I have to blame my husband for getting me "into" atheism. By which I mean the culture, concerns, and why atheism means more than just not believing in God. I became an atheist all by myself years ago by way of this timeline: Catholic > recovering Catholic > agnostic > atheist. It was roughly a ten year process for me, and in my opinion, an individual's belief system should be something that's given much consideration and allowance to change and grow over time. I'm wary of someone who wakes up one day and says "I just decided that I don't believe in God anymore. Viva la' atheism!". Granted, if I hadn't had that pesky Catholicism to deal with it may have taken a lot less time to get to where I am today.
I've never had any issues with being an atheist, and I still don't. I don't often get worked up over the useless-impossible-to-win debate between theists and non-theists, and I have a very deep respect for people who have faith. Organized religion can take a flying leap out of their own assholes, but faith is cool. I get it. Doesn't bother me. It also doesn't bother me when someone tells me that they don't believe I'm an atheist, or that my "problem" is just that I haven't found God yet. Is it incredibly dismissive and offensive? Yes. But it still doesn't bother me, which quite honestly considering my personality, surprises me. I feel as though I have a sort of outsider's view into the atheist culture. I'm a member, sure, but I don't internalize much of what I read, or things people say to me. Likely part of this stems off my very strong belief that faith (and lack thereof) should be a private thing. It doesn't matter what people think of my beliefs. They don't need to be accepted or understood for them to be true for me. And vice versa, naturally.
This blog is contradictory to my opinion that these matters are private. I offer no explanation or justification for that; I'm just acknowledging it.
The husband stumbled upon a few atheist blogs by way of something or other, and then a few more, and a few more, and then he started sharing with me some of the more interesting posts and news articles. I found myself understanding the very real struggle some atheists are faced with in terms of discrimination. I also realized that my previous belief that all atheism means is "I don't believe in God" is wildly false. I'm still fleshing out my specific thoughts on that, so I'm not going to babble about it now.
Now I'm wondering how long it's going to take for me to stop only being passionate on the behalf of other atheists, and start being passionate on my own behalf as well.