Saturday, July 4, 2015

I Didn't Choose to Become Atheist

A Symbol of one of the many Christian sects: The opulent Roman Catholic Church
"Basilica di San Pietro (notte)" by Eugene Pivovarov - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Within religious circles, it's common to move between churches to find the one which best fits one's subjective personal preconceptions about the world. From this social construct, theists often ask me why I chose atheism.

To many atheists, this question is offensive.  Unlike a decision to switch among the roughly 40 thousand Christian sects, atheism is a rejection of the core assumptions central not just the Christian sects, but all religions. I didn't decide the communities were all a waste of my time. It wasn't that I couldn't find a version of Christianity that aligns well with my political and scientific beliefs.

Rather, I left Christianity because there's no convincing evidence that any gods exist.  My own sense of honesty is one of my central cherished values.  I simply couldn't maintain my personal standards for honesty and still tell people I thought there was a god. I continued to attend church for many years as I drifted away.  But participating in the Apostle's Creed became a emotionally painful exercise that left me feeling like I had sacrificed my personal honesty to fit in. Singing hymns became similarly uncomfortable.

Of course, I could just sit out from these major portions of the service,but this seemed like some sort of rebellious protest. That wasn't it at all, and I didn't want to give that false impression either. In the end, I left the church because I didn't want to be dishonest anymore.

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