Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just live and breathe as an American girl. Don’t you think I hunger for the right to just be me when I walk down the street. Yet even here in American there is a daily struggle of minds, and ideas. There is the forward movement of science and the backward movement of religious dogma. All I want in my life is to be smart and strong, and proud of who I am. Just a happy content American atheist.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like even one hundred years ago when religion was expected of people and everyone had to identify by some doctrine. I must admit the internet has thrown open the door for information to suddenly stir everywhere. I have personally learned so much at the hands of strange. I have met people from all over the planet. I enjoy laughing with, and loving my neighbors, even when they are far across the globe. After all who would have thought there are freethinking atheists in Nigeria. I know that I wouldn’t have.
I love my country even though it is not always right in its actions. I follow my president even if he is not perfect. I see a lot of good in my fellow Americans even if sometimes we argue in heated debates. My nation has set an example for the world in the providing of liberties, and freedoms provided for its citizens. Here all religions can live together in peace. Yet there is a portion of society that stays downtrodden. They think we are weak, and our voice is small. They don’t hear us when we scream for justice, but we grow stronger day by day, arm in arm, hand in hand.
You see I am An American Atheist. I not only belong to the group. I belong to America. I go to college here, work here, vote here, live here and love here. I am all that I can be in my country. I spend my days with a heart filled with passion for the lives of my fellow man. I spend my day seeking to bring justice to one more person, and light the way for women like me. I may be just a girl to some people out there who really don’t know me but what I hide inside is the person that can never die. I am filled with hope, inspiration, and dreams. One day I hope to be an American Atheist who is also a biologist. I want to teach the world and work in science. I want to explore with passion all that there is to learn. I want to grow my mind, and my heart day by day. I may not matter so much right now, but when I wake up in the morning I think to my self, “I am an American Atheist.” That makes me a survivor by choice, and not by chance. It makes me strong by reason and not by design. It makes me thankful I was not born in a poor Muslim country where my voice would get silenced and lost in the masses. Because I was born here I am not just a woman, but I am a proud strong American Woman.
I don’t have to wear a burqa, I don’t need a god. I am fine without anything guiding me, watching over me or helping me. I have people and that is enough for me. In fact every step forward I have taken has been helped in some part by other people and I can’t imagine being in this fight alone. I see the devastation and hate religion has caused. I lived on the other spectrum of thought once upon a time. I was that hate filled bigot, and that narrow mind pushing against people who didn’t believe in god. I am ashamed to admit that if the current me met the former me they would hate each other. Because I was trying to be what religion told me to be, and that wasn’t me. I gave up on the beauty in life for having the hope of something better and as long as I was not responsible for worrying about my future I could let my life wash away before my eyes. I lived in constant hate, fear and guilt. It was a long journey to get here. I had to admit to my self that I had never seen anything be proven by religion. I had to stop lying to my self that there was something more to this world, and face the facts that I was really alone.
In other words, I had to face that everything I had been taught was a lie. It hurt, and I got angry. I still remember they day I let go of believing.It was a beautiful spring morning, and I just let it go. It was the last time I would believe, the last time I would try to convince myself to belive. It was the final breath of ignorant faith. Then I picked up Dawkins book and read, and read, and learned. I felt the fire that had once been me light again. It was all there. Not just that day but every day since. It was looking at Dawkins words on paper echoing what was in my mind which helped to set me free. And once I had walked away I have looked back. There are times when I think, “what if.” And then the evidence and the reality floods into my mind and suddenly it is easy to dismiss what I know never was and for me never will be. Since then I am learning again to take back the power of my life, to shout to the world.I find freedom in just being free. When I go to college every day, and look where I am now I know that I am living life free. It feels amazing, and overwhelming to see what I can do and face. It is a long hard road, but well worth the effort.
I hope some day more people can let go of their chains and walk away an American Atheist.