While I was writing my last post, I kept thinking back to it in terms of my atheism. As such, I thought I’d write a similar post about my atheism.
As an atheist, I don’t need to say more than “I don’t believe in any gods” to justify it. That is the definition of atheism. It’s what makes me a member of the group known as atheists. But it is not all that my atheism is. This is because my atheism has led me to other conclusions, as have the people that I associate with as an atheist.
Were I an atheist outside of the atheist community, I think I’d be justified in saying that my atheism is nothing more than my disbelief in gods. But I am not outside of the community, so my atheism has become more. For example, before I became an atheist, I believed in many supernatural things. I thought that my house was haunted and magic was real, as well as my basic belief in God, angels, and the devil. But I’ve rid myself of all of those beliefs because I’m an atheist. If I don’t believe in gods, why would I believe in ghosts? Shouldn’t I apply the same skepticism to both? So now my atheism isn’t just about gods, it’s about the supernatural as a whole.
My atheism also led me to a community of people who have formed my beliefs about various things. I wouldn’t have said that I was anti-war when I was a believer, but I would now. This is because I’ve had deep discussions about current military actions with my group, and we have all been fairly skeptical of what has been going on. We may not see the problems as individuals, but we do as a group because we apply skepticism to what we are told, and even to each others’ beliefs. I’ve also become much more interested in activism. This interest stems from our openness to talk about any and all issues. I’ve learned more about abortion, feminism, rape, racial discrimination, politics, etc as a result of my atheist community than I have from anywhere else. They are the ones who convinced me to openly call myself a feminist, to protest pro-lifers, to care more about voting and the various political parties, and to speak out against discrimination of any kind. I doubt that I’d be as active as I am without them.
All of those things aren’t necessary of atheism, and they aren’t themselves atheism, but they were developed out of my atheism. They have become parts of my worldview, as atheism has, and they are both separate from one another and connected.