This is something no one seems to talk about. The positive emotional effects of being an atheist. I wonder why.
I was driving home from a “friend’s” house, when I started crying thinking about, “why? Why do I have to be this way? Why can’t I just be normal? Why do I have to deal with this shit?” Then I remembered something. I am the way that I am because of natural variation in the species, and I just happened to get the short straw in life. See, there is an explanation for why I’m trans*. No god did this to me, it’s just a natural part of life. I don’t have to beg and plead to a supernatural entity with the false hope of changing, I can just deal with the cards on the table, make a plan, and get on with life. It was very calming. Reality has that effect.
I no longer have to fear hell, or the wrath of an unjust god. Any pain, any misery this life brings me will eventually pass, so why not try to be happy? It too, will eventually pass, so I might as well make the most out of this one life that I do have.
Religion, on the other hand, never gave me comfort. When I was young, I had a pretty severe anger problem. Prayer never helped with it. In fact, prayer made it worse. Only after being taught a secular version of meditation was I able to get control over my anger. Belief in god never brought me comfort. God was judge, jury, and executioner, and no one could ever live up to his standards. I crushed my sense of self, I crushed my attraction to guys, and never had a chance of being happy because I was a true believer in Catholicism. Prayer never calmed me. I was taught that god helps those who help themselves, so I never had any hope that God would do anything for me, but that I was still supposed to rely on him anyway. Religion fucked me right up. Even after I left Catholicism, even after I left christianity all together, none of the religions I tried out ever brought me comfort. Because I was relying on something that was never there for me. Once you realise that there is nothing to rely on, the universe makes sense, and you can just get on with your life. And you don’t have to worry about all the stupid arbitrary rules.
I think the reason most atheists don’t talk about this is that they don’t want to try to sway religious people into deconverting for emotional reasons. They want people to deconvert because of a rational argument. Well, I’m not trying to deconvert anyone here. I just think that the emotional side effects of the atheist world view need to be talked about. We shouldn’t let the religious dominate this dialogue, too. To my atheist readers, what have been the positive emotional effects that you have had since becoming an atheist?