I am an atheist.
I guess maybe I should clarify. I use atheist, because it is more recognizable than "humanist" or "anti-theist," and calling myself a "scientist" when people ask what faith I am may imply that I'm a Christian Scientist, which I'm not.
Do I believe there is something akin to a "supreme being" in the universe? Possibly. There are many types of life forms just on our planet alone and our universe is so amazingly big and since we may be one of many, infinite "multi-verses" then, yeah, there probably is some sort of life form like the "Q" of Star Trek who are omnipotent and omnipresent and powerful beyond our wildest imaginings, something like a "supreme being." Does this all-knowing, all-seeing God really care about humanity on Earth. I'm guessing not. Earthquakes in California because "He" hates gay marriage laws? Really? Thirty-eight million people on a small section of a small continent on a small planet in the outer rim of a small spiral galaxy in the Virgo Supercluster of the Known Universe is really going to matter to an all-knowing, all-powerful, multi-universal being? Personally, I think no. I guess you could say that in this sense, I'm "agnostic."
Do I believe that science can answer all of our questions about the universe and life? Yes. Right now, we don't have all the answers, but that's the great thing about science. Scientists know they don't have all the answers, and if an answer changes, they grasp that change, they don't fear it. Someday though, not in my lifetime, not in my children's lifetimes, not in 100 lifetimes, I believe scientists will have figured out "life" and answer the unanswerable. That is, if humanity lasts long enough to advance our knowledge that far. So yeah, the identifying answer here is "scientist."
Do I believe there's a place for religion in humanity? No. I feel that overall, religion has caused more harm than good. I think many times that religion causes prejudices, hate, fear, and stagnation. Not all of the people I know who are religious are hateful, prejudiced, fearful, or stagnant, but religious extremes do cause those things. People who kill in the name of religion. Young-Earth Creationists trying to stop science from being taught in science classrooms. Hate for other religions/colors/sexual orientations. Fear of people who are different, who aren't of the same faith. Religion may teach some morality, but it can also teach all those other negative things. My answer here is that I'm "anti-theist."
All together, I describe myself as "Humanist," because I have more faith in my fellow human beings and our potential than I have faith in some unseen power that may or may not care about us. Does that mean that I look down on those people who call themselves Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Jewish or Buddhist, etc.? No, because we all need some kind of "faith" to get us through life. Mine is faith in my fellow people. Your faith may be in God. Should people who identify themselves with a particular religion look down on me? No. But I know they will.
I know atheists/humanists are some of the most least trusted people on this planet. There are some states and countries that have laws on their books that don't allow atheists to hold public office, among other things. Many people fear or hate atheists. I know that once I hit publish on this blog post, some of you who read this will think I'm a Godless, immoral, horrible person. That's fine. Think of me what you will. Cut me out of your life because of this. But know this. I'm the same person whom you've always known. I just kept my questioning of religion, of God, secret from all of you and it is just now, at this stage of my life, that I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to "come out" finally, and announce who I am.
Please realize that I won't cut you out of my life. I won't try to convince you that everyone should be atheists. I won't make your religion, or my lack thereof, the main topic of any of our future conversations. I am still the same Heather I've always been and will be the same until I die. I will always question, always wonder, always explore. I just want to love, be loved, celebrate, be celebrated, and experience everything life has to offer, and that includes fellowship with family and friends.
I'm a humanist/atheist. I love, I laugh, I rejoice, I cry, I feel, I rage, I wonder. I gasp at the beauty of an early-morning sunrise that bathes the land in oranges, pinks, and reds. I giggle in amazement and joy at watching my children become incredible people. I am soothed and calmed when I jump into the ocean on a scuba dive and am constantly surprised by the diversity and beauty of the life just under the surface. My mind is blown over the incredible wonder of this planet of ours and the life teeming on it. I can still feel all the things those who are faithful feel.
So turn away from me if you feel that you have to. It's OK. I get it. Just remember that we're all spinning on this tiny rock together. We need each other. It's how we're going to make it through this incredible journey through space and time.
Love and peace to each and every one of you.