23 March 2014

Coming Out Of The Closet

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.


Wendy Thomas said...

I know how hard and worrisome it can be to say this, and I nearly didn't read it because I have a hard time lately with super-devout friends. But I'm glad I did, because you said all the things I say so now I like you even more.

sybil law said...

Well, I DO think you're a Godless, immoral, horrible person.
Why do you think I like you so much?

Patois42 said...

Best closet to come out of, you heathen. Your fellow human in this neck of the woods blesses you.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Wendy - Thanks, hon! And I'm glad you read it. :)

Sybil - LOVE YOU, TOO, BOO! :D

Patois42 - Thanks, hon!

Melissa said...

Oh sweetie, I do know that some people will be mean. I am also very careful to talk about my own beliefs, for the same reason. Hugs and hugs.

Anonymous said...

Wish i could come out too, to my family, but the fear is too strong. Congrats for the courage. Regards from Brazil

Anonymous said...

Wish i could come out too, to my family, but the fear is too strong. Congrats for the courage. Regards from Brazil. Got here from reddit.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Melissa - Thank you! Much love!

Anonymous - I understand the fear, very much. Thanks for reading and remember, your reddit family is here for you if you need us. Until then, live well!

Anonymous said...

It's sad how you need to convince everyone that you're not an evil spawn of the devil just because you're an atheist.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Anonymous - Very true. And yes, very sad. I agree.

Paul said...

Fair play to you Heather and nice to meet you. People will be people, mostly great, just sweep the rest away, heavy heartedly I know, but sweep.
Paul the Hairy Scotsman

Anonymous said...

Earth quakes in California because he hates gay marriage laws, haha. Don't listen to half the stuff preachers are on about. Yes there were civilisations in the past that we're destroyed, but now that there are no more prophets, right can be seen from wrong. What's the point of sending earthquakes in every single age?

"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?" Funny statement of urs because it is flawed big time. Have u considered that the vastness of the universe was created to showcase the unimaginable power of the creator, it's nothing but a sign. Ur looking into the universe too deeply, maybe too much Star Trek.

About science answering all our questions, science doesn't even know how candles work, there are literally thousands of reactions that take place when a candle burns, science doesn't know why when ur taking a shower, the curtain will move toward the falling drops, doesn't even know that simple stuff.

If people are hateful, u can't blame religion, blame people. There are many more good people that have helped humanity that are believers.

Some kind of faith to get us through in life. Of course this has nothing to do with religion, unless ur talking about the common person, who yes perhaps, because they don't understand or care to understand, philosophical questions or questions of the divine.

It's great that u are feeling things like other humans, like the amazing great outdoor world, the ocean, etc. only difference is we say it was created, u say it just formed, it's not hard to choose one or the other, which one is the logical choice, considering ur future, I mean we just twinkle into and out of existence.

Paul said...

We most certainly do know how candles work and water moves like this because it is polarised and the curtain has a static charge. These are stock responses from believers when they try to bolster their position. Please don't. There is no similarity between the awe you feel and the awe a non believer feels when confronted with the sublime.

Anonymous said...

In fact, there are still a lot of hypotheses in relation to the workings of a candle once lit. check up on the literature.

And, in fact the shower curtain effect has been featured in the Scientific American magazine, with several theories explaining it, but no definite conclusion. Don't talk out of ur ass.

Ur missing the whole point as well, the fact that science can not possibly know most of whatever exists...

Faiqa said...

Being authentic is important. I respect your courage, your beliefs and YOU.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Anonymous - I find it interesting that when challenged by Paul regarding the burning wicks of candles and why shower curtains react the way they do to falling water from a shower head, you turn hateful. I'm not sure what your problem is, but you don't need to display it here. Please take that hatefulness elsewhere. I appreciate input and opinions, but when you turn nasty, that's when I have a problem with it. Obviously, you don't trust science or scientists. That's fine. That's your thing. Just don't be nasty.

Paul - Thank you for your kind words and your defense in my comments. :) Much appreciated.

Faiqa - Thank you, my dear. I respect you so very much. LOVE!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this! It's great to see how other people have handled the journey I am on as well. As someone who's been a closet-atheist for the last couple of years, I dread telling my wife - one of the most passionately religious people I've ever known - because I know it will break her heart. :(

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Anonymous - I totally understand not wanting to break your wife's heart. If my father were still alive, I would probably be less apt to announce my atheism. But good luck when you do let her know and remember you have a community who cares about you. Thanks!

hello haha narf said...

i love you. you are an incredible woman. i respect and trust you. it has nothing to do with the god i believe in and you don't. it has everything to do with the fact that you are kind and funny and smart and honest.
you are good people, heather. that is what matters in my book. i love you and know that you will still love me regardless of that fact that i believe in a god. and that is fucking rad.

hello haha narf said...

p.s. this was brave of you to post. if our world was more loving it wouldn't have to be. i am proud of you. xoxo

Anonymous said...

If saying "Talking out of ur ass" is being hateful, then I take it back.

Paul only commented on one of my paragraphs btw, which does not affect any of the rest of what I said.

I don't have a problem with science, it is all well and good, and necessary in a world where the population continues to increase, we need science to continually improve technology to cope with increasing demands in many areas.

It's not that I feel challenged, lol! Even I was shocked when I first heard about the candle and the shower, but after digging into it, it seems that they are still mysterious, ok enough with the candle and the shower, haha.

It just seems to me that honestly, that you don't have a sound argument at all, in fact, if you go to a philosophy class you will find that you cannot prove nor disprove religion using logic, it will never happen.

Sorry for mentioning a few small things that are unwelcome in this athiest group. I understand that you are making a new start and don't want some person sending u the wrong vibe, ur only looking for positive vibes of support from ur fans. That's fine, take it easy :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Anonymous - What you said is completely welcome. Just the delivery could have used some work. :) I don't mean to prove or disprove religion. What I'm trying to say is that for me, religion is wrong, it doesn't work, and I would rather live my life without it or without God. I'm glad that you have faith and that it works for you and I'm very happy that you came to my humble corner of the blogverse, read my words, and commented. I thank you for that! :) Please, come back any time!

Anonymous said...

No worries :) Now I can go back to enjoying my wonderful literature haha. Might check in another time.

Michael from dadcation.com said...

That's it. I'm so pissed that I'm quitting my blog and starting a new one.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Dadcation - Dork.

Anonymous said...

First time visitor and first time commenting here. I bumped into your site via another one - glad that I did. You pretty much echoed my thoughts on this subject.

Apart from not caring much for the concept of a sky-daddy, I don't subscribe to religious constructs like heaven/hell, soul etc. Not much difference between a dead human and a dead shoe, if you ask me - there is no "afterlife" for either. Check it out, if you haven't been there already: there's a diverse bunch of us opining in http://freethoughtblogs.com/

Finally, I will leave you with the great George Carlin's view on religion. Hilarious as well as so true!


Alice said...

Very beautifully written.

NanosNotes the Elder said...

Hi. You don't know me but I wanted to congratulate you on your decision and the thoughtful way you made your announcement.
Best Wishes,
SteveW (Queen Creek, AZ)

Anonymous said...

Well-written and much appreciated! I never felt the need to "out" myself, as I grew up in a secular family and country, but then I moved to the Bible Belt and boy! did the fun start...Thanks for giving others courage and letting them know they're not alone.

Sheryl said...

Bravo for coming out of the closet. You are brave enough to announce what many people cover up in the name of fitting in sometimes. I wish I shared your faith in man, though. I'd like to think we have the capacity to be good, but there are things that make me fear for the future of my kids. I wonder if people have committed atrocities in the name of religion because the people are innately bad, and just use religion as the excuse?
If anyone around here gives you the cold shoulder for it,come tell me, and I'll call them out on all they do behind closed doors while professing their faith. (Ugh, can you tell I'm a little cynical on the topic?)

Anonymous said...


Here's the Anonymous from March 23, 2014.

I came out to my wife a couple of months ago. It was a painful decision but I had to tell her.

At first, she was really sad, and cried a lot. We talked for a while and later she thanked me for being sincere.

The rest of my family still doesn't know it, but only this was a huge weight off my shoulders.