting many other things I’d like to post that begin with the assumption that you already know I’m an atheist.

It took me a couple years to come to grips with the fact that I’m now an atheist. It isn’t anything I wanted or asked for, it just happened. Contrary to what some may believe, many people do not make a conscious choice to become an atheist because atheism isn’t a declaration of what you do believe but rather what you do not believe. Therefore, atheism is simply the result of no longer being able to sustain your belief in your chosen deity and having no other candidates to take their place. You simply cannot will yourself to be a believer regardless of whether you wish to be one or not. Declaring myself to be an atheist is simply a matter of not being a hypocrite about it (not to mention the fact that I have enough anxiety just getting through the day without adding this big of a secret to the mix).

This also seemed like an appropriate time to declare myself to be an atheist since Openly Secular Day is coming up on April 23. Part of Openly Secular Day is to tell at least one person that you are secular in your beliefs. I’m simply getting a jump on things by being a week and a half early. Plus I would find it rather awkward and difficult to just walk up to someone and say Hey, I’m an atheist and, as my wife has told me many times, I’m much better at explaining things when I have an opportunity to write them down.

I will, hopefully, be able to put my thoughts together into a narrative about how I arrived at this place in my life at some point in the near future. In the meantime, please feel free to ask me questions (my email address is available on my about.me page) or otherwise engage me in dialog.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “I Am Openly Secular

  1. secularscarlet

    Many thanks for a wonderful piece, and bravo for shouting it out! I on the opposite end of the spectrum to you was born atheist and in the same respect didn’t feel being such defined me. It is Infact such a small part of who we are….

    We live in a crazy world where religion seems to take the centre stage , how I wish it wasn’t so.

    Look forward to hearing more of your story

    ☺️☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’ve really appreciate that. It seems, at least for the time being, that my fears of how this would go over have been misplaced. I certainly hope it stays that way. 🙂

      When I was religious, my religion was center stage and so I understand why those who are religious feel that way. However, I wish we could find a way to get on together without the vitriol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Olanrewaju Onikoyi

    This speaks exactly my mind.. i’m glad there are more reasonable people out there. Lovely write-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mick Curran

    I was a teenage atheist but it was a negative reaction to my dad’s ultraconservative attitude plus there was a kid in my class at school that I thought was cool who declared himself to be an atheist. I wish you well as you proceed, Joe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mick. I truly appreciate your well wishes and also wish you well on your continued spiritual journey.

      I had held out hope for a couple years that my loss of faith was situational or induced by one of my medications but after a couple years I couldn’t deny anymore that my faith was gone and it didn’t appear as though it would be coming back.

      Like

      • Mick Curran

        It seems to me, Joe, that “faith,” or something like it, comes more easily to the fundamentalist mindset because that’s first stage baby religion wherein the ego dictates that every single doctrine, tenet and belief is necessarily inerrant or infallible and can therefore be proved beyond all doubt. This isn’t what I would call a manifestation of faith: it’s more like seeing the result of sustained indoctrination. It’s always tribal, of course, because if there is no “us and them” there can be no scapegoat and without a scapegoat the central motivation and purpose of baby religion disappears.

        I would imagine every person exposed to such a simplistic and harmful worldview eventually questions it. I daresay most play safe and remain inside the safety of the tribe, contenting themselves with the sort of mental gymnastics to which immature religionists often seem to be drawn . But others come to see what a farce it is and summon up the courage to change and do their best to grow into mature thinking adults who are prepared to apply their conclusions. Some kick religion into touch altogether and become freethinkers whereas others develop their spiritual lives by looking inward with a view to improving their own attitudes and behavior instead of continually looking outward, always on the lookout for things to complain about and, more especially, people to condemn for not being in their particular tribe.

        If first stage religion were the only stage I’d have been long gone but I sense that it isn’t and that I’ve discovered something more fruitful (can’t prove that so I’m prepared to admit I might be wrong) and I’ve decided to stick with it. That you’ve reached a different conclusion is quite OK with me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicholas Rickford PG

    Saw your post on Triad, Joe, and have just read this. I was not quite sure why you were worried about what would people would think since I didn’t imagine people would mind one way or another – you believe or you don’t – or you are like me who believes some of this and some of that and none of this and none of that. I figured that is the way it was, but then I realized that some people are not of that mind and do see people as in or out, and to such folks. . or some of such folks, once your out, you are out of their club, so to speak. Well, that says something about them then, doesn’t it?!

    So fear not, Joe. I am just glad you have found a way that rings true to you and finds you in a comfortable state of mind.

    Talk to you later, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad that you don’t feel that being “out of the club” (so to speak) means a change in our relationship. For far too many of the religious people I’ve known over the years it was an either/or proposition. However, the vast majority of people who I’m connected with through my various online presences either aren’t bothered, haven’t noticed, or don’t care. I’m hoping most of them are in category one but I’m not holding my breath 🙂

      Like

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