Saturday, July 31, 2010
Godless at BYU
So I've been an agnostic atheist for a while now and I'm finally beginning to redefine myself. Really I've been in doubt for a large part of my life, but I've also been a full-blown-out-double-rainbow believer at some points too.
In high school one group of friends were very religious and my best friend from that group came out as gay once he got into college. My other group of friends were doubters, eventual atheists or agnostics, and had drinking and drug parties. Really I hung around a lot of people who didn't help me uphold my beliefs in any reasonable way. But I enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it, overall. Sometimes I felt out of place, but other times I felt very comfortable and part of me wished I could live like they did, on some levels.
Till earlier this year I was still floating around in how I was living - sometimes I went to church, I even tried to pray and read my scriptures a couple of times. Then I would be reading books by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, or skipping out on my callings and church for months at a time. I really didn't like the floatiness of my life and it made me miserable. Then this spring I sat myself down and really thought about what I believed and what made sense to me (which I don't hold much weight to the 'makes sense' argument) and how I felt.
I decided I no longer believed and that I didn't want to be a part of the church anymore. I told a couple friends, and a few of them were not very happy. In fact, some of them stopped talking to me. I think they were afraid my atheism is contagious, and I hope they are right cause then it means I'm doing something right to put dissonance in their lives.
So this year I started really getting into Atheism/Agnostic books and reading up on the stuff. Then about a month I started podcasts on itunes and got into TED and FORA.tv. I've also started 'coming out' to people, starting it off as if I'm gay for a laugh. I also got my introverted self to join a couple Facebook atheist groups and went to a brunch up in Salt Lake City. From there i got to a weekly coffee meeting and then into the ultra-elite deep underground atheist/non-believer/party group down in the Provo/Orem bubble.
In fact I just went to a campfire party with them last night and that's when I realized that i really was beginning to feel comfortable. I felt like I did back in high school. Not as awkward as I did back then when my friends would be lighting up next to me, now i care less, but far less awkward than when I'm surrounded by super-religious friends and feeling on edge if they'll start asking me questions. Cause I like to be true to myself and I avoid lying whenever possible (some situations don't allow unless I want to be discriminated or receive negative consequences).
Long story short, I enjoyed being back around drunk people and people who like to talk about the things that are on my mind. I was also glad to see that many people there seem like they are tolerant of religious people. Atheists who are not tolerant of kind/reasonable religious people, in my mind, are just as dogmatic and prejudicial as the bulk of religious people themselves. One of my issues with atheist groups and their non-acceptance of certain people, but that's for another time.