5 Things Being An Atheist Taught Me: Culture God & Nothing
Sex, drugs and rock and roll, parties until dawn, waking up in unfamiliar places, getting in trouble with the law. It all sounds like the quintessential atheistic thing to do I guess. That sort of shaking your fist to the sky, slapping some LSD on your tongue and hitting the blunt as you sit around a camp fire with your buds and trip out to the Beatles “Rubber Soul” album type life. But theres some strong mental convictions that come with being a hard core anti-theist.
To some it isn’t so much of a disdain for the Judeo-Christian God as it is for a dismissal of organized religion. A sort of sticking it to the man type attitude that makes us feel better about our sudo-spirituality for not really knowing what the bible says and calling B.S on the whole thing. This is more of a conformist atheism. This is more of a social solution. God could be real, but since he requires change, I’ll be okay sitting in my theories about aliens and how we evolved from fish into humans.
To some it is truly a passion and pass time to be an atheist. Seeking to devour unknowing Christians like unintelligent lambs for the slaughter. Consuming themselves with knowledge and misconceptions about the character of God. Studying the likes of Dawkins, Hawking, and deGrasse Tyson. Listening to their bitter hyper intellectual ramblings of the universe and how if God is good there wouldn’t be destruction. This is a chase for wisdom. A need to be correct and perfect, to know all the answers…at all costs.
Then there’s the pick and chosers. We just believe in love, I’m one with the universe and we are a reflection of each other. Everything is everything and we’re all one. We chose from all of the religions we’ve studied and create a mocca-frappa-latte of contradicting ideologies that suits our tailor made desires. This stems from a desire for God. A super deep and utter desire for Him and maybe even an encounter with Jesus himself, but a lack for wanting accountability for our actions. When we remove the ideas of accountability we get a sudo-spirituality where Jesus’ sacrifice meant nothing and he was nothing but a cool spiritual counselor who said a bunch of cool stuff we can chose from.
The only reason I’m saying any of these things are because I’ve been all of these before. I’ve literally spent years in all of these places and never went anywhere with my life. In the past 5 years as a believer I’ve made more progress and have had more “luck” than ever before. But everything is a lesson. And what I have learned cannot be compared to anything else. Being an atheist has been the greatest lesson in my life.
1. We All Long To Be Thankful To Someone
Thanksgiving is that perfect time of year where everything is all warm and fuzzy with friends and family and as you sit around the table, you look around and wonder…”How did I get so lucky?” For years I would have those glimpses of “Maybe there is a Go….wait…Hail Satan hell no!”. But it was more of a pride shaped hole in my heart shaped for God to step right in and take over. We all have that need to be thankful, those moments where an empty, “I’m a lucky guy!” or “I deserve this.” just won’t work. In those moments I found God ready and waiting to say you’re welcome, and I miss you.
2. When I Was Alone, It Was The Scariest Times Of My Life
Silence is deafening. We all know that. But not many of us experience it with the amount of stuff we have going on in today’s world. It seems like we’ve grown to develop a fear of silence. Some of the most pivotal times in my life have been when I was alone with my car radio broken, or in my dorm room at 3:00 am and no TV. Silence lets us be honest with ourselves. And I wasn’t ready for that. That was when I tried to pray for the first time. God, of course, answered.
3. Faith Had The Same Definition Without Biblical Context
It’s funny how faith works. Scripture says it’s the substance of things hoped for. But as I would hope for things more, they would happen more. It seemed to be a law of the universe. And God is a law giver. So faith, whether atheist or not, is a law. It is evidence of the things we haven’t seen yet. Every time I would put strong faith and hope in something I set my mind to, it’s as if it would be inclined to happen quickly, or more efficiently. Like things would line up. This brought up my questioning so much more.
4. Now I Know Why I Could Never Really Trust Anyone
It’s crazy, but you grow up as a victim to your past, to your childhood. Every single thing that you encounter, every person and experience will help mold the person you are becoming. As I became older and went off to college I began to realize how untrusting people were. Noticing in my own friends the amount of insincerity and lack of loyalty held. So I would push people away, I would isolate myself and deem myself an introvert. No God was gonna help me so I relied on my experiences and emotions to do the protecting. I didn’t take risks, I didn’t make new friends often, I didn’t experience life as I would have wanted to then.
But you know what? It wasn’t their fault! They grew up with experiences just like I did, so who am I to say anything? You can’t give what you don’t have. But know I know why I couldn’t trust them, because I didn’t know who I truly was, and couldn’t trust myself.
5. Just Because I Didn’t Believe In Him, Doesn’t Mean He Wasn’t There
There were critical lessons I learned before I let God in my life. Like the need to expand my knowledge, the desires to learn music, love for my family and excellence in whatever craft I was taking part in. It was only afterward I realized all those things were desires and skill sets he gave me to build and develop.
I was praying recently and I began to think about all of the times that God was there for me even when I didn’t believe in him. Keggers, night clubs, times I was smoking, times which will remain unmentionable, and I began to realize that His grace wasn’t dependent on my faith, my religious actions or my church attendance. His grace was dependent on His love for me. And His love for me lead me out of all of that, into a career, and into multiple leadership roles in a ministry. I wasn’t even gonna entertain the thought of change when I thought about God back then, but that’s the point. He just wan’t your heart. He wants to show you that He is LOVE. The rest will come later.