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An Atheist American

I would say I first realized I was Atheist at the age of 7, but I was jumping around Christian denominations, and Buddhism, until I was 21. I’m 22 now.

Being an Atheist is difficult. We’re pushed to the outskirts of an excessively religious society hoping someone will acknowledge our existence, beliefs, and credibility. Some do, and for that we will be forever grateful, but many, particularly in the southern area of the United States, do not.
I am apart of a minority that isn’t ostracized overtly (not often at least). It is a quieter discrimination. Like a parasitic fungal infection, you feel the judgments microscopically. The hyphae of others’ beliefs interwoven into our skin, infecting, and feasting on our organic bodies. I scratch and scratch to rid myself of these judgments only to become inflamed with humiliation.

Many religious people are well meaning. Their hands reached out in sisterhood -or brotherhood-, acutely attuned to the vulnerable hearts. I’ve learned this is the tactic the religiously involved take full advantage of. The shedding of a tear sends them into savior mode. The gospel is shared, hands are pressed in prayer, and then they move on when they realize their fair weather attempts pushed us further away. They interpret this as resistance to the inevitable, a denial that will be reckoned with at the end of life, or something we will rue so deeply and irrevocably we will stretch out our arms in their churches and cry, “you were always right, forgive me!” I push away because they send me a slew of platitudes. “Everything happens for a reason,” or my personal favorite, “god gave you a sister with special needs to teach you patience.”

Apparently God uses other human beings as pawns to teach other people virtuous behavior, according to some. I push away, because where their mind is consumed of where they go when they die, I am focused on how to make the only opportunity of existence I have as fulfilling as possible. I push away because I see religion absolving selfishness. I don’t see humans helping because it’s the human thing to do, I see them helping for a ticket into heaven. Why be apart of that?
Atheism is not a cauldron bubbling with noxious fumes. It is not the temptation of freedom from a spiritual law. It is the simple fact that Atheists cannot will themselves to believe, and this is where the religious disagree. They claim we aren’t trying hard enough, or we are angry. They say these things with blind confidence as if Atheists haven’t found themselves hunched over divine doctrine in the middle of the night trying to understand why people keep saying they hear music of the supernatural, but we hear nothing. Most Atheists I meet know just as much as the religious do, if not more.
I believe the most difficult aspect of Atheism is the false preachings of endless “blessings” with religion. The religious in America, as in many countries, are the good. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “it’s the Christian thing to do,” when referring to a good deed. I am disappointed the society I live in believes goodness comes with qualifiers. Maybe I would be content in my own world if the religious would stop saying my life is unfulfilled, that I am missing something, that I have no ultimate morality. What have my convictions done to leave me unfulfilled and have no morality, exactly? The missing opportunity to pick out the ones who don’t go to heaven because they didn’t believe in a giant spirit in the sky, and say, “at least that’s not me?” Is it the ability to commit heinous crimes, ruin people’s lives, and lift my chin to the ceiling with tears of self-pity and guilt and ask for forgiveness, with the knowledge I will be absolved of my wrongdoings because God is merciful (funny, he’ll forgive a serial killer, but not the Atheist)? Is it the ability to feel superior somehow compared to other animate beings that I live along side? Is it the knowledge to boast of historical victories, conquering indigenous tribes of people just because the religious want the world to mirror their image of their interpretation of the perfect human being?

I refuse to accept those injustices, and I never have. I may be apart of a quiet minority, but it’s because people have begun to listen. Our perspective has penetrated the world, and the religious are afraid of someone who doesn’t need religious law to guide them. Being an Atheist is hard, but at least we carry full responsibility of our actions, we love people because every human deserves love, and we will never point a finger at someone saying they don’t deserve something because they are different.

Love whoever is around to be loved. Love when people don’t love back. Love unconditionally.

See more from Summer Janacek’s writing here.

This is the first of the INSIGHT guest posts, which will provide a glimpse into the lives of atheists around the world and an opportunity to connect with bloggers of a similar nature.

Follow for more and thank you Summer for the perspective!


7 replies »

  1. It is interesting to read that many people like yourself started out in the christian church system. Throughout that system we know certain questions are frowned upon or not allowed at all. I know I have questioned a lot of things over time but never openly asked anyone for an explanation. It is sad that christian people, who according to Jesus are supposed to be known for their love for one another, for God and for others, so many times cannot get along with others except for those who believe alike. As a christian myself, not a religious christian but one who follows the example of Jesus, I can see why people would question the existence of God and wonder why certain things happen if there is a God. If boils down to faith because there really is no proof one way or the other. We cannot prove God exists and we cannot prove he does not exist. Rather than get mad and upset and do everything we can to try and prove our way of thinking, we should look past the label of christian, atheist, gay or whatever label we use, and see a human being. Whether we choose to put our faith in God and follow the example of Jesus, or if we do not see any proof or reason to accept that idea, we should be able to make up our mind as to what we believe is right and live our lives without all the judgment and condemnation we receive from the opposite side. Behind the label we are pretty much the same. We want to live a life of happiness, success and fulfillment and enjoy our experiences with someone we love. There is no reason why we cannot accept one another even in when we do not agree.


    • seems the media often get confused over what is possible and the actual priotbilbay of any particular event actually occurring. guess their mantra is never let the facts get in the way of a story that could potentially boost ratings.


    • Thank you for the comment and please accept my apologies for the delay in response to your comment. I admire your willingness to treat everyone equally and with compassion. I have one question however from your comment. If there is no way to confirm or deny God’s existence, considering the ease in which I am sure he could do so, why do you feel he deserves a following? Do you feel God has the potential to prove his own existence if necessary and as he hasn’t, why hasn’t he?


      • Hi Sam, thanks for responding. No problem on the delay. I know how life gets busy. In answer to your question, I personally feel God deserves a following even though we cannot prove there is a God. I know this is a basic answer but it is a choice and a matter of faith. Personally I cannot believe the intricacies of the human body and the universe could just happen without a supreme being or spirit or God creating them. Again, this is by faith and not by proof. I believe God does have the potential to prove his existence and quite frankly, I do not have an answer as to why he does not do so. For me personally, I choose to believe God is with us and loves us and I want to follow the example of Jesus the best I can in regard to loving others, showing respect and acceptance, kindness and honestly to all I meet. If when I die I am wrong about God, I have at least lived a good life and treated others kindly. I have certainly changed my views on many of the traditional teachings of modern organized religion, but I continue to believe God love us and is with us. I obviously cannot prove that and I certainly do not have many answers to questions we all have, but again, it is a choice I make and accept. I hope that somewhat answers your questions. Thanks again for writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, I am glad to hear you choose to be a good person, could I ask why you feel God deserves a following, especially if you feel he has the power to be present but doesn’t show? Is it because he has power you feel he deserves worship?


      • Hi Sam, for me, and this is just my opinion, I choose to follow God because I believe he is the creator of the universe and that he created humans out of love. I would not follow him just because he has power because I feel that would only be following out of fear. Again, I cannot explain why he does not do things to show his presence and I wonder about that too. Yet I choose to believe and following because of love.


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