I’ve had this blog and related twitter account running for about a year now. For the prior 15 years I’ve been an atheist, but only recently have I embraced the “atheist community”.
In that time, I’ve grown a lot. I feel I’m more compassionate. I like hearing people’s stories now. My podcasts feed is now well over 85% atheist related. Hell, I know who Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, and Lee Strobel are even if I now wished I didn’t, haha. But in this year, I’ve done an incredible amount of self-reflection.
In the past, I’ve done things to help others. My passion was for being a kind person. Oft times that was to my own detriment. My passion wasn’t truly for me. I did theater and took part in the local BDSM scene. While this was fun and had its upsides, it wasn’t FULLY who I was. It’s not where my heart lied. This year, I found it.
My organizations in our movement are incredibly broad in scope. For instance, our local group is a branch of the Center for Inquiry. The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Admirable? Of course. Do I agree with everything here? Absolutely. But I don’t feel a rage of intensity when I think about crushing “homeopathy”. I want it gone. It’s horrible. But it’s not where my focus lies. It’s not me. What I am…is an atheist.
It’s how I identify myself. It’s how I look at me. It’s how I look at everything in the world. I think it’s who I’ve been all my life even before I even knew the word. So much is culturally wrapped up in that word. I mean, it’s just the answer to a simple question, “Do you believe in god?” But to me, it’s so much more. It’s who I am. Jeff…is an atheist.
Like I said previously, I fully support and encourage ALL of the goals of our movement. But my passion lies in atheism. Normalizing atheism. I mentioned in my activism speech the story of a man contacting me and thanking me for my license plate fight because he couldn’t be an out atheist like I was. And that truly broke my heart. But it also steeled my resolve. THIS is what I want to end. THIS is what I fight for every day. THIS IS MY PASSION! I’VE FOUND IT!
I’m so excited about the #NormalizeAtheism project. THIS is what I want to help with. End the stigma. End the fear. Be out and proud about what we are…because what we are, first and foremost, is RIGHT! The LGBT movement was pushed forward by those who had the ability to be out and loud and proud. They were the wacky people in the odd clothing making it okay for the average LGBT person to come out. They threw open the closet door and said “Motherfuckers you WILL accept me for me” and that’s what I want to do. The FFRF has a “Make your own billboard” campaign and this was mine:
I have an atheist tattoo on my forearm (I wear my atheism on my sleeve *snert*). I wear my atheist t-shirts out in public. I made a baseball hat with the word atheist on it. My car is a moving billboard for the movement.
THIS IS ME! I’m an atheist and I’m damn proud of it. I’m also a middle-class, single, straight, white dude. I’m filled to the rafters with privilege and damn it, I’m going to use it for good. I’m doing this so one day, hopefully, others will be able to be just as loud and as proud as I am. I’m not going anywhere. I’m sticking with this movement until I become star stuff once again.
I fully support the #NormalizeAtheism campaign and I hope each and every single one of you who read this do as well.