So, it’s probably worth mentioning that one last step I took to call myself an atheist was reading God No! by Penn Jillette. This step was entirely unintentional. My Fiance Patrick bought it for me because he is not a big reader, but wanted me to preview it to see if it was worth him reading. I wasn’t even reading for myself at first! I certainly didn’t read it because I wanted to become an atheist, or because I needed more reason to become an atheist or anything like that. In fact, I was quite convinced at the beginning it wouldn’t make me an atheist. And, to my credit, it didn’t. I made me an atheist. (Or I made the decision to call myself an atheist and return to the natural state of humans as some say.)
But by the end of the first page I was fully reading for myself. I knew Patrick would love it, and I loved it. I stayed up for hours reading I laughed my ass off and I also sobbed at certain parts. I had not been on such an emotional roller coaster since my first birth control. I digress. I always thought that in order for me to fully renounce my faith in God I would have to see really good evidence, or hear a really good argument or something. But I had heard most arguments from Patrick, and evidence doesn’t do much good when it’s trying to contradict something based in faith and not logic.
Throughout the book, I realized that a lot of things I said were good about my faith weren’t actually good. They were holding me back from living the most beautiful life I could. It wasn’t arguments or someone telling me I’m stupid for believing in God. It was someone telling crazy, unbelievable stories about their life and how he makes it as meaningful and love-filled as possible. The “infinite” love of the God I believed in wasn’t infinite. The love my friends and family has for me–I can see that. That is meaningful.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know that atheists could live fulfilled lives, Patrick lives a happy and good life and I defended that to my Christian friends all the time. But the book helped me look at religion from a new view point. Outside of faith looking in. Looking at it from a more logical view. I’m not sure. I can’t entirely put my finger on what sort of epiphany I had, but the more I thought about it, the happier I was.
So thanks to my two favorite atheists! Penn and Patrick