Hi, I’m Brittany, and I’m an atheist.
Sometimes, I really feel like my personal beliefs are a character flaw rather than an important freedom. Maybe “failed Christian” would be a more appropriate moniker, because although I am an atheist now, two very significant periods of my life were spent in worship: my childhood and my late teens.
I was raised by Methodist parents, who were themselves raised by Methodist parents, who were raised by Quakers and Baptists and Methodists, and there might even be some Catholic ancestors, because I have Catholic great aunts. But the point is that my family is Christian, through and through, and during my formative years, I spent every Sunday in church, every summer in Bible school, and every evening saying the Lord’s Prayer before bed. So if I’m atheist, it’s surely not the result of apathetic parents.
It isn’t as if I didn’t try my hardest to believe in God. I jokingly tell my mother that the seed was sown when I found out that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were all made up, but really, there is a grain of truth to it. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy leave presents and are featured in movies and greeting cards. I know what Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy looked like. They are supposed to show up, and they do, with presents. Santa even grants wishes. You ask him for a specific gift and you often get it.
These imaginary characters seemed more real than God. No one knows what God looks like; he “works in mysterious ways” (which meant I should ask Santa, rather than God, for the Barbie Doll, and that no matter how much I prayed, Mommy and Daddy couldn’t stay home to play with me all day). To a child, God is the least tangible of the “imaginary” characters, but He turns out to be the only genuine article. My little kid self thought that something was wrong with that picture.
Next week, Brittany continues the series with “Child Skeptic.”
Very interesting insights. I’m looking forward to next week’s post already.
Thank you for coming here to write about your journey – I love how you put things together and the words really flow. I look forward to learning each entry you post!
It’s so refreshing to hear your story! I was raised in an atheist family and, naturally, never believed in God. I’ve often said that it seems like I was wired toward atheism, that, even if I’d been raised in a religious family, I would have been a child atheist. Hearing your story makes me think that that’s right, since it seems like you had a natural skepticism as well, even though your parents were religious.
Anyway, I can already relate to a lot of your story, and can’t wait to hear more!