When I believed in god, I put my dreams on hold for "god's plan" even though there was no way of knowing "god's plan" - I mean he didn't write it on a napkin or burn a bush for me..
When i realized I was an atheist - I realized it's all up to me. And that was very freeing - my dreams were mine again. My dreams to write and to create were mine to make come true to let go - my decision.
I also realized every second counted - no more "well if I don't see that person now I will see them in heaven"
So I find myself mourning wasted time. I mourn the words I did not write, the art I did not create and currently the Aunt I didn't say goodbye too before she died because I thought "that situation makes me uncomfortable - I will see her in heaven"
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life" ~Steve Jobs
Well said, Kelly, but I think a lot of us go through this. When we think we are finally on the right track we fully realize that our time is limited. It's almost like wanting to go back to an earlier time in your life, being younger but yet saying "if I only knew then what I know now." Life is a learning process but I'm sure that we all do this.
Today I mourn the loss of my wife in so much that we are separated and most likely it will lead to divorce. This is not what I want but I also know deep down that my atheist beliefs are a part of what happened here even if I never came out as atheist to her. What am I saying? Christian apologetics keeps making lame excuses for everything said in the bible. As a christian I made the same excuses for my marriage and all was fine until I became atheist unaware to her. I don't think it can be mended.
Directions do change. It is all just wasted time.
That's bad, Michael!
Thankfully my eyes are open and my excuses banished. It may have taken me awhile but it's also freeing to know that yes....every damn moment does count
I hear you about "time wasted." The thing about that, though, is that we're not all built the same. Life is at least in part a process to get us from where we started to where we want to be. One problem I've learned with that process is that knowing where you want to be doesn't necessarily automatically get you there. It took the better part of 53 years for me to get out from under my domineering father and take full ownership of myself, and it was a "eureka" moment that actually did it after all that time. Sometimes, you don't even realize that you wanted to be somewhere until you actually arrive there, perhaps by accident! I was writing about issues relating to atheism long before I realized not only that I was an atheist, but how well atheism suited me.
To paraphrase Joss Whedon (who is also an atheist!), we all got on this boat for different reasons and at different times and places, but we all came to the same place. Yeah, it took a while for me to get here ... but at least I GOT here ... and I am very glad of that.
I can identify, Loren. It took me many years of guilt ridden sorrows to become atheist. When I arrived I understood fully that it was my parents who "called me to preach."
Agreed Loren! at least we did get here! with eyes open and brains intact. Congratulations on finding your freedom :)
Loren I couldn't agree with you more.....I am 65 and recently came to the realization that I am an Atheist...Everything makes so much more sense now and I no longer feel like an outsider thanks to this site....I enjoy your articles please continue to write them......
I can also relate to mourning all the years wasted in the pursuit of finding God. I too spent a vast portion of my life trying to find signs of a Higher Power in the universe. It was shortly after my divorce (to a rabbi’s daughter no less) several years ago that I realized I was going on about my search the wrong way, I was trying to understand the mind of God by learning all the scientific processes and rationalities of the world, working to do good in his name. I figured that my hard work (Peace Corp) and pure intellectual reason would prove that God exists and I believed that all people of the world must possess similar forms of understanding as well.
What I ended up finding out though was that almost all people who made claims to following a Divine force would ultimately stab their fellow man in the back and exempt themselves of responsibility by using their understanding of God as an excuse. They would excuse acts of pure evil and horrible disasters as part of God's plan. I realized that I was being duped and that everyone else who believed in God were allowing themselves to be duped as well.
It was also then that I had something of an atheistic epiphany of sorts and realized I had one of two directions to go with all this, I could either become:
a) ignorant of the knowledge and wisdom I’ve attained thus far, go through life with blinders on, watch a lot of FOX news and accept uncivil behavior as part of being civilized or
b) keep to the path I'd been heading on and see where it would lead me.
And then one day I was paging through some movie titles on Netflix and saw one that sounded interesting called The Atheist Files. It was a short series of interviews done by the BBC with various intellectuals, academic professors and scientists and it wasn't long before I realized the conclusions I had made in doubting God's existence were intellectually well founded.
And now I live an atheistic life, I walk and atheistic mile and take an atheistic wife*.
*-well, girlfriend really. But I'm optimistic. :)
we have our minds back....we get to choose and that's an awesome thing. Is the Peace Corp a "religious" organization?
No, the Peace Corp isn’t a religious organization. The reasons for why I joined it however were spiritually motivated. It’s was but one of a long list of events that contributed to the erosion of my spirituality. In any case this was back in the early 80’s and I was doing relief work in Ethiopia.
I didn't know the Peace Corp was still around. I wonder what their age limits are? Would they take a 67 year old man?