I am an example. A least that’s how I feel or maybe how I think I should be. I feel that I’m not only an example to my children, but also an example to society an example to my family and my friends. To everyone I meet. An example of what a good person is, what a good person does. An example of what an atheist/agnostic is. How my kids can be well-adjusted, and happy without god. How a marriage can work without god. How you can be happy and not have horrible things happen to you and be down trodden and without means just because you don’t believe in a god(things that were insinuated to me before).
We recently had dinner with someone who I went to grade school with(an extended family member). Someone who has told me many times that he has always looked up to me. I never fully understood why he did. He reiterated the way he felt when he found me on Facebook not too long ago. He then found out that the AH and I were atheists. Of course he tried to convince us otherwise, doing his Christian duty and all, even going so far as to state that the AH only thinks he’s an atheist. My immediate though when I knew he knew, was “I bet he no longer looks up to me now.” I know he was surprised and maybe disappointed to find out we don’t agree with his tea party ways, but we have remained friends and he talks to the AH quite regularly about computer junk. I have seen him state on a comment on Facebook(not on my timeline, but someone who is on both his and mine) that he finds us to be some of the nicest people and that the AH has helped him a lot, not only with his computer questions but they have discussed religion and what each believe and are still able to have a civil conversation.
I feel I am more of an example as an atheist then I ever was as a Christian. I find it more important now to be a good example. I feel like I have something to prove, even though I shouldn’t have to prove anything at all. What most people seem to think atheist are and what we really are, of course, are two different things. We are supposedly the least trusted group in America. Yet we are the ones who understand that you don’t need a god to have morals.
Yesterday, the AH and I had our last teacher meeting with the boys’ teacher. She really has fallen in love with our kids. She enjoys having them in her class and will miss them when they move on. Her daughter(in middle school) is completely smitten with them as well. I say this to say that she had nothing but good things to say about them and us. She said it was so nice to see involved parents and well-adjusted children. We talked well over our 20 minutes that is usually allotted. I do not know what her religious beliefs are, but I found myself thinking would she think all that stuff if she knew we were atheist?
Sadly knowing that one thing could change someone’s opinion about us.
Sadly, I think about that a lot.
I’ve mentioned I’m a rule follower, a mild type A. I don’t like to disappoint, and I care way too much what others think about me(I’m working on this, because it’s a super annoying trait to have). This whole process of de-converting was seriously against “the rules” that I used to live by. The rules that it seems most people live by. I’ve had a really hard time with it, because it broke all my previous rules that I had for myself. I disappointed people, they changed their opinion about me. They think things about me that are not true. They talk about me and shake their head in pity. Then one day, not too long ago, I realized that I no longer was going to be ashamed of what I think, what I believe. Standing in the shower, where I do a lot of thinking, I realized that I have absolutely no reason at all to be or feel ashamed of using my brain, to gather information and forming a thought process, that happens to not be like most of those I know and love. There is nothing wrong with me and I’m tired of feeling that way. So I guess I decided then that I would rather be an example, of a normal, good, caring, person, who happens to be an atheist rather than an atheist who is ashamed of the process that it has taken to get where I am.
So what about you? Do you feel like you need to or should be an example to those who may have stereotypical beliefs about you?