Unless you have been living under a rock the last couple of days, you have learned that the much anticipated death of DADT came full swing at 12:01am Tuesday morning. This is a great step for the GLBTQ service men and women in this country. This is also a great step toward equality for everyone. With the amount of support from lawmakers such as Nancy Pelosi and the president, celebrities like Lady Gaga, and even straight service members at all levels and branches of the military, it gives me hope for what else we can accomplish. While this is possibly the best news for the GLBTQ community this week, let us not celebrate and lose focus.
It’s well-known that a lot of church-goers don’t really believe what their pastors preach. This is probably especially true among teenagers. Twenty minutes at the Atheism sub-Reddit will convince you that there are plenty of young people being forced by their parents to attend church who don’t believe a lick of it, and I’m sure that many of our own members (myself included) continued attending church long after they stopped believing in gods. On occasion, I still attend church, to see old friends and hear the music. Not to generalize, but there is a lot of social pressure in this country to be seen at church, especially in the South and Midwest, to the point that it’s become a cliché for Southerners, women especially, to “dress up for each other” (to quote John Mellencamp) – witness “church hats” and “Sunday best.”
Two weeks ago, I was invited to be a participant for Center for Inquiry–Michigan in downtown Grand Rapids on their "Living without Religion" discussion panel as coverage of our new billboard. My first thought was, "hell no!" since I've been a lifetime introvert and I have pretty extreme social anxiety, especially speaking in front of crowds. But as I thought about it, I realized that I really wanted to speak on this panel and have my story heard on what it's like to live without religion as a person happy and content with being an atheist. I finally responded with a ‘yes.'
This is a story of an atheist. The atheist does not represent a single person but is rather an amalgamation of various atheists that I’m sure many in our community have dealt with. It is known as the, “Superior Atheist”.