As my first blog, I want to create a motivation to those who were new to the Atheist belief system. I will tell you my story and opinions on how to face your fears of joining Atheism such as: why do you feel such strange feelings when you are a first-timer, how to deal with it, and what are the other fears that an Atheist possesses.
Just because we don’t believe in a deity who is in control from above, it doesn’t mean that we are not scared of anything. First, I want to discuss the reason why people think that we are fearless. For me, they think that Atheists are fearless because we don’t have a God to be afraid of. They think that one of the reason for us to feel fear is God. That extremist imaginary writer high-above has the power to control our failures, emotions, fate, death, life, and other things that a normal person fears. This might be that reason why they think that God is one of people’s greatest dreads, which I agree. I know that God is one of the reasons why people are frightened. From the great doctrine of Hell, which I mostly refer to as “Blackmail Doctrine”, to the belief in “God’s Wrath”, the religious were taught of fear rather than of love. And since that we are Atheists, we don’t have a god, no deity to fear, no doctrine of hell that makes our mind frightened. But is it enough for us not to feel fear?
According to some sources, we feel fear because it is already programmed into our nervous system. It is like an instinct attached to our mind when we are just infants. You cannot get rid out of it. Fear is a feeling or state of being frightened about something, it can be a misfortune, death, depression, failure at school, etc.
Let me add some more definition of what “Fear of Atheism” is. For me, I subscribe to the belief that “Atheophobia” is what we experience when we are not atheists yet. Do you remember that moment when you were just thinking of joining atheism after your waking point? If you were a devout Christian, you might feel that strange feeling. This feeling is what the Christians called “Holy Spirit”. This can make you cry, turn your anxiety on, and also, feel confused. It is one of the most confusing feelings that I ever felt. For me, this disturbing feeling is caused by the lifestyle that we are used to. Maybe it is because we are not inclined to the belief that there is no God. Some refer to this as conscience since our mind is already programmed to believe that rejecting God’s existence is a sin. But I am telling you this, it is not a great issue. It is normal, since you were new to the world of Atheism.
Another fear that an atheist may experience, within relation to his belief, is the fear of being discriminated against.
The United States of America, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Italy, Poland, etc. have the highest number of Christians around the world. So it is not a surprise if I hear a story from an atheist saying that he/she feels discriminated against. In fact, there are some countries where Atheism is illegal and considered punishable to death, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and others. It makes me sob whenever I hear and watched videos from Atheists who are pleading for help. It seems like this is not a battle anymore against religion, but rather a battle against politics. I am not opposing those powerful nations, but I am just explaining my part. Most of the Islamic countries ban atheism.
When I approached a friend of mine and talked about religion, she asked me what my religious views are. I answered her, saying that I am an Atheist. She looks very puzzled, confused, baffled of what Atheism means. So she asked me, “What is Atheist? Is it like Illuminati stuff?” I was shocked from her response. She didn’t know about Atheism, so I answered her question, explaining everything I know about the definition of being an Atheist.
I live in the Philippines, the world’s third country with the most number of devout Roman Catholics. Here, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam are so famous. Some church leaders are well-known, and the Church is considered a sacred place. But I know that Atheism is a popular belief spreading slowly throughout the whole country. It is a fact that only the educated or religion fanatics are the ones who truly understand the word “Atheism”. This made me feel like I am alone. I am enrolled in a public high-school run by the government but it is surrounded by a lot of religious structures. My classmates were Catholics and Protestants. So when I told them that I oppose religion, they treat me as if I am a clown dancing in front of people to cause laughter. This is another fear of mine: being discriminated against by those religious people just because I am a non-believer. And it feels like a shit, trust me, it doesn’t feels good. This is another form of bullying. I get bullied about the belief system that I follow. When my classmates and I are talking about religion, they always make a joke just to insult me. When our teacher asks us to stand up and pray, “atheist jokes” arises. I cannot fight back, I guess, it is what religion is made of: to discriminate against those who oppose what they believe.
So why do we need to experience such kind of fear? Those disturbing, and sometimes became traumatic, experiences are required? Just a simple answer. We are living in a sleeping world of religion that will never wake up to the truth.
So, my first step on being an atheist is to remember that fear is the reason why the word courage was invented. Don’t let your fears tyrannize you, overcome it! You’re a human; it is normal for you to experience those. I hope I helped.