Folks, I make no secret of the fact that I do not believe in a god. My standard answer when I'm asked if I've found Jesus is "where was the last place you saw him?" If someone asks me if I'm born again, my reply is "I think I was born okay the first time."
People usually don't like those answers.
When they find out I do not believe in a god, their first response is usually "oh, so you're an atheist?"
Um. Not exactly. There are, after all, differing degrees of heathen-ism. If you say to me "Georgie, I'm a Christian,"I do not automatically assume that you're a Baptist. You could be a Branch Davidian for all I know. It does piss people off when I ask "what kind of Christian?" They don't like that.
Atheism is defined as the absence of belief that any god exists. Atheists do not think that God or Satan, Yaweh, Buddha, the Green Man, heaven or hell or anything else along those lines exists.
I am agnostic. There is a difference.
An agnostic is defined as "one who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a god." Agnostics do not think that God or Satan, Yaweh, Buddha, the Green Man, heaven or hell or anything else along those lines exists, but they allow the possibility that they might.
While I believe that the presence of a "supreme being" cannot be proved, I believe that the reverse is also true. The presence of a god cannot be disproved. Essentially, I'm a fence sitter.
Religion itself is very personal as well as completely confusing. In it's most innocent of forms, it is a comfort to those in need as well as (good) rules to live by. In it's most innocuous, wars are fought in it's name and innocents are slaughtered simply because their beliefs differ from those of the invading warlords.
I was raised Presbyterian. It wasn't until something (very personal) happened to me in the early nineties that I began to question the presence of a god. By the time I was thirty, I was sure that he (she/they/it) wasn't there. I'm not entirely convinced, because there are things that have happened to me that I cannot explain with the tools I possess. But, if I were to wake up one day confronted by proven knowledge that there is, in fact, a god, I can't honestly say I would get down on my knees and worship it. I haven't asked it for help in damned near twenty years, I sure don't need it now.
I do, though, envy faith. As in faith in a supreme being. It's something I can't say I've ever had. I sometimes think that there is something wrong with me because I can't just blindly trust in something that isn't tangible. Why can't I when so many others can?
It is, though, wrong to assume that those who claim a belief in the absence of a god do not know anything about religion. I and many like me study all religions (not just the one that the televangelist says is the right one). We're curious about it in all it's forms. Maybe some are like me and want to know what's wrong with them that they just can't simply believe like so many others can.
It wasn't until I discovered the internet (you hear that - I DISCOVERED THE INTERNET) that I began to find that I wasn't alone. There are chat groups, message boards and web sites dedicated to every branch of what I call heathen-ism (some people refer to themselves as infidels - ROCK ON!). I don't feel like a total minority of one anymore, and it's nice to see so many people being not only open but vocal about their beliefs. (Check out this list of famous atheists and agnostics. Some of these names may surprise you!)
I guess what I want to say is do not judge me by my cover. (I think that most gods say that you shouldn't judge anyone, anyway don't they?) Just because I believe differently than you does not mean that I'm wrong. I'm just not your kind of right.