I really don’t want this blog to be just an atheism blog. But, that just seems to be the overall tone of my posts thus far. So be it…it’s on my mind. What can I say?
I haven’t really come right out and said I was “agnostic” or “atheist” to anyone, not even my girlfriend/wife (disclaimer: those terms are used very interchangeably between us). She is well aware I’m “not religious,” but the A words have never really been voiced. She’s a quasi-devout Catholic. Is that an oxymoron? Probably.
What I mean is, she is all down with Jeebus and Mary and the awesomely gothicness of Mexican Catholic spirituality, but probably hasn’t set foot in a church in a decade plus. So, she gets that I’m not, much to her usually quiet consternation. We tease each other lightly about our differing views, but I respect her right to believe in whatever the “hell” 😉 she wants, and I guess she respects mine, at least enough not to damn me to a fiery abyss every chance she gets.
Anyway, so I have only really admitted my atheism to myself. Oh, the shame! Right? Whatever. I just haven’t. I’m still exploring things, and really feel no need to shout my non-belief from the rooftops, unlike my theist brethren.
But the other day at work, a coworker spotted my copy of “God’s Problem” (see previous post) on my desk. He is a man I’ve recently become close to, and call a friend. I have a lot of respect for him as a person, but you know these things can be dicey sometimes. He’s Christian (I believe Catholic), though not all over the place with it. Like many young men (young people for that matter – he’s 23), he can curse with the best of them, but mentions God with a capital G here & there, in a non-threatening, personal sort of way.
So, he spots the book, and naturally, inquires. I told him I was only 5 pages in, so couldn’t give a review of any sort yet, but gave him the rundown. He wasn’t familiar with the term agnostic, so I gave him the rundown on that too, as well as atheist. He was “familiar” with that term – I use “” because, upon my questioning him as to his initial thought about the term “atheist,” he gave the standard answer most Christians who have never ventured beyond their religious affiliation would give. He said something along the lines of, “Well, the first thing that immediately comes to mind is ‘evil.” I thanked him for his candor, and we kept chatting on the book & subject. I joked that, “I’m a nice guy, I’m not evil!” He obviously was having some cognitive dissonance, and realized that his initial reaction was just that, a reaction, as he smiled and indicated that, clearly, he doesn’t consider me evil either.
Regrettably, our conversation was cut short, as he had to leave. One of the reasons I like this dude so much is that he’s clearly yearning for something – knowledge, experience, exploration of the world around him. I reminded him we should go out for a beer or three sometime, as we could easily fill the hours with philosophical discussion on a multitude of topics. And frankly, I’m interested in continuing this conversation. I was a kind of proud of myself, I have to admit. I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve only recently become closer friends, and he’s young (I’m only 32, for reference) and religious, and I just dropped the “A-Bomb” on him.
…or so some seem to think. Luckily, he’s not treated me one bit differently since then (though we haven’t spoken of the conversation again yet), which further attests to his intelligence and open-mindedness.
But, it felt refreshing to tell him I’m an Agnostic-Atheist. Who’s next??? LOL. But, seriously, it was a turning point. I really can’t get over how free I feel. And not in some “Everyone, I’m ATHEIST and it’s the great thing EVAR!!!1! You should be too!” kind of way. At all. I just feel less stressed, in general.
Much like the passing from December 31st into January 1st doesn’t magically change anything, regardless of what we’d like to think, formally denouncing any shred of faith I once held hasn’t made life easier. It hasn’t put more money into my pocket, taken any inches off the waistline, and so on. But what it has done is open me up to an existence of increased clarity.
Happy New Year, indeed.