“Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.” – John Quincy Adams
My life is not much different from the average humanoid living in the United States. Outside of the relatively minor celebrity I enjoy as a public figure, I have bills to pay, deadlines to meet, family to interact with and errands to run. I experience the inevitable failure of those objects most of us depend upon, such as mechanical failures on our vehicles, appliances and whatnot. I have the same frustrations about rising fuel costs and other economic issues that most others have.
The only difference is that as an atheist, I live outside the shackles of religion. My existence is not further complicated by the cognitive dissonance that comes with religious belief. I don’t have to spend endless hours trying to make sense of the glaringly obvious contradictions, errors, interpolations and forgeries that are part of the Bible, Koran or any other religious book.
I don’t have to try to explain why I believe in a human-sacrificed savior that never existed. I am not required to justify why my prophet is a pedophile. I can go through my day without the need to defend the inefficacy of prayer. I do not need to elucidate about the utter ridiculousness of a deity that causes a sports team to win a contest, but ignores children dying of starvation or abuse – or both. I do not need to try to explain how a god can be three separate beings, but also not be three separate beings.
I never find myself with the need to rationalize why I hold to the ancient beliefs of ignorant, bronze-age men instead of embracing the collective of human scientific discovery and insight. I am without the need to explain why I am a hateful, discriminatory bigot toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgendered human beings – or anyone else that is different from me.
I do not have the burden of wondering what I did to piss off a god so much that he has decided to allow disease to ravage my body. I am free from the fear that devils and demons are lurking in the shadows with the intent of tripping me up, possessing me, oppressing me or otherwise causing mayhem in my life.
I am not concerned with the myriad of issues that complicate the life of the average believer. I don’t have to go through my day having to navigate the mental gymnastics it takes to maintain a belief in deity in this day and age. I am free to question, to think, to negotiate between fact and fiction, to navigate the waters of logic. I can explore the wonders of nature without the inclusion of fairy-tales, because nature is awesome on its own.
I am liberated, unbound and uninhibited. I have been emancipated, released from the prison that enslaves the free expression of thought, suppresses inquiry and squashes the engagement of inquest. I am unrestrained by the chains of doctrine and dogma that stifle the one thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom – the ability to reason.
Being mentally imprisoned is far, far worse than being behind physical bars and religion is a prison of the worst type. It fetters the mind in a perpetual state of delusion. It shackles the human strength of mind, chains the fortitude of contemplation and restrains the ability to wonder.
Those who are bound with the chains of religious belief cannot image how liberating it is being an atheist. How wonderful it is to know that morality has nothing to do with how you speak, what you watch on TV, listen to on the radio, the way you dress, who you have sex with or what you put into your body. That morality is the simple act of doing what is right, regardless of what you are told, instead of doing what you are told, regardless if it is right.
Christians are fond of saying that unbelievers have been enslaved by Satan, are bound into sin without God and freedom only comes through Christ. This is delusion at its worst, because it exchanges the truth for a lie. Believers are the ones who have been enslaved, not by a demon, but by ignorance, both willful and not. They lie to themselves when they exuberantly shout that there is “freedom in Christ,” all the while existing in a bubble of servile credulity that requires the constant rearrangement and suppression of natural thought patterns, as well as the bowdlerization of free inquiry.
There is no freedom in any religion. Only the Freethinker is free…