“There is no God.” Many people regard this as a depressing statement. When people hear or say this, it is often associated with nothing going right in the life of the person proclaiming it or it is heard said after a tragedy occurs. In this article, I will be making the case that this does not have to be the case and that these four words do not need to be linked to a fatalistic or bleak outlook, but instead can be reassuring, refreshing, and empowering.
There are many reasons for being an atheist. The best reason is because the concept of religion is flawed. But there are payoffs to being an atheist. Here now are the top 10 positive aspects to being an atheist:
1. I don’t allow myself to be told what to do and how to behave once a week like I don’t already know right from wrong on my own like I am a child.
2. I don’t feel severe guilt that never goes away, thinking I am the reason a good man suffered and died.
3. I don’t believe I am worthless, useless, and unworthy of love without a “certain someone” in my life.
4. I don’t believe I am a “sheep.”
5. I don’t feel paranoid, thinking all my thoughts and activities are constantly monitored by an ever-watchful contemptuous police officer-like figure observing my every move.
6. I realize that the best way to knowledge and understanding isn’t to live in continual fear of someone, but to seek it out for its own sake.
7. It’s the intellectually honest position to hold.
8. I do not allow my intellect to be insulted. I realize that I can, indeed, rely upon my own understanding.
9. I take ownership for my own shortcomings. I do not shift the blame onto someone else who I imagine and am told is constantly trying to tempt me and trip me up so I’ll stumble. I accept responsibility when I err.
10. And this one may be the most important one of all: Many Christians tell me how sorry they feel for me when they find out I’m an atheist as if they think I’m not happy and I can’t be happy because I don’t believe in God. My response always is that it’s not like that at all. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The process of becoming an atheist is like when your Dad is teaching you to ride a bike without training wheels when you were a kid. He begins by holding fast to the back of your bike and before you start to pedal, you tell him not to let go. So you start and you go a ways and before you know it, your Dad is far behind you and he’s telling you proudly, “I let go a long time ago. You’re doing it. You’re doing it all by yourself.” The process of becoming an atheist is like that. You discover that you’re capable. You can do it by yourself. In fact, you always have. There is no paternal father figure holding onto you, protecting you with his outstretched hand. You realize that you are fully capable of succeeding on your own. No one is carrying you on a beach somewhere. You realize that you rise and fall based on your own merit and you need not give someone else the credit for your accomplishments. They are a direct result of your own thoughts, ability, and actions. It’s one of the most freeing and beautiful things you can experience. Atheism: it’s like riding a bike.
Jon D. Webster is the author of 10 Decisions I Could Have Made Better Than God: And Other Audacious Atheist Articles, Blasphemy: Atheist Quotes and Essays By An Apostate, Nothing Sacred: An Atheist Quote-A-Day Calendar, and Unreal News: A Collection of Satire.